Thousands of people protest in Barcelona against mass tourism

Thousands of people protest in Barcelona against mass tourism
Thousands of people protest in Barcelona against mass tourism

Anti-overtourism movements are multiplying in Spain. In Barcelona, ​​more than 2,000 people demonstrated this Saturday to denounce, among other things, the explosion in housing prices.

Thousands of protesters. Under the slogan: “Enough! Let’s put limits on tourism”, some 2,800 protesters, according to the police, marched in Barcelona (Spain), this Saturday, to demand a change in the economic model for the most visited city in the country.

“We have nothing against tourism, but we do have an opposer to excessive tourism, because it makes the city unlivable,” explained Jordi Guiu, a 70-year-old sociologist from Barcelona.

Spain is the second largest destination in the world after France. Last year, the Iberian Peninsula welcomed more than 80 million tourists, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE). A record number.

The country’s growth reached 2.5% in 2023, driven by tourism, again according to the INE, which confirms the dynamism of the Spanish economy in a gloomy international context. But despite these figures, many Spaniards suffer from mass tourism, especially in Barcelona, ​​on the Costa Dorada.

“Tourists outside our neighborhoods”

This Saturday, the demonstrators marched around chanting “tourists out of our neighborhoods”, stopping in front of some hotels to the surprise of visitors.

Critics of overtourism mainly denounce its effect on housing prices. Rents have increased by 68% over the last decade, according to Barcelona City Hall, but also its harmful consequences on local businesses, the environment and the working conditions of local employees.

To make it easier for residents to access housing, the town hall recently announced that it wants to put an end to the rental of tourist apartments by 2029.

Last year, Barcelona alone welcomed more than 12 million tourists.

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