Protesters spray water guns at tourists in Barcelona as thousands rally against overtourism

Protesters against overtourism in Barcelona on July 6, 2024.

More than 150 activist groups gathered in Barcelona on Saturday to protest overtourism.Footage showed protesters squirting water guns at tourists and telling them to “go home.”Barcelona is combating overtourism, which locals blame for the increased cost of living.

Protesters swarmed the streets of Barcelona to condemn mass tourism, which they blame for skyrocketing rent prices and the city becoming “unliveable.”

Multiple outlets reported that thousands of protesters, including more than 150 organizations, marched through Barcelona on Saturday.

Photos showed protesters carrying signs that read, “Barcelona is not for sale” and “Tourists go home.”

Protesters in Barcelona used water guns on tourists.

Footage obtained by BBC showed protesters using water guns against people visiting popular tourist areas while chanting, “Go home!”

Protesters also taped off certain restaurants and hotels as if to symbolically close the establishments.

Barcelona is a top tourist destination that draws millions of travelers annually with its Mediterranean climate and distinct culture. The Barcelona Tourism Observatory said the city welcomed 15.6 million tourists and the region nearly 26 million in 2023.

While the influx of travelers brings money to Barcelona’s economy, it can also have adverse affects like increasing the local cost of living.

Protesters taped off restaurants and hotels in Barcelona on Saturday.

Diners at a restaurant in Barcelona during Saturday’s protest.

According to Reuters, rent in Barcelona and other popular cities like Madrid rose by 18% in June compared to the previous year.

One protester told Reuters that “the city has turned completely for tourists and what we want is a city for citizens and not in service of tourists” in recent years.

Another said tourist-heavy venues like restaurants and hotels make good money from tourists, but some locals “are in a very poor situation and they don’t have enough money to live. That’s a problem.”

A resident told AFP that the city is suffering as a result.

“I have nothing against tourism, but here in Barcelona, we are suffering from an excess of tourism that has made our city unliveable,” they said.

Barcelona residents held signs and waved flags during the protest.

Representatives for the Mayor of Barcelona, the city’s police department, and the tourism office did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Barcelona officials have taken measures in recent months to address overtourism. It’s an issue that several popular tourist hubs are tackling, including Japan and Venice.

The city increased its tourist tax in April, according to USA Today.

According to Bloomberg, they later announced plans to ban all short-term rentals in June.

“More supply of housing is needed, and the measures we’re presenting today are to provide more supply so that the working middle class does not have to leave the city because they can’t afford housing,” Barcelona Mayor Jaume Collboni said. “This measure will not change the situation from one day to the next. These problems take time. But with this measure we are marking a turning point.”

Barcelona banned cruise ships from docking at one of its terminals in 2023 to address overcrowding and pollution.

Read the original article on Business Insider

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours