At the beginning of 2020, Barcelona City Council forecasted an average of 155.000 of tourists’ arrivals a day, for a total sum of around 30 million a year. For obvious reasons related to COVID-19 pandemia, those numbers have not been achieved. But they still put on the debate table an important issue: the capability of a city to absorb, manage and govern tourism fluxes without affecting the residents’ quality of life.

Touristification and gentrification are terms which are often associated, mixed and confused. Their relationship is “used and abused”

Sequera & Nofre, 2018

touristification and gentrification have many common points, but is it enough for constantly associate them?


This research aims to measure the level of “touristification” – the transformation process that leads to tourism specialization of a given area-, of urban landscapes in Barcelona and the municipalities of the Metropolitan Area.

The final objective is to quantify the portion of the city devoted to tourism and to calculate its speed of growth.

Combining qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, as semi-structured interviews and data analysis, the study pretends to provide a clearer definition of “touristification” phenomenon, to understand which metrics are more interesting to include in such analysis, and finally to apply it to the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, as study test area.

Measuring touristification: an urban diagnostics approach