‘Tourists go home’ say residents of this popular neighbourhood in Barcelona

by Lorraine Williamson
Barcelona tourists go home

BARCELONA – “If there are more tourists than residents, where are the neighbourhood parties?”, graffiti on the doors of one of the decorated streets in Gràcia reflects. The well-known slogan “Tourists go home” can also be read several times on walls in the district. 

The residents of the popular neighbourhood in the Catalan capital are alarmed by the abundance of foreign visitors during the Festa Major neighbourhood party. They fear that tourists will change the character of their traditional celebrations and wonder whether these types of celebrations are still local events. There now seem to be more tourists than residents present. 

For many residents, it is enough and they support the spread of posters with inhospitable texts throughout the neighbourhood. Those lyrics include some provocative ones, such as claims that locals will “pee in tourists’ beer glasses.” 

This protest also comes in response to tourists and expats themselves, who expressed negative comments about the consequences of the festivities in the district and about the adverse effects of the festivities in the neighbourhood. Many, including Airbnb residents and digital nomads, complained that the celebrations disturbed their sleep and left the streets dirty. 

Also read: How Mallorcan residents try to keep tourism overpopulation at bay

Tourists in Gràcia, Barcelona

The Gràcia district, one of the most tourist in the city, has undergone a huge change in recent years. This has led to an explosive increase in the cost of living and rent. Traditional residents who can still afford to do so now live side by side with digital nomads, tourist-occupied apartments and expats from Central Europe and Argentina. This regularly leads to tensions between the local population and travellers. 

A new approach to the tourism model is needed 

The mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, has recently advocated a new approach to the tourism model. He suggests putting more emphasis on tourism management than promotion. According to Collboni, Barcelona should be a city with tourists, but not a tourist city. 

Also read: Barcelona residents: “The city is a theme park with us as extras” 

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