16 May, 2024 @ 15:33
1 min read

British expats become targets of anti-tourism movement in Spain: Outrage as locals call for a ‘list of foreign residents’

The group's spokesperson described foreign residents as 'alien'

EXPATS have expressed outrage after locals in a popular Catalan city demanded that the town hall ‘create a list of foreign residents’ to counter an ‘overflow of tourism’.

Residents in Girona, a medieval walled city 100 km northeast of Barcelona, have formed the ‘Platform for the reduction of tourists in Girona’, an activist group calling for a number of measures to be introduced to reduce levels of tourist activity in the area.

The group, speaking at a press conference on Thursday, called on local authorities to implement urgent measures to dissuade tourism, saying that mass tourism was a ‘death sentence for neighbourhoods’ and that Girona had ‘reached its limit’.

They proposed that the local council increases the number of patrols that search for illegal tourist apartments.

The group also suggested that Girona’s authorities create a list of all foreign residents living within the city, provoking outrage from expats on social media.

READ MORE: Sevilla locals blast ‘toxic tourist invasion’ that is ‘destroying’ the city due to ‘impossible prices’ and ‘jammed streets’ – as they demand the number of Airbnb homes to be reduced

Spain committing 'harakiri' over UK tourism says national hotel association as mass cancellations force lower prices
Locals in Spain have grown increasingly agitated over mass tourism. Credit: Cordon Press

One user on X, the social media network, labelled the suggestions as sounding ‘a bit fascist to me’, whilst another user said they would ‘scratch Girona from my list of places to visit’ because ‘“show me your papers” is not my idea of a good time’.

A spokesperson for the platform, Jordi Mateu, said that the ‘en masse’ arrival of foreign residents represents a problem because expats are ‘alien’ to the neighbourhoods they live in. 

The group added: “Tourism erodes resources and territory, exacerbating the climate crisis and destroying local cultures, faced above all with contempt for language”. 

Girona is the latest tourist hotspot in Spain to be struck by a wave of anti-tourism sentiment from locals.

Protests have taken place in Barcelona, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and Malaga, as locals grow frustrated over housing being prioritised for tourist apartments rather than local dwellings, for example through the short-term rental website Airbnb. 

The announcement of the group’s manifesto coincides with the Temps de Flors, a popular flower festival celebrated in Girona between May 11 and May 19. 

In 2021, over 200,000 visitors attended the event.

Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to [email protected]

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