How coronavirus is reshaping Europe’s tourism hotspots | World news | The Guardian

Barely a year ago the graffiti on the walls of Barcelona read Tourists Go Home. Now that they have gone, the city – along with others that are heavily dependent on the tourist trade – fears an economic meltdown and is hastily drawing up plans to lure visitors back while placating tourist-weary residents.


Trade associations predict at least 15% of businesses and one in four restaurants in Barcelona city centre will close permanently as a result of coronavirus and the outlook is similarly grim in other urban tourist destinations, with tens of thousands of jobs at risk.

But Covid-19 has got the mayors of some of Europe’s most heavily visited cities, academics and urban scholars all singing the same tune: the collapse of the travel industry caused by the virus offers a unique opportunity for cities plagued by mass tourism to rethink their business model.

Charles bridge in Prague
Barbora Hrubá, of the Prague tourist agency, said the Czech capital wants a “different type of visitor”. Xavier Marcé, the Barcelona councillor responsible for tourism, said: “I don’t want more tourists, I want more visitors.” “We’re a city in crisis and are trying to do something different,” said Paola Mar, his counterpart in Venice…
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