Published on : Saturday, August 12, 2017
There is a growing backlash over mass tourism in Europe as the favorite hotspots continue to suffer from chronic overcrowding and locals face rising prices for basic needs such as rent. With the busy summer season, hordes of tourists visiting cities and towns throughout Europe are now a headache for many locals in these destinations.
A protest group in Spain attacked a sightseeing bus and has issued a warning that they are planning more acts of intimidation to scare tourists away.
Dubrovnik in Croatia has similar woes of mass tourism and protests from locals. The streets were packed as cruise ships disgorged their passengers in thousands. Many locals in the favourite spots around Europe have already made their angst visible against excessive pressure of mass tourism during the first 6 months of this year.
It started in Barcelona, where quiet neighbourhoods were transformed by tourists arriving to take up residence in rental flats, many of them through AirBnB — driving up rents and forcing locals out. Protest signs on the street read “this isn’t tourism, it’s an invasion” — in English of course so the tourists wouldn’t miss the point. In Venice, residents held a banner that read “my future is Venice” as they marched through crowds of visitors. Even Rome is considering limiting its visitor numbers. Rome has put officials in place to patrol its famous fountains and stop people swimming in them.
In Palma Majorca, activists set off flares outside a restaurant and threw confetti at diners.
The activists are planning another protest in San Sebastian in a week. The Spanish Prime Minister has condemned the protests and riots and said that tourism makes up a good deal of the Spanish economy and warning people off is not the best strategy.