Published On: Sun, Jul 7th, 2024
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Barcelona chaos as tourists drenched with water pistols by protestors | World | News

Tourists were squirted with water pistols in central Barcelona as angry potesters called for visitors to “go home”.

The chaos came during a huge demonstration in the Spanish holiday hub on Satuday evening over overtourism and its impact on housing.

Some 2,800 protesters attended the march, calling for a new economic approach that would see tourist numbers in the capital of the Catalonia region dramatically reduced.

Signs reading “Tourists go home,” and “Barcelona is not for sale,” were held up as furious locals focused their ire on local tourist hotspots, GB News reports.

Diners are restaurants in the area were also sprayed with water, amid chants of, “Tourists out of our neighbourhood”.

Many locals have grown frustrated at the huge numbers that flock to the beautiful European seaside city, as the price of rent as well as groceries and essentials surges.

Over the past decade the cost of housing in Spain has rocketed by 68 per cent, as Barcelona sees a rise in tourist rentals.

Seasonal hospitality workers and local people now struggle to find afforable accommodation around tourist hot spots, and unmanageable costs have meant even homeowners are struggling.

Analysis by Eurostat, the European Union statistics agency, previously found that 44.8 per cent of Spaniards who rented their homes were at risk of poverty as property costs were higher than earnings.

According to El Pais, rent in Barcelona is more expensive than ever. In the third quarter of last year, an apartment in the city was found to cost around €1,171 per month, on average.

Prices are continuing to rise, prompting demands for action from local authorities.

Barcelona resident Isa Miralles told Reuters: “Local shops are closing to make way for stores that do not serve the needs of neighbourhoodsm,” adding: “People cannot afford their rents.”

Meanwhile, 70-year-old sociologist Jordi Guiu told the news agency: “I have nothing against tourism, but here in Barcelona we are suffering from an excess of tourism that has made our city unliveable.”

Barcelona’s mayor Jaume Collboni announced last month that there would be a total ban on short-term rentals from November 2028, so that more properties are put back on the local housing market.

It’s hoped the move will address what Collboni calls “Barcelona’s biggest problem”, namely the increasing unaffordability of housing in the city.

Spain’s Socialist housing minister, Isabel Rodriguez, said she backed approach Barcelona is taking.

“It’s about making all the necessary efforts to guarantee access to affordable housing,” she wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

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