Spanish tourism industry invites tourists along with angers and protests

Published on : Saturday, September 2, 2017

Spanish TourismAlthough Spain has enjoyed record tourism so far this year, it has also seen a surge in anti-tourism sentiment, marked by protests, graffiti and vandalism.

Anti-tourism sentiment has been rising in the most-visited destinations of Europe for years, thanks to cheap airlines, apartment rentals, which are often illegal – that cut vacation costs but can increase rent prices, and an economic model that often favors quantity over quality.

But this summer it crossed limits, with locals staging protests on beaches, hurling eggs at visitors, and tagging buildings with graffiti that leaves no question as to how they feel. Tourists are no longer welcome and they do not feel safe either.

The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development of 2017 is the perfect opportunity to bring forth a more responsible sector that can calm down passions that have flared in some places. The Secretary-General of the UNWTO Dr. Taleb Rifai said, “What residents of specific destinations are complaining about … are not related to growth but with mismanagement of the tourism sector. The enemy of the tourism sector is its inappropriate management and misbehavior.”

Tourism represents 10 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, creating 1 out of every 10 jobs. But the backlash against disruptive partying, mass crowds and the displacement of locals is something to think about. “Tourist-phobia” had been the biggest story of the summer in Spain, until the terrorist attack on August 17 that counted a disproportionate number of tourists as victims. Everywhere – from Barcelona, Venice to Croatia, mass tourism and angry protests resulting out of it are the biggest concerns in recent times.

Spain’s tourism industry gives rise to 13 percent of all jobs. This year has already broken records. According to statistics released today, July set a new monthly high of 10.51 million visitors to Spain, crossing the previous record of 10.02 million last August.


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