Barcelona anti-tourism protesters spray guests with water weapons | EUROtoday

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Thousands took to the streets of Barcelona over the weekend to protest overtourism, some armed with brightly coloured water pistols that despatched bewildered guests fleeing restaurant patios, abandoning half-eaten meals.

The protesters, who carried indicators studying “Tourists go home,” say tourism has inflated the price of residing for Barcelonians, whereas the income from guests hasn’t been pretty distributed throughout town. As journey rebounds after the tip of pandemic restrictions, the frustration in Spain displays rising backlash towards overtourism all over the world.

  • Led by the Assemblea de Barris pel Decreixement Turístic, or the Neighborhood Assembly for Tourism Degrowth, the protesters listed 13 calls for in a manifesto revealed Saturday, together with restrictions on vacationer lodging, fewer cruise terminals within the metropolis’s port and an finish to tourism commercials utilizing public cash.
  • Local authorities estimated 2,800 folks participated within the protests. Daniel Pardo Rivacoba, 48, a member of the organizing group, stated as many as 20,000 folks from 170 organizations took half within the protests.
  • Rivacoba stated the usage of water weapons was a spontaneous resolution made by particular person protesters and was not recommended by organizers. “Receiving water on your face is not nice, but it’s not violent,” he stated.
  • Responding to rising issues, Barcelona Mayor Jaume Collboni pledged Saturday to order 10,000 residential items normally utilized by vacationers for native residents and enhance taxes on vacationers, amongst different measures.

Barcelona has lengthy been a well-liked vacationer vacation spot. Last 12 months, near 26 million visited the area, in line with official figures, and Spain was the second-most-visited nation on the planet, in line with U.N. Tourism. Barcelona’s inhabitants is 1.7 million.

Along with Venice, it is the place the backlash towards overtourism started, stated T.C. Chang, a professor of geography on the National University of Singapore who researches city tourism.

“As far as I know, there has been no explicit violence. But [overtourism] was already recognized at least 2-3 years before the pandemic,” he stated in an e mail, noting that residents have additionally put up “No tourists welcome” indicators in neighborhoods. “What has happened in Barcelona will spread to more tourist-crowded places beyond Europe,” he added.

Locales in Japan, Indonesia, Greece, Italy and the Netherlands have additionally taken steps to curb influxes of holiday makers prior to now 12 months.

In Japan, one city sought to put in an enormous display at a well-liked picture spot in entrance of Mount Fuji to cease vacationers from taking selfies and inflicting visitors jams. Last 12 months, the Greek authorities imposed a brand new timed ticketing system for the traditional Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage website, together with a customer cap of 20,000 folks per day. Venice experimented with extracting further charges from vacationers, whereas Amsterdam restricted the development of latest motels.

“I think the key point here is about sustainable tourism development and sustainable management of tourist flows within a country,” stated J.J. Zhang, a tourism geographer at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

As a attainable answer, Zhang recommended figuring out the capability of standard websites and controlling visitors, corresponding to by “using technology where real-time data can be communicated to tourists such that overcrowded places could be avoided,” he stated.

But Bob McKercher, a professor in tourism on the University of Queensland in Australia, raised one other concern: The majority of vacationers worldwide are home. “So while overtourism may be a long-standing issue,” he stated, “can you really stop people from visiting their own country?”

Beatriz Ríos contributed to this report.