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2022-06-13 15:22:39

Why is Barcelona rebelling against foreign tourists?

Why is Barcelona rebelling against foreign tourists?

Every year, about 32 million tourists from all over the world come to the incredibly beautiful city of Spain . This is one of the most visited cities in Europe. However, such a huge interest in the architecture of Barcelona becomes a destructive aspect in the life of the indigenous people. The bastion of Catalonia's cultural heritage ceases to be a place of good life, and Barcelonans begin to openly stand up against tourist groups. What is happening in the cultural Spanish city today, and why are the crowds of tourists ruining the quiet life of the locals?

Rallies against tourists

In 2016-2017, a wave of protests of local residents broke out in Barcelona. Protesters demanded that foreign guests leave their hometown. There were even cases of young people attacking tourist buses - one of these occurred at the height of the tourist season. A double-decker excursion bus, which carried tourists around the city, was stopped in the area of the Camp Nou stadium. To the sound of the audio guide, four people burst inside, hiding behind hoods and, threatening the driver with a knife, began to shout at the whole cabin: "You are not welcome here! Go home!" (You are not welcome! Go home!). Those who broke in did not plan to injure anyone, but only frightened them. After that, on the windshield of the bus, the attackers left the phrase "Tourism kills areas!", Punctured the tires and fled in an unknown direction.

Later it turned out that this was a planned action, which was supported by representatives of the political organization Arran. Arran is a division of the ultra-left Catalan political party Candidatura dʼUnitat Popular (CUP). Basically, this organization includes the youth of Catalonia.

After the bus incident, Arran representatives continued their policy of vandalism against tourists. Young people punctured the tires of rental bicycles and buses, and in Mallorca, smoke bombs threw yachts that were moored in a local marina.

Causes of hatred

In fact, the local population has many reasons for such hostility. Initially, you should plunge into the history of Barcelona and its rhythm of life before the opening of the city to tourists. The city in its entire history has not been a giant metropolis: Barcelona is a collection of several small villages, where everyone knows each other and lives with neighbors in their usual comfortable rhythm.

The locals have lived almost all their lives in a quiet cozy city, where there is no novelty, but the usual process of life. In the morning, drink aromatic coffee in a nearby bar. Buy fresh bread from the baker who lives opposite. Locals know all their neighbors who have what dog. And the usual breakfast is the same sandwich with jamon. And the employee of a popular pub in the area knows, what, how much and to whom to pour, without specification.

With the arrival of tourists to Barcelona, most of the pubs and cafes familiar to the local population had to be closed - in their place came more popular restaurants that filled the niche as much as possible.

In addition to the unusual catering, local residents began to complain about crowds of people. Due to the architecture of the city, suggesting narrow streets, local residents can not simply leave their house! Inma Perez, a resident of the Gothic Quarter, shared with a reporter about this problem in her interview. She shared that she literally has to break through the crowd of tourists and listen to not the most pleasant words in her address, even from local guides. A woman runs a small Mementos store in Barcelona, where antique trifles and trinkets are sold. Due to the tourist influx on the streets of the city, Inma is already seriously planning to close its store and leave its native place.

On the other hand, we can assume: if you are not satisfied with the current situation in Barcelona, then why not move to another district or even a city? Here again, we need to turn to history. The indigenous people of Barcelona and those who have been living in the city for many years cannot morally cope with the move. After all, as we have already said, a comfortable life for The Catalans is to be familiar with all their neighbors. Here you will have to leave your comfort zone and go to an unknown place for yourself. Therefore, the indigenous people have to endure the rude attitude towards themselves from tourists.

Despite the architectural appeal of Barcelona, as well as maintaining the buildings in good condition due to tourist fees, the streets of the city are drowning in mud. All this is connected with tourist groups and individual groups of tourists. Local residents have repeatedly complained about the drunken antics of foreign guests, broken bottles and even coping with the need right under the windows of houses. Owners of four-legged pets are also concerned about this situation: cases of contacting veterinary clinics with cuts in the paws of dogs and stuck shards of glass have become more frequent.

A big problem from the tourist influx is real estate prices. Spaniards are not as concerned about the country's unemployment rate as foreign visitors in the neighborhood. The fact is that the most sophisticated residents of the cities at the very beginning bought several apartments in Barcelona and Mallorca, later these same apartments were either rented or sold for a lot of money to tourists. In connection with such a stir in the field of real estate, housing prices have become unbearable for the local population. After all, despite the fact that Catalonia is the most profitable area of Spain in terms of GDP and brings the country about 20% of income, ahead of Madrid, the wages of local residents do not increase.

The people of Barcelona don't like the rising prices, vandalism and crowds in the first place. Tourists themselves agree with them, most of whom note these problems of the city. But despite a number of problems, most tourists return to Barcelona again and again. As the architect Itsiar Gonzalez noted: "Barcelona is truly the best city to live in Europe. And our guests are also well aware of this."

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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