Despite the mayor's efforts, Colau doesn't have authority over the ports or the airport, which last year handled more than 50 million passengers, a 6% increase on 2017. The ports are run by central government while Spanish airports are managed by a public-private company in which the government has a 51% stake.

The mayor continued that the limits proposed are set to reduce pollution in the city, where air quality regularly exceeds World Health Organization limits for nitrogen oxide and PM10 particulates.

Gala Pin, a councillor in Colau’s last administration, compared cruise passengers to 'a plague of locusts' who devour the public space and then leave, as Guardian stated.


In the meantime, neighbourhood associations and environmental groups have campaigned for years to curb the number of cruise ships that visit the city.

Last month, in a report published by a Brussels-based NGO, Barcelona topped the list of 50 European ports for the amount of pollution produced by cruise ships.

Barcelona's mayor aims to reduce plastic use, boost recycling, reduce speed limits and increase car-free zones.

Concluding, authorities forecast an increase in the number of tourists visiting Spain this year. The country received 82 million visitors in 2018, almost twice the population, with Catalonia – of which Barcelona is the capital – receiving the biggest share.