29 Jun, 2024 @ 12:29
2 mins read

Thousands of locals take to the streets of Malaga in latest protest against ‘excessive’ tourism in Spain

THOUSANDS of locals have taken to the streets of Malaga today to protest against the ‘excessive’ tourism model.

Demonstrators gathered in Plaza de la Merced from 11.30am, where they unfurled a banner reading ‘Malaga para vivir, no sobrevivir’ (Malaga for living, not surviving).

The swarm of locals then began their march around the Costa del Sol city, chanting slogans and demands.

Their main gripe is the surge in Airbnb-style properties which are causing a housing crisis by stripping back demand and sending prices soaring.

Malaga city now has one of the highest number of tourist apartments per capita in the country.

The lack of affordable housing is stoking anger among locals, particulalry young people, who are having to move further away from the centre.

Meanwhile, traditional businesses, bars and restaurants are rapidly being turned into tourist flats because they can make more money.

This, locals say, is stripping the city of its identity and ‘soul’, and leaves the city centre practically empty during the off season when the Airbnb and Booking.com flats are not being booked.

It comes after tourists were this week been branded a ‘plague’ by locals in southern Spain ahead of planned protests in Sevilla and Malaga.

Malaga lawyer Luis Navarrete took to X to blast how a once traditional cafe in the centre of the city is now called ‘John Scott’s’. 

He wrote: “Our central cafe is now called John Scotts and at 11am it stinks of guiris and pints of beer. 

“They have destroyed our identity, they have prostituted everything they could in our city. This deserves a change.”

Guiri is a term used to describe typically British or other northern European tourists.

Other locals responded to Navarrete’s post, with one branding ‘guiris’ a ‘plague’. 

Jesus Toboada wrote: “The centre of Granada reeks of bars with menus in English. 

“Instead of traditional bars with tapas and bocadillos, burger joints, sushi restaurants and shops selling turron in the middle of summer are proliferating.

“The guiris are spitting on the locals in their own city.”

Luka Trinidad, from Cadiz, wrote on X that his city ‘is also suffering this plague.’ 

Earlier this week, hundreds of locals gathered in Sevilla to protest against the ‘excesses’ of tourism. 

The Sevilla se Muere (Sevilla is dying) association unfurled banners in Plaza de Salvador on Wednesday before listing their demands for the City Council. 

The group is calling for a ban on new tourist flat licences, which they claim are forcing locals out of the city centre due to plummeting housing stock and soaring rental costs.

READ MORE: British tourists are branded a ‘plague’ in southern Spain

Supporters of the group were seen wearing t-shirts reading ‘no to mass tourism’, before a speaker was seen clashing with a nearby bar owner who wanted the demonstrators to move on. 

The group said the current tourism model is creating an ‘uncontrolled multiplication of tourist accommodation’ which brings an ‘exorbitant increase in the cost of housing, the deterioration of the historical heritage and, ultimately, the degradation of the city and its transformation into a theme park without soul or true life.’ 

The number of Airbnb-style properties in Sevilla has increased by at least 32% over the past year.

Sevilla se Muere defines itself as an apolitical citizen initiative that fights for a livable city.

They are one of many similar groups that are popping up across the country. 

Most recently, these include Cadiz Resiste, in Cadiz, and Albayzin Habitable in Granada. 

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.

GOT A STORY? Contact newsdesk@theolivepress.es or call +34 951 273 575 Twitter: @olivepress

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