Mercat de la Boqueria is one of Barcelona’s famous markets and a model for many markets around the world. It has recently introduced some changes to make sure it retains its relevance to local fresh food customers and in the process restrict the influence of tourists.
Tourists, particularly tourist groups are frowned upon by traders because they basically clog up the works and don’t buy much. Camera toting tourists get in the way of legitimate local foodies and in a city dominated by markets that is an important issue.
Tour groups have been limited to a maximum of 15 people at certain trading times and that has now been extended to include all hours on Fridays and Saturdays during peak months.
Pre-prepared produce for immediate consumption has been restricted and must be packaged, wrapped, and sealed. No new bars and restaurants may open and in a humorous move that says a lot about the guile of some market traders, the regulations require no flat surfaces on stalls. In other words surfaces must be on an incline which will be a disincentive to the serving of open drinks and unsealed plates of food.
The proposal is aimed at recovering the market for city residents and raises some interesting comparisons with The Queen Vic Market. Many of our food hall traders would sympathise with Barcelona traders, although, in a market like QVM where more than half the rental income comes from traders reliant on tourists, the application is not quite so simple.