21 May, 2024 @ 12:00
2 mins read

Revealed: This city in southern Spain has the highest number of tourist flats in the country – and fed-up locals are preparing a huge protest next month

Anti mass tourism protests have swept the country since April. Demands vary, but in general, residents see a disparity between the income generated from tourism and the lack of support for locals.

NEW data from the INE (National Statistics Institute) has laid bare the shocking reality of how tourist rentals are continuing to devour the historical centres of towns across Spain.

The city most at risk to tourist flat decimation is Malaga, which had 7,038 units in February 2024, which represents a 13% increase from the same month in 2023.

Shockingly, some central areas of Malaga have over half of their housing dedicated to tourism. 

The neighbourhood of La Merced, where the Picasso Museum is located, has been utterly gutted of local residents, with 68.91% of the housing used for tourist apartments.

READ MORE: Huge anti-tourism protest is planned for Malaga: Fuming locals to ‘take to the streets’ to decry ‘property exploitation’ and ‘s**t salaries’ that have made the city ‘unliveable’

The symbol for a registered tourist apartment, which has become ubiquitous in Malaga and other cities

In the historic centre as a whole, nearly half of the flats (42.68%) are dedicated to tourists.

As well as squeezing locals out of their own cities, the phenomenon is drastically reducing the rental housing stock and contributing towards a nationwide housing crisis.

With 41,038 tourist apartments registered across Malaga province as a whole as of February 2024, it is a 16% increase in this type of housing over the past year. 

Other Costa del Sol towns are also suffering from the same trend. Marbella has 6,994 units (up 18% from the previous year), while Mijas has 4,229 (up 21%).

The situation has led to a huge protest to be planned by ‘fed-up’ locals in Malaga who say they are tired of ‘over tourism, s**t salaries and property exploitation.’

Sindicato de Inquilinas de Malaga, a tenant support organisation in the city, set the date for the ‘big demonstration’ as June 29.

READ MORE: Protests against ‘excessive’ tourism are expected to erupt across Spain tomorrow: Malaga, Madrid, Barcelona and Granada will show support to main event on the Canary Islands

They wrote on Instagram: “Malaga has become an unlivable city for those of us who live in it. IT’S OVER! WE WANT A MALAGA TO LIVE AND NOT TO SURVIVE…

“Beyond impotent nostalgia, it is essential to rebuild neighborhood networks, the relationships of care that sustain at risk people. THIS WAS A NEIGHBORHOOD BEFORE, and it will be again!”

It added: “The problem is well known: touristification and plundering of the territory, exploitation of housing, work and life. S**t salaries, s**t cohabitation and s**t rents. We are clear: IF I CAN’T PAY I WILL NOT PAY!

“We know that there are many of us who are fed up and determined to defend a friendly, livable city, THE CITY OF THE NEIGHBOURS!

The surge in tourist housing is part of a nationwide trend, with Spain as a whole experiencing a 9.2% increase in tourist apartments between February 2023 and February 2024, reaching a total of 351,389 holiday lets.

Andalucia leads the country with 82,454 tourist apartments, representing a 17.5% increase in a year and over 23% of the national total. 

The Valencian Community follows with 59,413 apartments (up 19%), while Catalunya holds third place with 52,598 (up 15%).

Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
Got a story? [email protected]

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