Barcelona has become the first cruise port to propose an “emissions tax” specifically targeting ships.
The Spanish city is one of Europe’s busiest ports and is a popular cruise destination for Mediterranean voyages. Like Venice, the city’s environmental activities have criticised the local government for having high levels of carbon emissions, air pollution and overtourism. “We expect to be able to present, in the coming weeks, the government’s proposal to regulate emissions in the port areas of Catalonia,” said Teresa Jordà, Minister of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda of the Government of Catalonia.
Speaking in a session at parliament, she said that Spain must act now to curb pollution levels.
The government has yet to reveal the specifics of the planned tax but it will be in addition to the other taxes places on tourists visiting the stunning destination.
Ms Jordà reported that the Minister for Climate Action, Food and the Rural Agenda is working together with the Ministry of Economy to finalize the plan for the tax on cruise ships.
Currently, all visitors currently have to pay €1 (£0.90, $1.10) for a stay of up to 12 hours and €3 (£2.60, $3.20) for any longer than that. That’s on top of another €1.75 (£1.50, $1.90) surcharge usually applied to hotel bookings.
Venice recently banned large cruise ships into its famous canal and the city charges visitors a €10 entry fee.
Barcelona is the busiest European cruise port. In 2019, ~3 million passengers disembarked in the port city, with daily cruise passenger numbers exceeding 10,000 for a total of 139 days in the year. Traffic dropped by 90% in 2020 but picked back up to 521,000 in 2021. This current year, it is predicted to surge again.