When it comes to Barcelona, we must overcome the center and periphery debates to deepen the analysis and better plan the entire metropolitan area. It is of no use if Barcelona regulates tourism if we do not carry out similar reforms in all the surrounding cities. The challenge of affordable housing can only be answered from a metropolitan point of view. Moreover, the generation of wealth must be distributed throughout the metropolitan area, which is why it is important to move toward greater metropolitan governance and generate dynamics of shared sustainable growth. The commitment to an economy based on innovation, knowledge, and the green economy requires metropolitan development plans. The Besós Plan is an example of one such type of plan and is a commitment to generate an economic eco-district of the municipalities that lie east of Barcelona along the Besós river. Our development plan for the entire coastline is another such plan, with a greater capacity of our port and a free zone. In this sense, it is important that municipalities and metropolitan areas have the right instruments to respond to major global challenges. We have challenges in the future to positioning the city as an international example while attracting strategic economic sectors that generate quality occupation and economic growth, and addressing inequalities and climate change. We must move towards a new green deal, in which we work hand in hand with administrations, companies, and citizens in economic and social transformation.
Mayor, Sant Cugat City Council
We are extremely pleased to be part of a program that will make prices of public transportation more affordable. This was a historic request from the people of Sant Cugat to be better connected to Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia. We thought Sant Cugat faced an unfair situation, but that has now been corrected. In exchange for that flat-rate tariff, we contribute through a tax to the municipality of Barcelona that includes other services, like garbage collection. This is a tax charged by the metropolitan council and, thus, the Sant Cugat municipality does not participate in its collection. As a city, our advantage is that we face the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona, and have closer ties to it than to the rest of the Vallí¨s Occidental region, which we belong to. Our connection with Barcelona is evident because we have grown significantly over the last few years, in part because we have received many people coming from Barcelona. The quality of life and opportunities that Sant Cugat offers are attractive. However, we have certain circumstances that are different to the rest of the region. The socioeconomic profile of our population is high, and the businesses located in Sant Cugat are of great relevance. The environment is diverse, and we have large companies located here, not to mention scientific parks with biotech and pharma companies like Boehringer Ingelheim, Roche, Ferrer, and Grifols. We also benefit from the influence of the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
First Deputy Mayor, Jaume Collboni
For Barcelona, tourism is a crucial source of economic growth. In relation to MICE tourism, we are the first city in the world in terms of number of delegates at international congresses, so it is a priority for us to continue strengthening this sector. With this vision, we are dedicating ourselves to improving some key aspects such as our cultural offerings, such as the adoption of a sustainable mobility system by launching the largest low-emission area of southern Europe and an expansion of the number of police officers, among others. All these changes have a direct impact on improving the quality of life for citizens and visitors alike. We are also promoting the constant modernization of Barcelona’s neighborhood markets since these guarantee local products of a high quality and contribute to improving social cohesion in neighborhoods. Such spaces generate economy and coexistence, both of which are fundamental for our urban model and the identity of Barcelona. As such, in 2019 we made improvements in almost 30 markets across the city, including the recently completed renovation of the Sant Antoni and Bon Pastor markets. Moreover, since we are a city of less than 2 million inhabitants, yet receive more than 13 million tourists each year, we have agreed with the Generalitat, Catalonia’s regional government, that the Barcelona City Council will apply a surcharge to each tourist for the amount of days they stay in the city, including for cruise tourists.