Heard About All Of The Tourism Changes In Spain?

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Well someone has got to keep you informed and I happily volunteer for the role! As a North American immigrant to the Costa De Luz some five years back and a self-proclaimed travel addict, I qualify for this role and take it seriously when it comes to educating my fellow solo (female) travelers. 

Spain is known for its vibrant culture, stunning architecture, and beautiful beaches. It’s also well known for its affordability within the EU making it an over tourism target for Western and Northern nations like the USA, U.K., and Scandinavia. 

The country remains in the top five most booked destinations in the world post-pandemic. And with year round tourism taking hold in the nation, the tourism changes in Spain are causing rifts, insinuating riots and even boycotts from certain nations as a result.

But, for those planning to visit, you need to know that these changes aim to make your trip smoother while helping preserve the country’s natural beauty and resources. This guide will walk you through the new rules for beach etiquette, entry requirements, and water conservation efforts all part of the sustainability efforts within the country. Let’s get right into it!


Tourism Changes in Spain You Need to Know

Each year, millions of people come to see Spain’s sunny beaches, beautiful art, and to enjoy tasty tapas. However Spain’s tourism landscape is evolving, introducing significant changes aimed at improving the visitor experience concerning its local population.

These measures will help manage the consistent flow of tourists as well as contribute to the maintenance and protection of valuable sites. There are three main tourism changes in Spain that you’re going to want to know before booking your trip.

The recent tourism changes in Spain are part of a broader initiative to promote sustainability and protect the country’s cherished landscapes, emphasizing the importance of sustainability in maintaining Spain’s natural beauty and tourist appeal. 

These sustainable efforts include, but are not limited to:

Limiting Tourism in Overcrowded Areas

Spain has some of the most popular tourist spots in the world. Places like Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia and Madrid’s Prado Museum, to name a few. Too often these locations become overcrowded disrupting the day-to-day life of locals. 

To make visits more enjoyable, Spain is limiting the number of people who can visit these places. Some cities have even introduced sustainable tourism taxes to help offset the wear and tear of the area due to the increased foot traffic. 

Increased Overland Travel Incentives

Getting around Spain is becoming easier and greener. Especially with the introduction of additional railways, bullet trains, and free travel passes. Cities like Seville and Valencia are improving bike lanes. While the island hot spots like Mallorca and Tenerife have introduced additional VAT taxes on accommodation stays and cruise ship day visitors. 

The country has also petitioned to end short-haul flights to increase overland participation. Oh yeah, if you were hoping to hop around the country using budget airlines, you might be in for a surprise as many of these connections no longer exist. Not to mention the continuous air strikes playing out across Europe disrupting flights in and out of popular Spanish cities. Opt to take the train, or rent a car or scooter instead.

The tourism changes in Spain don’t stop there. There are also updated entry rules that encourage responsible travel, while new visa regulations support longer, more sustainable stays. All of which aim to reduce environmental pollution in addition to promoting cleaner coastal areas. 

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Spain’s beaches and natural parks are breathtaking, so it should be no surprise that the tourism changes in Spain extend to include preserving them. To help keep them gorgeous, new rules are in place. For example, there are limits on beach body count. What do I mean by that? I mean that there’s a strict limit on large groups occupying space on certain beaches. 

Overcrowding is a major problem as is the energy crisis. So many locals depend on bathing in the sea to cool down as temps in certain communities like Andalusia soar upward of 33 Celsius (over 90 Fahrenheit). But when a family of three can’t find space on the sand because of an overly rambunctious bunch of Britts, naturally steps to assist the locals would be taken. And they have.

Some areas now have beach rules about what you can bring and do there. This includes smoking/vaping, skinny dipping, and more. These steps help keep the environment clean and accessible for everyone. If you would like to stay abreast of these areas and changes, subscribe to my monthly newsletter where I cover these topics regularly. 

Let’s get into more detail about these beach changes, shall we?

Beaches in Spain are some of the most popular in the world. To keep them enjoyable and safe for everyone, there are new beach etiquette rules tied to the tourism changes in Spain. If I may be so bold, it’s wise to check the specific rules for the beach you plan to enjoy to ensure compliance and make the most of your seaside experience in Spain. Why? Because they are being heavily enforced into the Summer months and there are stiff fines in place for violators.

Here’s the new rules you need to know about before your next visit:

No Smoking on the Beach

That includes vapes. Sorry, not sorry about it! The smoking ban on many beaches across Spain has been in place for years, but never has it been so strictly enforced. This initiative seeks to reduce pollution and ensure cleaner sands and clearer air for everyone. 

If you’re a smoker, look for designated smoking areas on the edges of the paseo (boardwalk) or refrain from smoking while visiting the beach.

Restricted Use of Beach Towels and Chairs

To prevent overcrowding, some popular beaches now limit the size and number of beach towels and chairs you can bring. This rule helps everyone have a spot on the beach without feeling cramped. 

What’s more, the cost to rent beds and the like has starkly increased at some locations. Not to mention that reservations for them are now required in others. So be sure to check the local guidelines at the beach of choice before you set up for the day.

Drone Flying is Regulated

Drones can take stunning photos, but they can also be a nuisance. Many beaches in Spain have introduced regulations that restrict drone usage, especially during busy times. These rules aim to protect the privacy and peace of beachgoers.

I know what you’re thinking; this is a public space, so why is privacy a thing? Because many women sunbathe topless here! And when a drone flying overhead from a stranger is hovering in place capturing wide-lens images of the sea of breasts, well… Do I need to say more?

Cover Up Upon Exiting 

Many tourists seemingly confuse Spain with Asia, opting to wear their bikinis in shops, restaurants, or wherever. This will now catch you a fat fine on both continents! If you find yourself being refused service or entry, take a look at what you have on. 

Shoes and clothing are no longer optional post-beaching. So ladies and gentlemen alike, please put on those shorts, or non-see-through cover-ups if you plan to make any stops after or before going to the beach.  

Not all beaches in Spain have the same rules, but while you might find the majority unnecessary from your perspective, remember that the primary goal is preservation. How else can the country ensure that it remains beautiful and enjoyable for future visitors?

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The water conservation efforts in Spain, particularly in regions like Andalusia, have become crucial due to the ongoing drought affecting the area. Andalusia, known for its lush landscapes and agricultural productivity, has been hit hard by prolonged periods of dry weather, leading to severely depleted water reserves. 

Naturally, local authorities and tourism operators have implemented strict water usage guidelines to ensure sustainability.

Restrictions on Water Usage
In some parts of Spain, there are restrictions on water usage that greatly affect tourists. For example, you might find that water in hotels is not available during certain hours (typically after 11p and before 7a) or that there are limits on swimming pool use. Some pools have been closed outright.

There’s no immediate timeframe for these water restrictions at the current time. This is to say these tourism changes in Spain could be for the Summer or indefinite in the face of such dry times. 

Encouraging Responsible Water Use
Tourists are encouraged to be mindful of their water use. Simple actions like turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, taking shorter showers, and reusing towels can make a big difference.

Here’s a thought, try showering every other day vs. daily. Or how about showering “military-style” which is to shut off the faucet while lathering the skin, hair, or shaving? Boil eggs in your pasta water (before adding the pasta), or take bird baths. The latter uses a washcloth or damp rag to clean the body using a small amount of water. Every little bit of water saved makes a difference in the grand scheme.

These measures include limiting irrigation and enforcing water-saving practices among residents, and tourist accommodations alike. Such initiatives are essential for preserving the region’s water resources amid changing climate conditions.

Last, but certainly not least, the tourism changes in Spain translate to new entry rules for certain passport holders.

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The new entry rules in Spain are designed to address various issues, including the problem of “begpacking”—travelers entering the country with plans to stay indefinitely without a reliable source of income. By tightening visa requirements Spain aims to ensure that all visitors can financially support themselves during their stay. 

Updated Visa Requirements

Spain, as a member of the European Union, follows the Schengen Agreement. However, there have been updates to entry rules and visa requirements, especially concerning long-term stays. 

Make sure to check the most current information on the Spanish consulate’s website or contact them directly for details about your specific situation. Always have a valid passport and second form of identification handy, too.

The new EES (entry and exit systems) is also in play requiring all non-EU citizens to scan their fingerprints and face and pay a small fee of 7 Euros ($7.50). Some of these systems will be required upon boarding the plane or security checkpoints. 

These measures not only help maintain the country’s economic stability but also protect the integrity and sustainability of tourism. Consequently, tourists must demonstrate financial solvency of at least 90 Euros ($95) per day for the duration of their trip.

Don’t Let These Tourism Changes in Spain Stop You

Visiting Spain can be an exciting adventure, but staying informed about the latest tourism changes in Spain is the tourist’s responsibility. By following the new rules for beach etiquette, being aware of entry requirements, and participating in water conservation efforts, you can help ensure that Spain remains a beautiful and welcoming place for all visitors.

Whether you’re lounging on the sunny beaches, exploring the rich cultural heritage, or enjoying the vibrant city life, these changes are designed to enhance your experience while protecting the resources of this wonderful country.

Need Additional Info on the Tourism Changes in Spain?

Spain is changing how it handles tourism to make sure visitors have a great time while keeping its sites safe and beautiful. So, next time you plan a trip, consider all these new changes. You might find a new way to enjoy this amazing country!

If you’re a solo female traveler and would like personal guidance for your solo excursion on Spanish soil, reach out and reserve a FREE 15-minute solo travel consultation with your favorite Bag Lady, that’s me!

These one-on-one calls are perfect for those who want sustainable traveling tips and need to know what’s happening on the ground in the cities they plan to travel. My expertise extends to logistics, helping solo travelers navigate the country now that short-haul flights are dwindling. 

Get all the best travel tips from a solo traveling expert and make your solo trip as unforgettable as possible. If you don’t have the time for a consult, check out these helpful solo female titles:

Adventure on!

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Welcome to Bag Lady Meredith San Diego!

As a global citizen with more than 57 passport stamps, my adventure mandatory, serial-expat existence offers intuitive insight into globetrotting as a solo Black, female.

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Bag Lady Meredith San Diego is always on the move! Completing her 57th country in 2022, where can you spot Meredith San Diego adventuring in 2023? Stay tuned to find out just where in the world is Meredith San Diego!