Over 2,000 People Protest in Barcelona Against Mass Tourism

Concerns related to mass tourism have led thousands of people to demonstrate in the streets of Barcelona.

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According to police figures about 2,800 people participated in Barcelona’s protests held on July 6, under the slogans “Enough! Let’s put limits on tourism”, “Reduce tourism now!” and “Tourists out of our neighbourhood, Schengen.News reports.

I have nothing against tourism, but here in Barcelona we are suffering from an excess of tourism that has made our city unliveable.

Jordi Guiu, a 70-year-old sociologist

Local media reports revealed that in 2023 alone, Barcelona registered over 12 million tourists.

The ongoing increase in the cost of housing, which went up by 68 per cent in the past decade according to local media reports, is among the main issues for the movement, along with the efforts of tourism on local commerce and working conditions.

Local shops are closing to make way for stores that do not serve the needs of neighbourhoods. People cannot afford their rents.

Isa Miralles, a musician from the Barceloneta district

In its fight against mass tourism, the city council run by the Socialist Jaume Collboni, announced recently plans to ban tourist apartment rentals by 2028 in order to put back on the local housing market.

Such a plan has raised concerns among associations of tourist apartments who say it will just give feedback on the market.

Demonstrations related to mass tourism in addition to Barcelona have also been made in other tourist hotspots such as Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, as well as the Canary Islands.

Over 33 Million International Visitors in the First Five Months of 2024

When it comes to tourism, Spain is among the top European countries, welcoming a large number of international travellers each year.

The statistics provided by Spain’s Ministry of Tourism reveal that in the first five months of this year alone, Spain received a total of 33 million international visitors, accounting for an increase of 13.6 per cent compared to the figures from the same period last year.

According to the Ministry, each visitor spent an average of €1,263 in May, or a 7.3 per cent increase compared to last year’s statistics. Besides, spending per day also showed a notable increase reaching €204, with a year-on-year increase of 8.6 per cent.

In the first five months of 2024, international tourist spending grew by 21.8 per cent to exceed 43.2 billion euros and the number of visitors increased by 13.6 per cent to exceed 33.2 million tourists.

Spain’s Ministry of Tourism

Based on the data provided by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), in May, a total of 9.3 million foreign tourists visited Spain, up by 11.5 per cent compared to May 2023. In addition, the same source notes that international visitors contributed to €11,687 million, representing an increase of 19.7 per cent compared to the figures registered in May 2023.

The figures from the National Statistics Institute also revealed that Spain is the second most visited country after Spain. Last year, Spain welcomed a total of 85 million international visitors, accounting for an increase of 18.7 per cent compared to 2022’s statistics.