British tourists enjoying sun and beach at Benidorm, Alicante in Spain

“Say Less, Do More”: Spain’s Shout Against Overtourism

Spain’s anti-tourism movement, initially sparked in the Canary Islands, has now made its way to Mallorca.

The movement, which surged from the Canaries through mainland cities like Malaga and Granada, is driven by local associations demanding a more sustainable tourism model.

In Mallorca, a collective of environmental, neighborhood, and trade unions, along with social groups, has formed under the banner ‘Menys Turisme, Més Vida’ (Less Tourism, More Life).

Their goal is clear: to reduce the tourist numbers that they argue exploit the island’s resources and push out local residents.

Across the Balearic Islands, residents, including those from Ibiza, are calling for a greater voice in tourism-related decisions, asserting that if tourism affects everyone, everyone should have a say.

This sentiment has culminated in the scheduling of an assembly on May 17 at the Sineu Institute, which seeks to leverage the growing discontent among locals.

Meanwhile, a significant protest against tourism is planned in Malaga on June 29, highlighting widespread frustration among residents overtourism’s impact on their quality of life.

In Granada, locals have taken to social media to voice their issues with the tourist influx, which they claim has rendered their neighborhood below the Alhambra Palace unlivable.

Interestingly, despite the visible unrest and anti-tourism protests, holiday bookings to places like Tenerife have surged, particularly among British tourists.

After protests in Tenerife, package holiday sales reported by firms like TUI and Jet2Holidays have increased by a third, indicating a counterintuitive boost in tourism interest.

This trend is mirrored by ongoing promotions from major tour operators, offering affordable family trips to Tenerife, further aggravating the local populace.

Even in Malaga, where the call for responsible tourism grows louder, the influx of tourists continues unabated, with recent protests doing little to deter holiday bookings.

The anti-tourism sentiment in Spain highlights a deep-seated issue between the economic benefits of tourism and its socioeconomic and environmental impacts on local communities.

As Spain grapples with these challenges, the local message is loud and clear: “Say less, do more” when it comes to managing and mitigating the effects of overtourism.

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