UK tourists in Barcelona warned over new daily charge because it's 'a luxury'

Barcelona tourists have been warned over a new "luxury" tax on five-star stays and plush hotels. Holidaymakers jetting to the Catalan hotspot, amid the spring and summer getaway season, have been warned they could be forking out 70 euros for a seven-night stay.

Visitors to the city have to pay a regional tourist tax and a city-wide surcharge. The regional tax varies depending on the kind of accommodation you stay in. For four-star hotels it is £1.46 (€1.70), for rented accommodation it is £1.93 (€2.25) and for five-star or luxury hotels it is £3 (€3.50).

Cruise passengers spending less than 12 hours in the city pay £2.57 (€3) to the region, with those spending more than 12 hours paying £1.71 (€2). From April this year, the city tax increased to £2.79 (€3.25).

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“It was the objective sought: to contain the number of tourists and increase tourist income because our model is no longer mass tourism but quality tourism, which adds value to the city,” deputy mayor Jaume Collboni said in March, according to Euronews, ahead of the summer season.

The tax is added to a tourist’s accommodations bill when they stay at official tourist establishments in the city. The money goes toward enhancing the city’s infrastructure, such as improving roads.

“The new and increasing tourist fees across Europe allow cities to fund measures to attract more vacationers, support the local infrastructure and businesses, as well as preventing damages from overtourism,” Tiffany Mealiff, a travel insurance expert at Quotezone, said in a statement to USA TODAY when the tax was initially announced.

The tax must be paid to the owner/representative of the property upon check-in. The tax will then be transferred to the Generalitat de Catalunya, according to official guidance. Those under the age of 17 are exempt, according to travel guides.