Published on : Friday, August 18, 2017
Barcelona residents are protesting like never before against the perils of mass tourism. Hordes of tourists are dropping in the city and creating a ruckus in the daily life of locals. The hugely popular Catalan metropolis has become the latest European hotspot to eye tourism with hostility.
Right from the romantic canals of Venice to the walled mediaeval town of Dubrovnik via the wilderness of Scotland’s Isle of Skye, tourism is becoming a nightmare for many locals, despite the jobs and income it generates.
In the trendy seaside Barceloneta district of Barcelona, residents for years have complained about anti-social behavior like drunkenness and indecency in public areas, as well as a leap in rental prices that has forced many locals out. This summer in Palma de Majorca in the popular Balearic Islands, activists burst into the port, setting off flares of red smoke and throwing confetti over people eating at a restaurant. A bus full of tourists was attacked in Barcelona, painting over its windscreen and giving passengers a scare.
Now the officials too have started addressing the problem of overcrowding. The Balearic Islands, for example, have limited the number of visitors that can stay in hotels or legal rental accommodations in one go. Many popular destinations are now sagging under the weight of tourists.
Dubrovnik in Croatia is a favorite with cruise ships and its popularity soared even further when it was used as a backdrop in the hit TV series “Game of Thrones.” The walled old town is a delight of 17th- and 18th-century architecture. However, locals do their best to avoid it, saying it is almost impossible to move amidst the congestion.
Mayor Mato Frankovic said that cameras now monitor the number of people entering the old town and authorities plan to reduce the number of cruise ships coming into the port. Similar measures are now being taken on the other side of the Adriatic Sea in Venice. Tourists will be fined 500 Euros ($585) if they have picnics or bathe in the canals.