BARCELONA has granted permission for a new €33 million cruise port despite past protests that the city was inundated with tourists from cruise liners who contributed little or nothing to the city environment.

MSC Cruises was awarded a 31-year lease from the Barcelona Port Authority to build a terminal building which will open 2024.

In a joint statement, Barcelona Port chairman Merce Conesa and MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said the new terminal’s focus would help to preserve the local environment by providing links to the port’s electrical network. 

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Vision of the port terminal from architect firm RBTA

This would allow vessels to operate on a pollution-free basis during the time they are docked in Barcelona. 

“The new terminal will allow us to operate expanded homeport operations, resulting in added direct and indirect economic benefit for the city and the overall region,” Mr Vago added. 

“This will come from higher spend locally from our international guests either flying into or out of Barcelona airport and likely to spend additional days in the city and its hotels together with their travelling parties.” 

For the project, MSC Cruises is partnering with the renowned Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill (RBTA firm) to design the terminal.

“Together, we will build a state-of-the-art new terminal that is bound to become another landmark for the beautiful city of Barcelona,” Vago said.

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Vision of the port terminal from architect firm RBTA

Ecologists and local neighbourhood groups have launched a concerted campaign against the cruise liners which arrive in Barcelona, unloading hundreds of tourists at a time.

Campaigners have claimed these tourists contribute little to the local environment and most leave the same day or the next. 

Spain will readmit cruise liners from June 7 after closing its ports last summer in order to contain Covid-19.  

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