Anti-tourism protests: water guns and demands

An anti tourism movement has spread across Spain. Credit: Shawn Porgoul/fb

Thousands of protestors flooded the streets of Barcelona on Saturday, expressing their mounting anger towards the perceived stranglehold of tourism on their city.

The crowd, estimated at 2,800 by police, marched along the waterfront district under the rallying cry “Enough! Let’s put limits on tourism!”

Waving placards emblazoned with slogans like “Barcelona is not for sale” and “Tourists go home,” the protestors targeted popular tourist areas. Some even resorted to using water guns on unsuspecting holidaymakers enjoying meals outdoors. Chants of “Tourists out of our neighbourhood” echoed through the streets as protestors stopped in front of hotels.

Housing prices have surged in the city

The high cost of living is a major sticking point for Barcelona residents.  Housing prices have surged by 68 per cent over the past decade, with rents in tourist hotspots like Barcelona and Madrid rising by a staggering 18 per cent year-on-year in June, according to Idealista. Residents believe the influx of tourists is a key driver behind these skyrocketing costs, fundamentally altering the city’s economic landscape.

The city is taking steps to address resident concerns. There is a plan in June to phase out all short-term rentals by 2028. This drastic move aims to curb housing costs and ensure Barcelona remains a liveable city for its residents. The city council also recently announced a ban on tourist apartment rentals – currently exceeding 10,000 – with the goal of returning these properties to the local housing market.

Over 85 million tourists visited Spain in 2023

These protests are not isolated events. Similar demonstrations have erupted in other Spanish tourist hotspots like Palma de Mallorca and the Canary Islands. Spain, the second most visited country in Europe after France, saw a staggering 18.7 per cent increase in foreign visitors in 2023, with over 85 million tourists flocking to the country. Catalonia, Barcelona’s region, was the most visited with 18 million tourists, followed by the Balearic and Canary Islands.

Protesters took to the streets of Palma de Mallorca
Credit: Shawn Porgol/fb

Local frustrations are reaching a boiling point. Protest groups, like ‘Friends of Nature of Tenerife (ATAN),’ are planning further demonstrations, vowing to target “main holidaymaker areas” this summer. They maintain that their pleas for change have been ignored and urge residents to keep fighting against a tourism model they believe is detrimental to their way of life.

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Written by

Trelawney Bresic

Trelawney is a journalist and screenwriter. She began her career at the Euro Weekly News twenty years ago and is passionate about honest and compelling journalism. If you have a news story, don't hestitate to get in touch at


    • Philip

      08 July 2024 • 11:21

      And I don’t suppose these protesters go on holiday either. Standard level of modern hypocrisy.

    • Jessica

      08 July 2024 • 13:24

      Great. See how the country looks financially if the tourists don´t bother coming anymore. Spain is hardly a powerhouse of industry is it?

    • Anna

      08 July 2024 • 21:16

      Go elsewhere then see how much they cry when all the hotel’s, shops,bars,restaurants etc close and they have no employment.
      The housing and rent problems are not due to the tourists, it’s down to their government !!

    • Valerie Thompson

      09 July 2024 • 23:56

      If they can’t afford housing, how can they go on holiday?

    Comments are closed.