Barcelona protesters throw gadgets and spray vacationers with water whereas shouting ‘tourists go home’

Jul 9, 2024 | blog

Mass tourism troubles hit fever pitch in Barcelona on Saturday as protesters threw gadgets and sprayed vacationers with water weapons and canned drinks, whereas shouting “tourists go home.”

The protesters — offended concerning the metropolis’s long-standing issues with overtourism — used thick police-style tape to dam resort entrances and sidewalk cafes within the small neighborhood of Barceloneta in a symbolic effort to shut the institutions.

The crowd, which numbered some 3,000 folks based on native media, additionally marched holding a big banner demanding that metropolis officers “decrease tourists now.”

Videos and pictures present folks trying to keep away from the crowds — some strolling away from their tables mid-meal — whereas others, together with restaurant employees, verbally sparred with anti-tourism activists.

The demonstration coincides with Barcelona’s peak summer time journey months. In 2023, resort occupancy charges neared 80% in July and August, as the town of 1.6 million folks swelled to accommodate greater than 4 million guests, based on the Barcelona City Council.

Record-breaking arrivals

Last 12 months, Spain bounced again from the pandemic with a record-breaking 85 million international customer arrivals, based on the Associated Press. Only France, with 100 million arrivals, welcomed extra.

A protester in Barcelona on July 6, 2024.
Paco Freire | Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

But the fragile dance between locals and guests had spiraled lengthy earlier than that.

Hotels within the metropolis quadrupled from 1990 to 2023 to accommodate a rush of vacationers, which surged from 1.7 million to 7.8 million throughout the identical interval, based on the Barcelona City Council. That would not embody the tens of millions who journey to the town’s outskirts too, it notes.  

The metropolis additionally buckles beneath the load of the Barcelona Cruise Port as day-trippers descend on the town by the 1000’s. The port processed some 2.2 million passengers in 2023, up from 560,000 in 2000, based on its web site.

A girl eating at a restaurant in Barceloneta being confronted by a protester.
Paco Freire | Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

The result’s a metropolis during which many locals can not afford to stay, activists say — most notably due to the housing market, the place rents have elevated 68% prior to now decade, based on Barcelona’s mayor, Jaume Collboni.   

Collboni introduced in June that Airbnb-style short-term home leases could be banned within the metropolis by 2028. The transfer would add some 10,000 residences again into the long-term rental market.

Two vacationers on bicycles being stopped in entrance of an indication in opposition to mass tourism in Barcelona on July 6, 2024.
Paco Freire | Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

A report revealed by Barcelona’s City Council in 2023, titled “Perception of Tourism in Barcelona” exhibits extra residents really feel tourism is useful, somewhat than detrimental, to the town. However, the hole between these numbers has closed by the years, it confirmed.

Half of the 1,860 respondents surveyed stated they modify the place they go within the metropolis due to vacationers. “They avoid a widespread area around the city centre (Plaça Catalunya, La Rambla, Gothic Quarter, Raval, Old Town, Waterfront), as well as the Sagrada Família area. In terms of specific spaces, Park Güell tops the list of those deliberately avoided.”

Even those that acknowledge the financial contribution of tourism have gotten disillusioned by the sheer variety of vacationers within the metropolis, based on the report.

“More and more people believe that Barcelona has reached its tourism capacity limit,” it states.

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