Residents in other parts of Spain are also agitating against overtourism

by admin
overtourism
ASSSA

Local residents and organisations in Girona have set up a platform against the consequences of overtourism in their city. In Loredo, Cantabria, thousands of residents took to the streets on Saturday to protest the same. In Mallorca, residents of Soller are fed up with daily traffic jams and parking problems and in Valencia, tourist homes are peed on and their visitors are verbally abused.

Furthermore, in many places in Spain, tensions between residents and visitors are increasing due to the negative consequences of overtourism.

Girona

In Girona, the platform expressed their concerns about the negative consequences of mass tourism and gentrification in Girona in a manifesto published on Thursday. The new ‘Plataforma pel decreixement turístic Girona’ calls in their manifesto for urgent measures and seeks support to put pressure on governments. The initiators emphasise that they are acting too late and that Girona and surrounding urban areas are at their limits.

They propose to carry out inspections to detect illegal tourist accommodations. They also want the authorities to set up a register to keep track of the number of expats living in the city. According to them, the increase in tourism without imposing restrictions has led to the formation of “elitist ghettos”. Local residents can no longer live in these neighbourhoods due to the rising costs of living.

“The tourist monoculture was a good thing for some, but a death sentence for the local population,” the manifesto reads. Local residents argue that limiting rent prices and the number of tourist apartments are insufficient measures. More specific measures are needed to ‘reverse’ the effects of mass tourism.

Expats and cycle tourism

One of the platform’s spokespersons, Jordi Mateu, criticised the “mass” arrival of expats. They come to live in Girona, but are not connected to the social network of their neighbourhood. Another point of criticism focuses on cycling tourism. In recent years Girona has seen a huge influx of people from all over the world wanting to live in Girona because of the cycling opportunities it offers. Cycling tourism has an estimated economic impact of €89 million on the city and has grown significantly since the pandemic. As well as the professional cyclists living in Girona, many have come to set up businesses, from tour operators to cycling cafes. But activists say this has led to many local businesses closing.

The province of Girona received 8,514,972 tourists in 2023. That is an increase of 1.4% compared to 2022. It resulted in a total of 27,654,210 overnight stays, an increase of 4.44% compared to the previous year.

Cogesa Expats

Rebuttal

A study from the University of Girona disputes that the emerging ‘tourismophobia’ in Girona is justified. According to the study, commissioned by the municipality of Girona, complaints related to overtourism are mainly imported from Barcelona. The researchers emphasise that tourist activities in Barcelona are not comparable in volume and impact to those in Girona. Therefore, the rhetoric should be adjusted accordingly.

Cantabria

The political formation Cantabristas called for the demonstration on Saturday, May 17 in Loredo. The organisation’s estimated attendance was 8,000 people compared to 3,000 estimated by local authorities. The demonstrators have “had enough of the tourist massification and its consequences for the housing market on the Cantabrian coast. Specifically, it refers to a new development involving the construction of hundreds of homes and a golf course between Loredo and Langre (two Cantabrian coastal towns).

“What is the purpose of urban speculation and tourist massification if we Cantabrians have trouble finding housing and we suffer the consequences of this massification if it only creates low-paying jobs?” This was said by the general chairman of the formation to the press present. New manifestations are being planned against the development and to get the authorities to listen. One resident even called the construction development “a suicide” for Cantabria as the number of tourists has already exploded in recent years. “Young people who come here to work can no longer find housing. Mass tourism is bread for today, but hunger for tomorrow,” the resident added, also referring to the problems that have arisen in cities such as Barcelona, Valencia and Málaga.

Mallorca

In recent days, reports about Mallorca have appeared in various Spanish media, including ElDiario, about the kilometres of traffic jams in the area that illustrate the beginning of the tourist season on the island. Endless traffic jams to reach, for example, the emblematic village of Soller with a beautiful location in the Serra Tramuntana overlooking the sea. Residents can no longer reach their own village or park their car there. Sidewalks are unwalkable because cars are parked there. The newly established platform SOS Soller has started a petition on Change.org to demand an end to the (parking) problem. Someone states: “Mallorca is completely saturated. It’s like Disneyland with Soller as the coolest attraction.” Residents of the island can express their dissatisfaction on May 25 during a mass meeting against mass tourism and housing shortage. The slogan used is “Mallorca is not for sale”.

Valencia

In Valencia, a report was filed last week by owners of tourist homes on the ground floor that had been defaced. Others were confronted with front doors that had been urinated on or locks that had been sealed with silicone gel. Several tourists staying in these areas, unaware of the existing tensions, were also verbally abused. Two of them then decided to leave their temporary home. Asked about the tensions, the mayor of Valencia, María José Catalá, assured that she understands the “inconvenience” that this type of tourism generates in society. However, she made it clear that such personal attacks are not the solution. She promised to continue working on solutions.

Also read: Growing rebellion against mass tourism in Spain

You may also like