Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Here's some good news for tourists visiting Barcelona and Catalonia. Currently, Barcelona Metropolitan Transport runs what they call the Bus Turístic, a double-decker bus that runs a loop around Barcelona with stops at all the major tourist attractions. It's a good idea and it even makes a profit; it gets a million users a year and last year it made six million euros. And it's a very simple, practical way for Barcelona to show itself off and leave a good taste in visitors' mouths so they'll want to come back. Never forget that tourism is Spain's largest industry, and anything that makes it easier and more fun to be a tourist that doesn't cost us locals an arm and a leg is good for all of us in the long run. Anyway, what they are planning to do is launch two new tourist bus routes, one to Girona (the old Jewish quarter, the Arab baths, the medieval churches) and maybe Figueres (the Dalí museum), and the other to Tarragona (Roman ruins, including an amphitheater, a triumphal arch, and an aqueduct, a great archaeology museum, and a medieval cathedral, along with lovely views over the ocean.) These places are all well worth visiting and deserve some touristic promotion, too; this will be good business for everyone concerned and will make life much more convenient for tourists, especially those interested in visting the aqueduct and the triumphal arch, which are both a few kilometers away from downtown Tarragona. Even better, the new routes will be a public-private venture, with two well-known bus companies taking part. The service will begin next spring.

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