Top tourist destination Barcelona plans to shut all holiday apartments by 2028

A man ties protest banners in the balcony of a building that was recently converted for tourist use at Sants neighborhood in Barcelona, Spain, May 19, 2023. The banner reads "No more tourist flats." [Albert Gea/Reuters]

Barcelona, a top Spanish holiday destination, has announced that it will bar apartment rentals to tourists by 2028, an unexpectedly drastic move as it seeks to rein in soaring housing costs and make the city liveable for residents.

The city's leftist mayor, Jaume Collboni, said that by November 2028, Barcelona will scrap the licenses of the 10,101 apartments currently approved as short-term rentals.

"We are confronting what we believe is Barcelona's largest problem," Collboni told a city government event.

The boom in short-term rentals in Barcelona, Spain's most visited city by foreign tourists, means some residents cannot afford an apartment after rents rose 68% in the past 10 years and the cost of buying a house rose by 38%, Collboni said. Access to housing has become a driver of inequality, particularly for young people, he added.

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