Alicante is concerned about growing anti-tourism sentiment

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The city council of Alicante is concerned about the growing anti-tourism sentiment in the city. In neighbourhoods such as Carolinas and El Pla, residents have expressed their dissatisfaction in recent weeks about the proliferation of tourist apartments outside the city centre.

Residents of these traditionally residential areas organise meetings and protests against the growing supply of accommodation for tourists. About 9,000 tourist apartments are registered in the city. This also increases pressure on the local housing market.

​The discussion about tourism received extra attention after the mayor of Valencia, María José Catalá, announced that mega cruises will no longer be welcome in her city from 2026 and that the municipality will temporarily no longer issue permits for holiday homes. This decision, approved by the Valencia City Council, puts pressure on the mayor of Alicante, Luis Barcala. Political parties such as Compromís are calling on the Alicante municipal council to suspend permits for tourist properties in residential complexes and commercial spaces, as happened in Valencia.

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Strive for balance

The city welcomed a record 2.3 million tourists in 2023, an increase of 58.7% from the previous year. However, Mayor Barcala emphasises that Alicante still has a lot of growth potential in the tourism sector. He says current levels of tourism are not a cause for concern. According to him, continuing to receive tourists and cruise passengers is essential for the local economy and employment. According to Ana Poquet, Councillor for Tourism, more than half of the jobs in Alicante depend on tourism. In addition, cruise ships have an economic impact of €60 million per year.

Concerns about anti-tourism sentiments

Despite the support for tourism, Vice Mayor Manuel Villar is concerned about growing turismophobia in the city. He fears that a small, vocal minority could create a negative image that could deter tourists. The city council wants to calm these negative anti-tourism sentiments, especially now that the tourist season with the Hogueras celebrations during the Noche de San Juan in June is just around the corner. Villar emphasises that Alicante is and will remain a tourist city, and that the municipal government is committed to supporting this important economic segment.

Also read: Historic month for the airports of Alicante and Valencia

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