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Tourism provides 11% of Spain's GDP and 13% of jobs. Yet as it becomes ever more popular as a holiday destination, places like Barcelona are feeling the strain.

The occasional outbreaks of hostility toward tourists in some locations is a symptom of ill-feeling that needs to be nipped in the bud before it is too late.

In reality, such hostility is not directed toward individual tourists, so much as a rejection of mass tourism. The problem is not the number of visitors so much as large numbers in certain locations and at certain times of the year. If we allow mass tourism to impact negatively on our beaches, towns and countryside, then not only will local people turn against tourists; the industry itself will suffer. When all is said and done, it is tourists themselves who most dislike mass tourism.
https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/07/06/inenglish/1499362846_101095.html

Just wondered if anyone here had witnessed any signs of hostility? It's quite the opposite where I live, foreign tourists are welcomed with open arms but there are probably less than 500 a year.
 

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I've never seen any hositility towards tourists in the area I live in. The town itself doesn't get mass tourism, just visitors coming mainly for the Semana Santa processions and to see the historic buildings throughout the year. Our nearest seaside resort, Torre del Mar, is actively trying to promote more tourism (it has hitherto been a mainly Spanish tourist destination, no really large hotels but a lot of Spanish people who own apartments as holiday homes and come for July/August.

This weekend for the third year running there is a major music festival, Weekend Beach, going on. Last year reportedly 60,000 people attended. Although naturally it attracts mainly young people, up to now at least there hasn't been any trouble associated with it. I was down there at lunchtime today and the restaurants, etc. were really busy with festival goers (identifiable by their wristbands) so the businesses in town definitely do benefit from it, not just the organisers of the event themselves. At the end of the month for the second time there's to be an International Air Show after last year's was said to be very successful.

I do think places which are the most popular with tourists get to a sort of tipping point when they are no longer pleasant to visit, though. We don't visit Nerja in July or August because the streets are just too busy for our liking and the traffic makes the journey much longer than at other times of the year. I've visited Barcelona and although I'm glad to have seen it, I wouldn't go back because it just wasn't enjoyable in some respects, having to push through crowds of people waiting to board or getting off tourist coaches, unable to take photographs because inconsiderate people are constantly wandering straight in front of you, having to be extra vigilant about risks like pickpockets who always operate in the most crowded destinations, crowded public transport, etc. I can understand local residents who have to cope with the crowds and noise, when they have to get up and go to work in the mornings, getting frustrated.
 

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We get masses of tourists - & with the only other real industry in the town being fishing, we understand that we need them.

It's said that you could eat in a different restaurant in Jávea every night for a year & still probably miss some..... as locals we use them pretty regularly - all year tourism is what keeps them ticking over - but the main July & August season is what enables them to stay open the rest of the year.

I've not seen nor heard any true hostility towards tourists...except on one local FB group mainly used by English speakers :( They complain about everything - the difficulty parking right next to the beach (there's always room one line back...), the queues in the supermarkets, the traffic, can't get a table in the 'favourite' restaurant that they go to once a year, the price of a glass of wine in a chringuito & so on.... all blamed on the tourists!! Hardly any of the 'expats' on the group work in any industry even vaguely linked to tourism though.

We're very lucky that 10 months of the year there's never a problem parking near any of the beaches, the supermarkets never have queues & a traffic jam consists of 4 cars....... we just have to put up with 2 months when our 30,000 population increases to soemthing like 100,000.
 

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I have seen far more antagonism towards tourists in Devon and Cornwall than I have ever experienced in Spain. The local West Country inhabitants appear to love nothing more than slagging off them "Emmets" and "Grockles", despite the fact that their economy would be wrecked without them.

That said, if the culture of Brits in making bogus gastroenteritis claims against Spanish hoteliers continues unabated, then Britsh tourists will be as welcome as a bacon sandwich at a Bar Mitzvah!
 

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Never witnessed anything here, we have a very small number of Brits on holiday here but we have huge numbers of Dutch, French, Portugués Germans and Spanish
As most of our tourists come for the world heritage sites, birdwatching, nature and in my village the famosa jamón from the ibérico pig. Equally Extremadura is huge and we don't have central tourist spots, like a beach etc.

I suspect we don't attract the " Drinking Brigade" whom I suspect, can upset and have adverse effects on the local area, in turn creating hostility
 

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Isn't it dreadful how ordinary people can now enjoy pursuits and pastimes that once were the privilege of the wealthy....
Whenever I see the word 'mass' my hackles rise. The availability of cheap flights, package deals and the all-inclusive holiday have put a fortnight in the sun within the reach of people on comparatively low pay.
Good. My childhood holiday was a day trip to Swanage.

But I understand how people who live and work in cities, Barcelona in particular, feel about the downsides of large numbers of people taking over public spaces, forcing up rents as more and more apartments are turned into B&B accommodation and often making nuisances of themselves with their unrestrained and offensive behaviour. It's not only Barcelona - Dublin, Prague, Madrid, Krakow, Riga, Tallinn, Bratislava, all are experiencing the stag weekend culture and the locals who don't profit from it don't like it. When I left Prague in 2008 the beautiful city centre had become a virtual open air brothel and pub with pools of vomit and detritus of all kinds. It was rare indeed to see a Czech in Wenceslas Square on a Saturday night.
Estepona has seen an increase in tourism lately, mainly of Spanish and French families. It's a quiet town, no night life to speak of and rowdy behaviour is rare and frowned on. As the town lives from tourism this is on the whole beneficial. The Alcalde has done a great job of making the town live up to its name as the Garden of the Costa Del Sol. Unemployment has dropped significantly all year round, new shops and restaurants have opened catering for a slightly more up-market clientele ad the town looks good for everyone, resident and visitor alike.
But there is a downside to this too. Apartments and houses have risen steadily in price, rentals too and as the hospitality and leisure sector, the main employer, is not a high wage one, future generations of Esteponeros may find it difficult to find somewhere to live. Then whilst it's lovely to wander late at night through the quiet streets and squares of the Casco Antigua after a good dinner at one of the town's many fine restaurants, I'm not so sure that if I were a resident of one of these quiet streets I wouldn't be tempted to open the window and yell 'Piss off!' the third or fourth time I'm disturbed by loudly chattering guiris.
I'm not sure how you deal with this, apart from encouraging visitors to behave with consideration and respect. There's no way any town or city can cap numbers of visitors. But the authorities can clamp down on unauthorised B&Bs, can put strict conditions on or even ban holiday rentals in purely residential buildings and the police can deal with unruly antisocial behaviour with stiff fines and a night or two in the cells.
It's a fine balance. I'm only too pleased that ordinary working people can now enjoy foreign holidays once the preserve of the wealthy or that superior person, the 'traveller'. It can't be beyond the wit and power of the appropriate authorities to weigh up the interests of all parties and take an all-round view of this important commercial sector so nobody suffers any adverse effects from people enjoying a two week break from their perhaps boring jobs.
What surely we don't want is a 'Keep the proles from disturbing the peace of the quiet little village that locals and guiris want to keep as the mythical 'real Spain'.
And of course not everyone wants to spend their holidays on the beach like I did when I was younger. There are other kinds of holiday experiences that can and should be equally promoted.
 

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I have seen far more antagonism towards tourists in Devon and Cornwall than I have ever experienced in Spain. The local West Country inhabitants appear to love nothing more than slagging off them "Emmets" and "Grockles", despite the fact that their economy would be wrecked without them.

That said, if the culture of Brits in making bogus gastroenteritis claims against Spanish hoteliers continues unabated, then Britsh tourists will be as welcome as a bacon sandwich at a Bar Mitzvah!
Well I live in the westcountry resort of Weston-super-Mare and spent my childhood holidays in various locations in Devon (no foreign travel for us) and - yes we hear the terms grockles, emmets and lemmings but it's usually pretty light-hearted.

I think people here realise the benefits gained from tourism here visitors and mostly welcome them. Lots of events are arranged for them - the air day, concerts and exhibitions, funfair which residents also benefit from.

The thing people complain mostly about is the traffic. We don't try to drive far on Fridays and Sundays during the season - the M5 is a car park from Gloucester to Taunton.

Can't say I came across much antagonism towards tourists in Spain either TBH.
 

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The only problems we had was on a touring holiday after I returned from the Falklands. We were refused service in several places and had a lot of nasty looks. We left and went into France. We did not go back to Spain for a few years.
 

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The only problems we had was on a touring holiday after I returned from the Falklands. We were refused service in several places and had a lot of nasty looks. We left and went into France. We did not go back to Spain for a few years.
Interesting. Presumably this was in the early '80s. Where was this? Do you have any idea why you were treated that way? I mean, presumably you weren't wearing a teeshirt announcing you'd been fighting against Argentina?
 

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The only problems we had was on a touring holiday after I returned from the Falklands. We were refused service in several places and had a lot of nasty looks. We left and went into France. We did not go back to Spain for a few years.
Can I ask, how they knew you had returned from the Falklands to refuse you service?
 

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I wouldn't go anywhere July and August unless unavoidable. Sightseeing isn't enjoyable when too hot. No wonder the rich like private Islands and yachts:D I think overtly tourist towns are tourist friendly because many earn an income from it. Suprised that some thing holidaymakers should be quiet, do they expect them to go to bed or sit watching TV at 11pm. Not come across any negativity from locals although the owner of our favourite chiringuito hates Madrilenos and shows it. He dislikes their arrogance and the way they shout to him or click their fingers:D

Saw a photo of German youths brawling in Magaluf last week but why live there, they have been actively encouring this type for decades. Mass tourism has spoilt all the main sites all over the world be it shuffling around the Alhambra, Tower of London or the Bastille etc. The Corniche from Nice to Monte Carlo loses it's awe when bumper to bumper. I like to pop into the National gallery and is full of disinterested school groups on their iPhone or tourists sheltering from the rain. Spoils the atmosphere. Last time I was there a group of Hungarian kids were just leaving, there was about sixty of them. Although I imagine the tombs at Luxor should be fairly quiet right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Isn't it dreadful how ordinary people can now enjoy pursuits and pastimes that once were the privilege of the wealthy....
Whenever I see the word 'mass' my hackles rise. The availability of cheap flights, package deals and the all-inclusive holiday have put a fortnight in the sun within the reach of people on comparatively low pay.
"Mass" in this context refers to the quantity of tourists, not their social status. The recent big increase in Spain's visitor numbers is probably due to other areas of the world being perceived as unsafe, rather than the sudden availability of affordable package holidays, which have been around since the '60s.
 

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We take our holidays in early-mid September (after the schools have gone back and before places close down at the end of the season) and over Christmas and New Year. For the latter, it is usually quiet until the 28th when many Spaniards turn up (they stay until Reyes by which time we have been long gone home.)
 

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I wouldn't go anywhere July and August unless unavoidable. Sightseeing isn't enjoyable when too hot. No wonder the rich like private Islands and yachts:D I think overtly tourist towns are tourist friendly because many earn an income from it. Suprised that some thing holidaymakers should be quiet, do they expect them to go to bed or sit watching TV at 11pm. Not come across any negativity from locals although the owner of our favourite chiringuito hates Madrilenos and shows it. He dislikes their arrogance and the way they shout to him or click their fingers:D

Saw a photo of German youths brawling in Magaluf last week but why live there, they have been actively encouring this type for decades. Mass tourism has spoilt all the main sites all over the world be it shuffling around the Alhambra, Tower of London or the Bastille etc. The Corniche from Nice to Monte Carlo loses it's awe when bumper to bumper. I like to pop into the National gallery and is full of disinterested school groups on their iPhone or tourists sheltering from the rain. Spoils the atmosphere. Last time I was there a group of Hungarian kids were just leaving, there was about sixty of them. Although I imagine the tombs at Luxor should be fairly quiet right now.

Oh yes.... and only those superior types with at least an Upper Second from a Russell Group University should be allowed to visit places of culture like the Alhambra, National Gallery., Prado etc. When they emerge they should be examined as to what they have seen.:D:D That should put a stop to disinterested people of all ages visiting temples of high culture....
Yes, I actually do think that people should be respectful of other people's desire for peace and quiet when they wander through quaint residential areas at one or two in the morning. I know that thinking of other people's well-being is becoming a quaint old-fashioned custom these days but if you're brought up like that it's a hard habit to lose. If I want to be loud and jolly when on holiday or at home, usually because I'm alcohol-fuelled, I do so in bars or other places where either I'm not disturbing anyone or everyone else is half-pissed like me.
I think that since I've lived in Spain I'm on a permanent holiday so apart from a couple of long weekends in Portugal we haven't been away (I don't include trips to the UK which are usually taken unwillingly for business or family 'must attend' occasions). But when I was younger I used to look forward to my annual beach holiday in August in Tunisia or Spain and the presence of loads of other sun-worshippers didn't bother me. People who go to Benidorm in August don't expect to find themselves alone on the beach and I'm guessing 99% of them wouldn't want to be. Some people like being with crowds, believe it or not.
What people do and where they go on holiday depends on taste but even more on income. Benidorm and Torremolinos are cheap compared to Tuscany or the more upmarket Greek islands. Some people have no choice: if they want a holiday they go were they can afford.
But having said all that my original point stands: not all local people benefit from tourism. Some actively suffer from it. It can't be beyond the wit of the travel industry to make their product like most others these days, environmentally friendly.

You ask why people continue to live in Magaluf which indeed seems a right hell-hole of vulgar excess and depravity. Maybe the answer is that they can't afford to move?
Or they may work in the tourist industry servicing these louts?
 

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"Mass" in this context refers to the quantity of tourists, not their social status. The recent big increase in Spain's visitor numbers is probably due to other areas of the world being perceived as unsafe, rather than the sudden availability of affordable package holidays, which have been around since the '60s.
Mass tourism does indeed denote quantity and that in practice refers to large numbers of less affluent people. Even before Turkey , Egypt and Tunisia have become viewed as 'unsafe' Spain was one of the most popularlow-cost holiday destinations in Europe with particular spots such as Benidorm being the favourite.
In terms of value for money, Spain actually comes out rather well. Budget airlines offer very competitive flights and tour companies offer attractive discounts.

Spain was, is and always will be a popular destination for most working people. It's got the lot, sun, sea, night life, cheap food and drink in bars and restaurants. If holidays touring Tuscan villas or French chateaux were made as cheap as chips most people would still opt for Benidorm or Aya Napia. If I'd spent fifty weeks of the year filleting fish in Grimsby I know where I'd rather spend my two weeks break.

Barcelona and Mallorca seem to attract a more rowdy hell-raising crowd than other popular Spanish holiday destinations. Maybe someone in authority should be looking into why that should be and seeking ways to minimise nuisance from people who however undesirable their behaviour do bring money into these areas.
 

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Mass tourism does indeed denote quantity and that in practice refers to large numbers of less affluent people. Even before Turkey , Egypt and Tunisia have become viewed as 'unsafe' Spain was one of the most popularlow-cost holiday destinations in Europe with particular spots such as Benidorm being the favourite.
In terms of value for money, Spain actually comes out rather well. Budget airlines offer very competitive flights and tour companies offer attractive discounts.

Spain was, is and always will be a popular destination for most working people. It's got the lot, sun, sea, night life, cheap food and drink in bars and restaurants. If holidays touring Tuscan villas or French chateaux were made as cheap as chips most people would still opt for Benidorm or Aya Napia. If I'd spent fifty weeks of the year filleting fish in Grimsby I know where I'd rather spend my two weeks break.

Barcelona and Mallorca seem to attract a more rowdy hell-raising crowd than other popular Spanish holiday destinations. Maybe someone in authority should be looking into why that should be and seeking ways to minimise nuisance from people who however undesirable their behaviour do bring money into these areas.
As I posted - our population increases from 30,000 to 100,00 for a couple of months every summer - that's pretty 'mass'. But to come here you need to be pretty affluent - we don't attract the budget crowd at all - & if they do find us, they don't usually stay long
 

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Interesting. Presumably this was in the early '80s. Where was this? Do you have any idea why you were treated that way? I mean, presumably you weren't wearing a teeshirt announcing you'd been fighting against Argentina?
No teeshirt, and the couple who came with us included a store manager for Tesco, it just seemed to be the English accent after we won the conflict.
 

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No teeshirt, and the couple who came with us included a store manager for Tesco, it just seemed to be the English accent after we won the conflict.

So it was actually your perception that they did not serve you due to the conflict/war.
 

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I lived and worked in Benidorm during the 60s (in the tourist industry for a travel agent that specialised in selling bulk contract room nights to overseas tour operators). Even then the population increased at least 10 fold in the tourist season and the worst behaved (and least spending) tourists were far and away the Brits - but that was where the biggest slice of the market was and it was part of Franco's 20 year plan to develop tourism as Spain's major industry. Brits were not particularly appreciated, but that was more in comparison to other nationalities and tourism certainly did provide work - also at the time tourism had not impacted the cost of local residential accommodation, although it had a drastic impact on water supply. Still, tourism in Benidorm is far from the same issue as tourism in Barcelona.

I lived on Queensland's Gold Coast for 20 odd years - there the bulk of tourist are currently Australian, although there have been waves of Japanese, UAE and Chinese tourists. The economy is almost entirely reliant on tourism and development and those things do tend to go hand in hand. Whilst there are issues with tourist behaviour, especially in Surfers Paradise, and city cleanliness (which has led to very high Council rates), 'party houses' (AirBnB style short term lets) and the character of many areas of the Gold Coast has changed significantly over more recent decades, the really big issue has been, and continues to be, housing prices. Tourism and development have definitely increased employment opportunities (although pay rates are comparatively very poor in the hospitality and retail sectors), residential housing costs, both to purchase and to rent, have increased disproportionately, placing significant strains on locals, especially those in the low-paid sectors, and has also resulted in long and expensive commute times.

IMHO Barcelona experiences far more pressure from tourism than Australia's Gold Coast, but from what I have read the real issue the locals have is that tourist accommodation is pushing more and more into areas of the city that were not previously considered tourist areas, with all the consequent negative impacts, especially in terms of housing costs.
 
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