A council report into a proposed ecotax to be paid by visitors to Barcelona says that the move would not be viable (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). The Plan Estratégico del Turismo de Barcelona estimates that tourists to the city bring in some €20 million a day, but recognises that many residents don’t feel that they benefit from these profits and often see tourists as an annoyance rather than a positive feature of Barcelona. As such, the city council commissioned a report regarding the possibility of introducing an ‘environmental tax’ on those who make temporary visits to the Catalan city as a way of increasing their contribution to the quality of life here. The report (which cost €16,187 and was viewed by journalists on Monday during the media review of investigations commissioned by the council in 2008) concluded that a tax on overnight stays (pernoctación) wouldn’t be possible in light of existing local fiscal regulations. However, they did explore either ways to introduce a tax including charging a daily rate depending on the class and category of the accommodation where tourists stay or charging a percentage of the total cost of the accommdation for each visit. In the face of probable opposition from the hotel sector to such tax plans, the authors of the study also suggested other ways of raising funds from tourists, for instance charging for city attractions that are currently free, such as Park Güell.
The project to redevelop the Avinguda Diagonal could see a reduction in access for cars in the section between Plaça Francesc Macià and Plaça Glòries (article in Castilian, El Periodico). The suggestion, which is likely to be put to referendum next spring, would see private vehicles restricted from using the central lanes of the Diagonal. Instead they would have to use either: one of the single side lanes running in each direction, with a speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour, that give access to car parks and the option to turn on to streets that cross the Diagonal; or a central lane, again with just one going in each direction, adjacent to a proposed tram line that will be shared with buses. A bike lane would be installed next to the side lanes for cars, but towards the centre of the avenue so as to minimise disruption to drivers looking to turn off the Diagonal.
In a study made of the popularity of the websites of museums around the world, Barcelona’s Centre de Cultura Contemporània (CCCB) came in at number 20, just ahead of Madrid’s Prado, making the CCCB the highest ranked in Spain (article in Catalan, Avui). New York’s Museum of Modern Art website was at the top of the list, with museums in the US and the UK in general dominating the findings; in total, Spain has 22 museums in the top 100, with the MACBA, MNAC and Fundació Miró other Barcelona representatives. The high ranking of the CCCB’s website is a particular achievement in light of its relatively small budget and visitor numbers, as well as the fact that it doesn’t have its own permanent collection.
Also in the news: Increased number of squatters blamed on crisis (La Vanguardia); Barça takes important step towards next stage of Champions (El Periodico); Generalitat to susbsidise 19 electric service stations (Avui)