Barcelona Touristic Housing or Tourist Apartment?
“Responsible tourism is about using tourism to make better places for people to live in, first; and second, better places for people to visit. The aspiration is to use tourism rather than to be used by it.” – Harold Goodwin
What is a tourist apartment?
A tourist apartment is an apartment that is located in a building where all the apartments in it are tourists apartments, that means, that the entire block (building) of the apartment is rented for tourists, and these buildings are not residential. Also, it should be consolidated as a company, so let’s say, instead of having a hotel building, it is an apartment building, but for tourists. Having the same purpose as a hotel, since within this category are the hotels, motels, bungalows, etc.
Tourist apartments are not residential, they are generally managed by companies dedicated exclusively to rent them. These have to meet several requirements, such as having a plaque at the entrance indicating “AT” (“Apartamento Turístico”, which means Tourist Apartment), this classification is based on various parameters indicating things such as one to four keys, reception, etc.
What is touristic housing?
Touristic housing is an apartment that is in a building where there are also residents (neighbours). The owner needs to ask for a license from the Generalitat de Catalunya to be granted permission to rent the apartment for tourists. These are registered as residential and individually owned units, which means, that it is a private property that has been earmarked for tourist rental.
Touristic housing does not need to be a managed activity, that is, under company management, since it only needs to be registered in the corresponding autonomous government. Meanwhile, tourist apartments also need an activity license, more similar to a hotel than a residential property. They also have as standards to rent the apartment for a minimum of 5 days in some cities, however, tourist apartments do not require a minimum number of nights to be able to close a lease.
Since 2015, licenses for tourist homes have no longer been granted in Barcelona. The reason for this is that, Barcelona has experienced very rapid growth since the 1992 Olympics since it drew the world’s attention with the gothic and photogenic architecture of the city.
The city was launched as a major European destination, which became a great place to live, to work and to visit. Between 2005 and 2013 Barcelona grew by more than 54% in eight years. The over-tourism issue has been a concern since 2004, and an issue in which the Barcelona Town Hall has engaged with since 2008. By 2014, the city reported 27 million visitors per year, around 13.5 million of which were tourists. There are 360 hotels and around 10,000 registered tourism apartments.
Due to the rapid increase in tourism, it was sought to stop the increase on license-granting especially on the ones located in crowded areas; so they could be able to reduce the negative impacts related to housing for locals and they could continue to acquire these apartments at normal prices.
However, since January 2017, the Consistory of the Catalan city launched a new plan called the Special Urban Plan for Tourist Accommodations (PEUAT, “Plan Especial Urbanístico de Alojamientos Turísticos”).
This plan regulates the licensing of apartments and tourist accommodation in Barcelona to implant tourist accommodation with a sustainable model.
To achieve this, the city has been divided into four zones, valuing the quantity and distribution of the flats within the area, the proportion of the number of places currently offered, the population currently residing and the presence of tourist spots. Many of the areas have different regulations regarding the control of licensing.
These areas, which have been divided by the PEUAT, in their statistics show the total number of accommodations in each category for each area (large number) and the number of accommodation places available for each area (small number). This being the total number of people that can be accommodated in the area among the total number of homes.
So, are there differences between tourist apartment and tourist use housing?
As for its purpose, not really, since both accommodations seek to accommodate tourists. But, we do notice their differences, basically legal differences, since their regulations are treated differently and may have points that vary.