The aim of this article is to analyse the social and political capacity of cities affected by cultural tourism. An investigation is carried out into the state of the situation in saturated destinations, the problems this poses to tourist sustainability and the positions of the various different interest groups. In Europe, many cultural cities-cum-tourist hotspots have reached such high levels of socio-political saturation that the resident population’s capacity for carrying tourism has become overstretched. This has led to a state of irritation among the local population. Social movements now include this on their agenda but the various different interest groups (residents, political groups, entrepreneurs, management bodies) all react differently. We present data relating to the case of Barcelona, with analyses of residents’ and tourists’ opinions, the actions of social mobilization carried out by pressure groups, media repercussion and the reactions of the business sector and political groups. We examine data collected from surveys and opinions carried in the media. The sustainability and management of interests indicate changes in both the number and the type of tourists, the occupation of public spaces, the distribution of profit among entrepreneurs, residents and the political and economic model of society in the future.
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