1 Jun, 2024 @ 08:00
1 min read

OPINION: ‘Guiris’ should NOT go home… in fact most of us AGREE with the activists’ tourism and housing concerns

AS Spain enters the summer months, a wave of anti-tourism protests are popping up across the country.

Some 10,000 locals took to the streets of Palma holding up signs reading ‘guiris go home’ last weekend.

Their gripe, essentially, is that too many tourists are visiting the Balearic Islands, placing a strain on local resources and causing more traffic and other environmental problems. 

They add ‘excessive’ tourism is inspiring an ‘uncontrollable’ surge in tourist flats, which make renting or buying a home increasingly impossible. 

And there’s no doubt they are right: the property crisis is worsening. Just look at Ibiza, where lifeguards and police have been forced to live in their cars because they cannot afford rent.

Meanwhile Malaga city has the highest number of tourist rentals per capita in Spain – and fed-up locals will also now take to the streets (on June 29) in protest. 

I get it. It is entirely understandable to call for changes to the tourism model. And many expats I speak to agree.

No one wants the picturesque areas we also call home to be overrun and their environments damaged by overcrowding.

It is also incredibly frustrating for young people who cannot get on the property ladder or even afford to rent. 

The Airbnb and Booking.com craze must be addressed immediately, with limits put in place nationwide. 

Too many homes are being turned into holiday lets, creating festering resentment between locals and innocent tourists who simply want to enjoy their holidays. 

But this is a question of policy and law, which must be enacted by the ruling government.

Telling ‘guiris’ to ‘go home’ is unlikely to achieve that, and could be seen as a slap in the face to the thousands of European expats who have every right to live and work here. 

The majority of us – from young workers to business owners – all pay our taxes and have the utmost respect for Spain.

Aside from creating jobs and contributing to the economy, we mostly support the locals’ point of view on excessive tourism.

It’s time for the government to act, before things gets nasty.

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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