In an open letter to Barcelona City Council, the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), and a number of other bodies have called for the foundation of a group to help address the question of tour coaches within the city.
The letter highlights the benefits coach tourism could bring to help the city’s economy.
The letter reads: “We express our support for the foundation of a working group to look at the question of tour coaches in Barcelona.
“As such an initiative was promised by the City Council, and given that plans for coach restrictions are now being proposed by the authorities without such a group having convened, we feel it is imperative proper consultation takes place.
“The initial proposals regard access to the Sagrada Familia, but recent debates at the City Hall show a wider plan is being sought for the city. Barcelona is a leading city in the world of tourism. The revenue and, particularly in the current climate, the employment the tourist sector provides is fundamental to the city’s economy. However, this investment is fragile. And any extra burden, be it financial or structural, cannot be placed upon it lightly. Equally, when framing policy, it is logical that the professionals working within that sector should be involved every step of the way.
“…There is a tendency to single [coach tourism] out as the main cause of congestion, ignoring the fact it is a green and efficient mode of travel…
“…Some cities have shown themselves to be enlightened when developing and improving their tourism infrastructure; others not. We very much hope that Barcelona falls into the former category and we look forward to engaging with policy makers and other stakeholders to ensure the city continues to thrive as a destination.”
The ETOA remains the only trade association offering European level representation for the interests of tour operators. Visit www.etoa.org