Activist groups from 14 southern European cities join hands to tackle mass tourism

Published on : Friday, April 27, 2018

Many European citiesNeighbourhood associations and activist groups from 14 southern European cities made a network to join forces to combat mass tourism which was presented yesterday in Barcelona.

The “SET network” of cities of southern Europe against mass tourism plans to stage joint protest actions to force governments to “establish limits to the tourist industry” and even promote its “decrease”.

The network plans to release a manifesto condemning how mass tourism causes rents to soar, local shops to disappear, creates low wage jobs and generates pollution.

Currently, the network comprises groups from ten Spanish cities including Madrid, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca as well as Lisbon and Venice. It also includes Spain’s Canary Islands and Malta.

This initiative comes as cities across Europe have stepped up their efforts to crack down on home-sharing sites like Airbnb as concerns build over the side effects of their increasing popularity amid fears of housing shortage for local residents.

International tourist arrivals grew by 8.0% in the European Union last year, to reach 538 million, or 40% of the world’s total, according to Madrid-based UNWTO.

The former UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai said the rise in anti-tourist sentiment is “a very serious situation that needs to be addressed in a serious way”. He said that if handled properly, tourism can be the “best ally” to conservation, preservation and the community.

Rifai said, “It should not be given up for the sake of mismanagement. Ensuring that tourism is an enriching experience for visitors and hosts alike demands strong, sustainable tourism policies, practices and the engagement of national as well as local governments and administrations, private sector companies, local communities and tourists themselves.”

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