9 May, 2024 @ 13:16
1 min read

Outrage in Sevilla as iconic area is left with ZERO local residents after being taken over by tourist flats and hotel – as ‘anti-tourism’ backlash grows across Spain

FEARS are growing of Sevilla becoming a ghost town due to a surge of tourist apartments ‘kicking out locals’. 

It comes as it was revealed this week that an iconic area of the city is now home to zero residents. 

Plaza del Molviedro was once the lively and beating heart of Sevilla in the 16th and 17th centuries, filled with prostitutes, sailors and adventurers from the New World. 

However today, it is home to literally no one after being completely occupied by the four-star Vincci Molviedro Hotel and its adjacent Molviedro Suites Apartments. 

READ MORE: Anti-tourism protests are being planned for Mallorca

The firm’s hotel and flats take up more than 4,500sqm, to which is added a restaurant, whose terrace spreads onto the square. 

The only building to not be turned into short-term accommodation is the Chapel of Mayor Dolor, reports ABC, which houses the brotherhood of Jesus Despojado. 

It means that when there are no tourists visiting, the area, in the neighbourhood of Arenal, is left empty. 

The news has sparked fury among locals online, who branded the situation a ‘silent occupation’. 

One fumed on X: “All the locals have been kicked out!”

Another said: “Robbing a square as emblematic as Molviedro from the people is almost criminal.” 

At the end of the 2010s, some 60% of the buildings in Molviedro were abandoned. 

However one local said on X: “That square was always forgotten, lifeless, with abandoned buildings… But the solution was not to convert it into a hotel. What a mess.”

But others defended the tourism industry, saying they helped improve the look of areas.

One said: “That square was disgusting…now it is beautiful, although it is a shame that only those from the hotel can enjoy it, but now it is much prettier.”

Some 24% of apartments in the central Arenal neighbourhood have been turned into tourist flats, according to a study by the University of Malaga. 

That study was commissioned by the Junta back in 2019, meaning the current figure is likely much higher. 

It comes as ‘anti-tourism’ protests continue to be planned across Spain – after the ‘historic’ 60,000-strong demonstration on the Canary Islands last month. 

Locals say tourist apartments are soaking up all the supply, driving up rent and buying prices and forcing people to move away from city centres. 

A ‘huge’ protest is being planned for Malaga in June, where residents are growing increasingly angry over Airbnb and Booking.com flats.

Laurence Dollimore

Laurence has a BA and MA in International Relations and a Gold Standard diploma in Multi-Media journalism from News Associates in London. He has almost a decade of experience and previously worked as a senior reporter for the Mail Online in London.

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