Tourism authorities gathered in Barcelona last week to discuss potential restrictions on coach excursions to the Sagrada Familia.
Proposed new regulations could see coaches forced to stop on busier roads or away from attractions such as the Sagrada Familia to ease congestion around the sites. Due to the site’s popularity with day trippers and cruise passengers, ETOA and Royal Caribbean were some of those that took part in an event last week that warned restricted coach access to tourist attractions could affect visitor numbers.
Nick Greenfield from ETOA, who spoke at the meeting said there needed to be a broader discussion over how coach groups are handled in the city.
“Dialogue between local authorities and the industry are vital; some cities have unnecessarily demonised coach tourism, seeing it as a problem rather than an efficient way of managing groups of visitors. The Sagrada Familia is particularly popular since it was consecrated by the Pope, but experiences at Notre Dame in Paris show that any proposals have to be really thought through,” he explained. “Displacing coaches to dangerously busy roads or forcing older groups to walk far is not a satisfactory outcome, especially as the completion of the church depends on funds from these visitors”.