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Popular Spanish city set to charge tourists to visit famous heritage site | Travel News | Travel

Seville city council has said local residents will still be able to enjoy the famous Plaza de España but tourists will have to pay three euros.

If the charge does go ahead, it would bring in around €9.5million for Seville.

The city, which is one of Spain’s most popular destinations, currently sees around four million tourists a year, with 80 percent of them visiting the Plaza de España.

Seville is the third most visited city in Spain, which in turn is one of the world’s most visited countries, with tourism representing 13 percent of GDP.

Plaza de España was designed by Aníbal González for the 1929 Exhibition and consists of a very impressive semi-circle building with spectacular views of the square.

Videos of its current state show missing tiles, damaged facades and street vendors occupying alcoves and stairs.

The idea of introducing a charge has already created controversy but it could set the trend for other cities to follow.

The mayor of Seville, José Luis Sanz has defended the initiative, saying that the money is needed to help preserve and improve the building.

He also said Seville is under-financed and the taxes paid by residents do not pay for the heritage upkeep.

The mayor explained that Brussels, which has 1.5 million residents, twice as many as Seville, has a budget of €7million compared to €1.2million they receive. 

He said: “Preserving the historic centre is complicated.”

The mayor has asked for a meeting with the new sub-delegate of the Government in Seville, Francisco Toscano Rodero, and will do so with the director general of State Heritage of the Ministry of Finance.

José Luis Sanz said he is confident the charge will be approved to help the Plaza be in perfect condition by 2029 when it will celebrate its centenary.

Many users were quick to take to social media platform X to share their thoughts, including local residents. 

One user wrote: “A tourism tax for all visitors provokes less debate and generates more income, listen to the people.”

Another added: “What people want is a tourism tax and general regulation of mass tourism which is destroying our city.”

A third noted: “Good introduction, many will follow suit I’m sure.”

Italy’s lagoon city of Venice will introduce a trial fee from April to limit the number of day trippers.

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot

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