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Thousands protest in Spain's most visited city against over-tourism

A couple pose for a picture in front of Sagrada Familia Basilica designed by architect Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, July 9, 2021
A couple pose for a picture in front of Sagrada Familia Basilica designed by architect Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, July 9, 2021 Copyright Joan Mateu/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Joan Mateu/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews
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More than 150 organisations and social movements took to the streets of Barcelona with some symbolically sealing off hotels and restaurant terraces.

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The demonstrations against tourist overcrowding that have already taken place in recent months in the Canary Islands and Mallorca have now reached Barcelona.

Around 3,000 people took to the streets of Barcelona on Saturday evening to protest against mass tourism in the city, according to local authorities.

More than 150 collectives, organisations and social movements took to the streets this weekend. The protesters shouted "tourists, go home" and symbolically sealed off hotels and restaurant terraces.

They are calling for actions to curb tourism before a summer season projected to set new records in both the Catalan capital and the broader region of Catalonia.

Martí Cusó, spokesperson for the Association of Neighbours of the Gothic Quarter and an activist against tourist overcrowding said: "We want the city's economic model to prioritise other much fairer economies. And for that we consider that we have to decrease tourism."

Barcelona is Spain’s most visited city and continues to struggle with over-tourism.The city sees an average of 32 million visitors a year, many of whom arrive on cruise ships.

In response, the city council has recently voted in favour of raising the tax up to €4 per person from October.

"What worries me is what tourism and speculation entail, the speculation they are doing with the housing of the Spaniards. Spaniards have the right to decent housing," explained a local resident.

No more tourist apartments

Barcelona city council recently announced a radical plan to rid the city of its roughly 10,000 tourist flat licences over the next five years.

The measure seeks to address the growing national housing crisis, which is particularly acute in tourist cities such as Barcelona. It will prioritise residential over tourist use in one of Europe's most visited cities.

The plan reflects a global trend of cities beginning to combat the effects of mass tourism on local life.

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