Spain Tourism Backlash

Pain in Spain: Are Tourists Still Welcome? - BBC

Excerpt from BBC

As anti-tourism protests hit Barcelona, can visitors happily coexist with local residents?

After a wave of anti-tourism protests, the Spanish city of Barcelona plans a crackdown on illegal holiday rentals.

The move comes after signs popped up in the city telling tourists that local rents are now unaffordable because of demand for holiday accommodation.

People have to be licensed before they can let out their properties for short stays, but there are still an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 illegal holiday flats.

Anti-tourist feelings are running high and some have had eggs thrown at them.

Such campaigns are now being seen elsewhere in Spain, the world's third-biggest holiday destination, including the Basque city of San Sebastian, where an anti-tourism march was being held on Thursday.

The tourism industry is concerned at the potential global effect.

"Tourism is of immense economic benefit to European destinations and has become even more important in recent years," says a spokesperson for Abta, the UK travel agents' association.

"Most people appreciate these benefits and accept that at certain times of year, they will have to share their cities with significant numbers of tourists from around the world."

'Manage numbers'

Abta, perhaps unsurprisingly, blames the problem on the rise of online services such as Airbnb, which threaten its members' traditional business model while promoting a huge expansion in illegal tourist accommodation in cities such as Barcelona.

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