Tourist Season in Barcelona: A City Prepares for Increasing Numbers

The sun is shining and the temperatures are on the rise. With the Mobile World Congress at the Fira Barcelona in town, we can officially say tourist season is underway in Spain’s most popular tourist destination, Barcelona.

A city known for its mild Mediterranean climate, beaches, famous Gaudi sights, unique culture and competitive prices, there is no wonder the numbers have been on a steady rise. In 2016, the city’s 1.6 million residents living within the city limits were greatly outnumbered by an estimated 32 million visitors.[i] Of this number, it is important to understand that only half of these individuals slept in the city, others were migrant, traversing the city for the day, docking on a cruise ship in the morning and returning to the sea by night fall.

The increase in numbers is a consequence of a 25-year marketing project that has promoted the city as an attractive destination for those that love the sun and sand. Individuals and families alike, that want to escape the demands at home in exchange for the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle, even if it is only for the weekend find Barcelona has so much to offer.

The tourism industry in Barcelona accounts for about 12% of the city’s total €72 billion GDP, according to reports taken from 2014.[ii] Every year the masses increase, bringing even greater dividends to the city. Where does the money come from? Travelers spend their money on accommodation, transportation, restaurants, events, conferences, and festivals. Tourism warrants a very large margin of this city’s financial gains, yet politically there is controversy as to whether or not these crowds are helping or hindering the quality of life of the locals.

At the end of the day, not to allow tensions to rise, one thing is for sure, tourism in Barcelona stimulates the economy and provides thousands of jobs, where if the demand were not there, many individuals would be unemployed.

How are the rising numbers of tourists flocking to Barcelona an asset to MA in Tourism and Hospitality Management students?

Quite simply, there are a lot of opportunities to gain professional experience. No matter what sector of hospitality and tourism you are looking for, there are internships, full and part time positions available. The advantage for GBSB Global Business School in Barcelona students who are studying for their Master in Tourism and Hospitality Management degree, the classes are held in the evening from 7-9:00 pm, three to four nights per week. This schedule allots ample of time to look for career enhancing opportunities from becoming a concierge at a high-end hotel to becoming a tour guide or a management stagiaire, or trainee in any one of Barcelona’s over 7,000 restaurants.

Politico, a Spanish newspaper reported that tourism generates 14 percent of jobs in the city. Many of these positions need bi- or even tri-lingual candidates to help guests from across the globe.[iii]

After graduation, many GBSB alumni stay in the city to further pursue their careers. With high caliber companies like the W Barcelona, the Hotel Majestic, the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona and so many others, there is no wonder, the city is a beacon for those interested in studying hospitality management and tourism. With a thriving startup scene, there is also room to start your own tour company or get your hands in on a travel booking app in the making.

Tourism is by far the biggest financial contributor to the hospitality industry, and among the largest industries in the world. The hospitality and tourism industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in many emerging and developing markets. Globalization and new advancements in tech have created new touristic prospects for consumers. The Master in Tourism and Hospitality Management in Barcelona offers progressive, real-life insights into the tourist industry today and offers students with the opportunity to develop their intellect and interests within the field of tourism in one of the most thrilling and highly trafficked touristic destinations in Spain and in all of Europe – Barcelona!

Written by Emily Dawn Szajda, GBSB Content Manager

[i],[ii] Burgen, Stephen. 27 January 2017. Barcelona cracks down on tourist numbers with accommodation law. The Guardian. Retrieved from
[iii] Torres, Diego. 22 November 2016. Barcelona’s war on tourists. Politico. Retrieved from


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