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article imageCritics slam Barcelona's decision to charge entry to Parc Güell

By Anne Sewell     Aug 29, 2013 in Travel
Barcelona - Critics are angry over the decision to charge a tourist fee for entry to the iconic Parc Güell, which is currently the only site displaying the work of Antoni Gaudí without charge.
Catalunya's government has decided to introduce an entrance fee for foreign tourists visiting Parc Güell, a monumental area displaying many of Gaudí's creations.
The fee is to be €8 per person, from October 2013.
However, according to local groups and tour operators, this move would breach European laws, as the area is currently a public park. albeit with Gaudí's iconic structures.
Reportedly residents in Barcelona will still be able to visit free of charge, which makes critics sure that this change would also be discriminatory on the basis of origin.
On top of the new ticket price, authorities are planning to limit the number of visitors to the park to 800 per hour.
Professional tour guide Lídia Santiago told Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia, “All this overcrowding is making the park lose its charm.”
But locals fear that this will then drive tourists away to other tranquil areas in the city, which residents use to escape the tourist crowds.
While the local group "Defensem el Parc Güell" (Defending Parc Güell) is in favor of limiting visitor numbers, they do not want the park to become an open-air museum where visitors are forced to pay an entry fee.
"This is a municipal park and not a museum or a cathedral. No one should have to pay," Dani Torrents of the group told the Local.
"There are other ways to raise money, including, for example, charging for the parking of private tourist buses," Torrents added.
Despite criticism the town hall in Barcelona defend their move by claiming that the ticket money will be used for park maintenance and would create up to 50 new jobs.
A petition is currently running on change.org against the new charges.
At present, Parc Güell receives around 9 million visitors each year. Some views of the park are included below.
Park Güell in Barcelona  Spain
Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain
Park Güell - Barcelona  Spain.
Park Güell - Barcelona, Spain.
Park Güell - Barcelona  Spain.
Park Güell - Barcelona, Spain.
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