'GO HOME!' - Anti-tourism protesters use water pistols to drench restaurant-goers in Barcelona

Protesters in Spain

Tourists were sprayed with water pistols in central Barcelona by angry protesters who are calling for holidaymakers to 'go home'

Reuters
Georgina Cutler

By Georgina Cutler


Published: 07/07/2024

- 14:10

Updated: 08/07/2024

- 08:25

Around 2,800 protesters gathered to demand a new economic model to reduce the number of tourists visiting

Tourists were sprayed with water pistols in central Barcelona by angry protesters who are calling for holidaymakers to "go home".

Demonstrators took to the streets in protest against "overtourism" in Spain on Saturday evening.


According to Spanish police, around 2,800 protesters gathered to demand a new economic model which would see the number of tourists visiting every year plummet.

Signs bearing the words, "Barcelona is not for sale," and, "Tourists go home," were on show as campaigners marched through popular tourist hotspots.

Protesters spraying water

Demonstrators took to the streets in protest against 'overtourism' in Spain on Saturday evening

Reuters

Holidaymakers eating at restaurants were also sprayed with water as demonstrators chanted: "Tourists out of our neighbourhood".

It comes as housing in Spain has increased by 68 per cent over the past 10 years and working conditions have declined.

According to property website Idealista, in cities such as Barcelona and Madrid rent surged by 18 per cent in June compared to a year earlier.

The Mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni announced in June that all short-term lets will be phased out by 2028.

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The unexpected move, which aims to take control of soaring housing costs, has caused many to feel that not enough is being done to balance the needs of tourists.

"Local shops are closing to make way for stores that do not serve the needs of neighbourhoods. People cannot afford their rents," Isa Miralles - who lives in the Barceloneta district - said.

Jordi Guiu, a 70-year-old sociologist added: "I have nothing against tourism, but here in Barcelona we are suffering from an excess of tourism that has made our city unliveable."

The city council - run by the Socialist Jaume Collboni - announced 10 days ago that it was banning tourist apartment rentals by 2028 so that they can be put back on the local housing market.

Anti-tourism protests Barcelona

Holidaymakers eating at restaurants were also sprayed with water as demonstrators chanted: 'Tourists out of our neighbourhood'

Reuters

Locals across Spain have staged anti-tourism protests over recent months, with 15,000 protesters taking to the streets in Palma, Majorca in May.

Tourists have been urged by holiday companies to look elsewhere when booking their next trip, with TUI announcing that the Balearic Islands have “reached capacity”.

The CEO of TUI, Sebastian Ebel is encouraging holidaymakers to look at less crowded destinations such as Egypt and Turkey, as he says the Spanish archipelago cannot host any more tourists.

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