Barcelona protests unchecked growth of mass tourism

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 13, 2017

Locals have protested in the popular resorts of the Spanish city of Barcelona against an unchecked boom in the tourism industry, which they say is making life for the residents increasingly unbearable.

Organisers say they have seen a spike in loutish behaviour caused by hard-partying foreigners while increased tourist numbers have also driven up rent and house prices.

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

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 protesters rallied just a few metres away.

The protest was organised by a local residents' group.

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.

Tensions have been growing between authorities and hard-left groups who launched a campaign of vandalism against mass tourism in Barcelona and other parts of Spain.

Radical leftists groups have stopped a sight-seeing bus tour, sabotaged rental bikes often used by tourists, and painted graffiti messages of "Tourist Go Home" on buildings across the city.

Tourism accounts for 11 percent of Spain's gross domestic product.

"I never imagined I would have to defend the tourism sector". They're protesting the rising number of tourists arriving in the city. Some 75.3 million foreigners visited the country of 46 million people past year with authorities estimating that the boom helped to generate about 11 percent of Spain's gross domestic product.

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