Barcelona residents protest unchecked growth of mass tourism

13 Août, 2017, 10:19 | Author: Claudine Rigal
  • Locals are also angry that private apartment rentals are driving up the cost of properties as people buy up housing with the sole intention of letting it out to visitors

Crowds stormed the sand to highlight their upset over party-seeking foreigners driving up rent and house prices, while bringing a spike in rowdy behaviour. That's forcing many out of the city centre.

Numerous protestors from the city's waterfront neighborhood of Barceloneta wore yellow T-shirts bearing the slogan "Barceloneta isn't for sale" in Catalan. "This Is Not A Beach Resort".

About one hundred activists gathered on the Barcelona beach to show discontent with the increasing arrivals of tourists. One man remained asleep on a towel while Saturday's protestors rallied just a few meters (yards) away.

The protest was organized Saturday by a local residents' group under the theme "Recover the beach for everyone!"

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Barcelona's town hall has responded to the tourist influx by trying to curb the growth of apartments that rented to tourists via on-line platforms like Airbnb.

Spain's burgeoning tourism industry has also triggered anger among some leftist groups who have launched a campaign of vandalism against foreigners in several Spanish tourist destinations, including Barcelona.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has criticized the far-left groups, saying their protest against a tourism sector that accounts of 11 percent of the country's gross domestic product was "senseless". "This truly is something unheard of", Rajoy told a business meeting of a large hotel chain on Wednesday.

Spain has recorded a 12-percent increase in the number of tourist arrivals in the first six months of 2017. Some 75.3 million foreigners visited the country of 46 million people previous year with authorities estimating that the boom helped to generate about 11 percent of Spain's gross domestic product.

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