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Tourism, jobs, pollution: the pros and cons of Barcelona’s 3m cruise ship visitors

Tourism, jobs, pollution: the pros and cons of Barcelona’s 3m cruise ship visitors

Over 3 million visitors arrived in Barcelona on cruise ships in 2018, making the city Europe’s biggest cruise destination ahead of other top ports including Palma de Mallorca, Venice or Southampton.

Barcelona is also the fourth top cruise destination globally, and the president of Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce, Joan Canadell, says it ‘is a good thing for the country.’

Those in favour of the industry highlight the business opportunities that cruises generate. Catering to the visitors creates jobs, and tourists with deeper pockets may end up spending significant sums.

According to statistics from a 2016 University of Barcelona AQR-Lab study, the industry directly and indirectly employs 9,056 people and accounts for €206 million collected in taxes.

However, environmental concerns are not always cited by the industry’s proponents, and the most recent study on cruises carried out by Barcelona Turisme – which depends on the city’s Chamber of Commerce – in 2014 doesn’t mention pollution at all.