Tourism is one of the most important activities in Barcelona and represents a priority for the city, both for the contribution it represents to the economy of the city and for the various effects it generates in urban dynamics.

Barcelona has grown as an international tourist destination since the 1992 Olympic Games, with tourism being a key factor in the successive transformations of the city. In recent years, tourism activity has multiplied its presence in the city, which has motivated a citizen debate on the sustainability of tourism development. In recent years the city has deployed measures to integrate urban tourism management, incorporate voice of the community in the deliberation on tourism, firmly fight against illegal practices in areas such as holiday rentals, support economic activity linked to responsible tourism, and improve management in spaces with greater tourist pressure, among other aspects.

Barcelona was the first urban destination to obtain the Biosphere certification for its commitment to sustainability in the tourism sector.

  • Destination
  • Spain


Certificate number: BWCD 001/2011 RTI

Companies adhered to Barcelona

Terra BikeTours

Adhesion to Commitment of the Destination

In order to increase the positive effect of tourism on the 17 UN SDG, the Responsible Tourism Institute creates the "Adhesion to the Commitment of the Destination". This process is the first step towards the sustainability that a tourist entity or company can adopt. Tourism sustainability is a path, let us do it together.


About Barcelona

Barcelona has grown as an international tourist destination since the 1992 Olympic Games, with tourism being a key factor in the successive transformations of the city. In recent years, tourism activity has multiplied its presence in the city.
With the objective that citizens and visitors enjoy the city in a balanced and respectful way with the environment, Barcelona promotes a tourism based on economic, social, environmental and cultural sustainability. For this reason, Barcelona wants to consolidate itself as a sustainable tourism destination, with responsible management and a transversal strategy that guarantees a sustainable development in the future.
Sustainable tourism has become the axis of tourism policy with the aim of building a sustainable tourism offer, where visitors and citizens coexist in a balanced way, minimizing the negative impacts of tourism and strengthening its link with the local economy.
Barcelona in 2011 became the first city in the world to obtain Biosphere certification, which recognizes the city as a destination that manages tourism in a responsible manner, including sustainable, environmental, cultural and socioeconomic management criteria.

A set of measures has been developed in recent years to improve the management of tourism in the city, of which the approval of the Strategic Plan for Tourism 2020, the creation of the Tourism and City Council, and a plan of impact for combat illegal housing

Barcelona is also promoting a new Tourism Marketing Strategy that responds to sustainability objectives and, with the help of the Diputació de Barcelona, ​​extends the territorial scope to the entire destination, beyond the administrative limits of the city, contributing in addition to the deconcentration of tourist pressure.

This effort to incorporate tourism management in a comprehensive way to urban management was recognized in 2018 with the World Tourism Responsible Awards, within the framework of the World Travel Market held in London.

In order to strengthen the work done in the city in favor of sustainable tourism and to promote the incorporation and implementation of sustainable development actions and programs by the entire tourism sector in Barcelona, ​​the Tourism Sustainability Commitment - Barcelona Biosphere, which is a bet to extend to the group of companies and tourist services of the city good practices in terms of environmental, social and economic sustainability, with a special focus on the quality of employment generated by the tourism sector, one of the priority challenges to address.

In addition, Barcelona has decided to go a step further in its fight against climate change by approving a Climate Plan that prepares the city to comply with the Paris Commitment. It is an ambitious Plan that aims to reduce 45% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 and become a carbon neutral city by 2050.

Sustainability is no longer an option or a brand attribute, it is an unwavering commitment. The quality of the tourist experience goes through ensuring the welfare of people who inhabit the city permanently, ensuring the balance between the tourist city and the other multiple ways of living it.