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Seville to introduce entry fee for tourists visiting landmark square

The neo-Moorish square was once the set of Star Wars   (Getty Images)
The neo-Moorish square was once the set of Star Wars (Getty Images)

Holidaymakers visiting Seville will soon be charged to enter the historic Plaza de España under new plans to tackle overtourism in the southern Spanish city.

The popular neo-Moorish square, once the set of Star Wars’ 1999 Phantom Menace film, is at risk of irreversible damage to its complex of tiled floors, tower facades and bridges if uncontrolled mass tourism continues.

Mayor of Seville, José Luis Sanz wrote on X/Twitter: “We are planning to close the Plaza de España and charge tourists to finance its conservation and guarantee its safety. In addition, we will create a craft workshop school.

“Of course, the monument will continue to be freely accessible and free for all Sevillians.”

Horse-drawn carriages on the fragile square (Getty Images)
Horse-drawn carriages on the fragile square (Getty Images)

Over three million visitors flood Seville a year, with a daily footfall in the thousands and horse-drawn carriages frequently using the public space.

Although Sevillian citizens will be exempt from the charge, the plans to introduce an entry fee were met with a mixed response by X users.

“They have already turned our cities into a theme park to the point that to walk through our squares, we are going to have to form a line, get a ticket and wait in line,” wrote one user.

Others were more supportive of the proposed payment: “I approve the measure to prevent this type of savagery from occurring in our PUBLIC heritage. It is a unique enclave in all of Spain, if it is not protected from barbarians we will continue to lose heritage quality, and Seville CANNOT allow that.”

Most of the details including the exact charge and ticketing system are currently unclear.

The attempt to tackle overtourism follows the launch of a $10 tourist tax in Bali this month and a €5 charge to enter the centre of Venice from April 2024 using a ticketing system to limit the numbers pouring into the canalside city.