Visitors are once again flooding the narrow streets of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter as worldwide travel booms again. Tensions over mass tourism are flaring up again in the Spanish port city. According to the Barcelona Hotel Guild, occupancy rates at the city’s hotels rose to nearly 85% in April, including the Easter long weekend, approaching pre-plague levels. More and more cruise ships, more and more tourists, more and more crowds. After a record number of nearly 12 million visitors to hotels and tourist apartments in 2019, arrivals fell by 76.8% in 2020. The epidemic has also shown the dangers of an “economic monoculture based on tourism”. The majority of residents working in tourism were out of work overnight. Before the pandemic, the number of tourists arriving in Barcelona had been steadily increasing, with the tourism sector accounting for around 15% of Spain’s second largest economy. The tourism boom triggered a violent response, with regular demonstrations. Barcelona residents identified tourism as the main problem facing the city in a survey carried out by the city council. “We need to change the model to reconcile the two worlds. You can’t have a city of tourists on one side and a city of locals on the other,” explains the head of the Urban Observatory of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. As the terraces are once again full of tourists drinking sangria, Barcelona’s left-wing city council recently announced plans to take new measures to tame the area. Access to the busiest areas would be restricted and tourist buses better regulated. The Barcelona City Council has already cracked down on illegal advertising by online rental companies such as Airbnb, and has banned tourist groups from entering the historic La Boqueria market during peak hours. “Tourism is an important economic, social and cultural resource for Barcelona,” said Xavier Marce, the city’s tourism councillor. “We need to maximise the benefits and control the damage.” Marce rejected the argument that the city had not taken advantage of the two-year drop in arrivals caused by the epidemic to change the city’s tourism model. “The two years were not wasted. It is very difficult to solve tourism problems when there is no tourism,” he pointed out. Anti-mass tourism experts point out that no one is calling for zero tourism. There will always be tourism, but the city must be diverse and tourism must coexist with other types of economic and social activities.