Barcelona depends on its metropolitan region: visitors from metropolitan municipalities account for 28% of the city’s trade turnover

5 de April de 2022

  • A study by Barcelona Oberta finds that the weight in the turnover of residents in the municipalities surrounding Barcelona is higher than that of tourism, reaching 3,900 million euros annually.
  • The report identifies the weaknesses of public transport and mobility limitations as the main threats to Barcelona commerce, which could put at risk a cumulative turnover of between 2,800 and 3,500 million in commerce and restaurants.

Barcelona’s commercial model could not be sustainable without the expenditure made by metropolitan visitors. This is the main conclusion of the report Importance of the visitor economy of the RMB to re-economize the center of Barcelona prepared by the Unió d’Eixos Comercials Turístics, Barcelona Open. The report, carried out on the basis of a sample of 2,938 surveys, states that the expenditure of visitors to the metropolitan municipalities is vital to ensure the viability of the commercial model of the city of Barcelona. More specifically, the report estimates that the residents of the municipalities of the metropolitan region assume a turnover of 3,900 million euros for the commerce of the Catalan capital, a figure that represents 28% of the total of the sector. The percentage is higher than the expenditure made by tourism, which represents a turnover of 2.4 billion euros, and 18% of the total. Finally, the purchases of Barcelona residents rise to 7,500 million euros, representing just over half of the city’s trade turnover (54%).

In this way, the report concludes that the current commercial model of Barcelona could not be maintained without the expenditure made by the metropolitan region. A metropolitan expenditure which, according to the data extracted by the report, has a main threat: urban planning policies and their impact on mobility. Thus, the report states that 50.8% of metropolitan visitors travel to Barcelona in a private vehicle, while 40.7% state that they arrive in the county city via public transport. On the other hand, the report ensures that public transport is not a real alternative to access the city, since the people who use it have no other viable way to get there. According to the results obtained, 75% of metropolitan visitors do not use public transport due to problems associated with the existing model and offer. Among them, the excess time invested (31.1%), the excess of exchanges (14.2%), the lack of security (9.6%), or the lack of connectivity (6, 7%).

58% of shoppers would stop coming to Barcelona if they couldn’t get there by car

Among the main reasons that discourage visits by residents of the metropolitan region to the city of Barcelona, the first four are linked to mobility. According to the survey data, traffic jams and problems are the first obstacle to motivate the attendance of these visitors. 72.7% of respondents show this reason as the main obstacle. The other three main reasons identified by visitors are the difficulty of access by private vehicle (62.7%), the excessive time to get there (62.1%) and the difficulty in finding parking (60.2% ).

In conclusion, 71% of the residents of the metropolitan region say that it is becoming more and more complicated to go shopping in Barcelona and 58% of buyers say that they would stop coming to the city of Barcelona if they could not access it with their vehicle private

Thus, Barcelona City Council’s mobility policies could have a direct impact on the attendance of metropolitan visitors. Of the visitors who come by private vehicle, 26.3% have the B badge, and could see their circulation in the city limited if this badge is banned in the Low Emission Zone (ZBE). On the other hand, the report estimates that the average time taken to reach Barcelona from the metropolitan area is 35 minutes and the tolerance for traffic jams for visitors is only 24 minutes.

On the other hand, the report estimates that the average time taken to reach Barcelona from the metropolitan area is 35 minutes and the tolerance for traffic jams for visitors is only 24 minutes.

All in all, the report concludes that access difficulties in Barcelona could have a devastating impact on the city. More specifically, a risk of loss of turnover of between 2,800 and 3,500 million euros is identified due to the emotional disconnection between the capital and its metropolitan region. A disconnection promoted by urban planning measures that make access by private vehicle difficult, the absence of suitable public transport alternatives and the appearance of new commercial polarities generated by electronic commerce, which present an offer comparable to that of commerce from the city.

The impact of metropolitan visitors to the city of Barcelona does not only affect commerce. According to the report data, 79% of metropolitan visitors also consume in the restaurant sector and other activities related to leisure. More specifically, the report calculates that for every 3 euros in purchases by non-residents of the city, 1 euro is induced in expenditure on restaurants.

More about Barcelona Oberta

Barcelona Oberta is the union of 21 commercial tourist centers that share a vision of the economic and social role of local retail, and represent shopping tourism. They are part of Barcelona Oberta:

Agrupació de comerciants i industrials de Barceloneta – ACIB

Associació comerciants del carrer Pelai Centre i Rodalies

Associació Rambla Catalunya i Travessers

Associació Amics del Passeig de Gràcia

Associació Fundació El Molino FEM

Associació d’Amics, Veïns i Comerciants de la Rambla i Plaça Catalunya

Associació de comerciants Born Comerç

Associació comerciants Gaudí Shopping

Associació d’Amics i Comerciants de la Plaça Reial

Associació de Comerciants l’Illa Diagonal

Associació Diagonal Barcelona

Associació de Comerciants FEM Raval

Associació Front Marítim Barceloneta

Centre Comercial Les Arenes

Eix Comercial Sagrada Família

Federació d’associacions de Barna Centre

Porxos del Port

Sant Antoni Encants

Unió de comerciants Som Sant Antoni

Westfield Glòries

Xarxa de Comerç Divers de Barcelona

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