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Barcelona rallies against overtourism as thousands take to streets

Under the slogan “Enough! Let’s put restrictions on tourism,” about 2,800 people demonstrated, demanding a change in the city’s economic model.

  • Barcelona, considered Spain’s top tourist destination, faced criticism for overtourism, making the city unlivable, as explained by Jordi Guillou, a 70-year-old sociologist from Barcelona.

  • Critics of overtourism highlight its impact on housing prices — rents have risen by 68% over the past decade — and its negative effects on local businesses, the environment, and the working conditions of local employees.

  • Barcelona hosted 12 million tourists last year and plans to end tourist apartment rentals by 2029. Overtourism protests are growing across Spain, which welcomed a record 85.1 million foreign visitors.

Thousands took to the streets of Barcelona on Saturday to protest against overtourism in the Catalan capital. Barcelona, which attracts thousands of visitors annually, has seen increasing resentment in Spain, the world’s second most popular tourist destination, according to Al Jarida newspaper.

Under the slogan “Enough! Let’s put restrictions on tourism,” about 2,800 people demonstrated, according to the police, demanding a change in the city’s economic model. Barcelona, considered the country’s top tourist destination, faced criticism for overtourism, making the city unlivable, as explained by Jordi Guillou, a 70-year-old sociologist from Barcelona.

Marching behind a banner that read “Reduce tourism now,” protesters chanted slogans such as “Tourists out of our neighborhoods” and staged demonstrations in front of hotels, surprising visitors.

Critics of overtourism particularly highlight its impact on housing prices — rents have risen by 68% over the past decade, according to the Barcelona City Council — and its negative effects on local businesses, the environment, and the working conditions of local employees.

“Shops… are closing to make way for a business model that doesn’t meet the neighborhood’s needs,” said Isa Miralles, a 35-year-old musician residing in the Barceloneta neighborhood. “People can’t afford rent and are being forced to leave.”

According to the city council, Barcelona welcomed over 12 million tourists last year. To address housing issues, the council aims to eliminate tourist apartment rentals by 2029.

Movements against overtourism are growing across Spain, from the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands to major cities like Malaga in Andalusia.

Spain, the world’s second most popular tourist destination after France, hosted a record 85.1 million foreign visitors last year.

Catalonia was the most visited region with 18 million visitors, followed by the Balearic Islands (14.4 million) and the Canary Islands (13.9 million). Tourism in Spain contributes 12.8% to GDP and supports 12.6% of jobs.





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