Barcelona’s locals are saying they can’t take it any longer.
Their outrage of the behaviour of many tourists, that visit the city during the summer months, has left many Spanish with a bad taste in their mouths.
A trio of naked Italian tourists roaming around the city for hours was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Photos of the naked men frolicking around La Barceloneta were circulated on social media last week. The sight angered locals so much that a hundred or so took to the streets spontaneously, demanding authorities do more to combat the increase in “drunken tourism”.
“Here tourists do whatever they want,” a local photographer, who snapped photos of the Italian tourists, told local reporters.
According to him they wandered his neighbourhood close to three hours in the nude – even popping into a local shop – horrifying locals who looked on in shock.
It was the latest in a spat of incidents that have added to an ongoing conversation in Barcelona about the type of tourists inundating their city.
In recent years, the number of tourists visiting has jumped drastically from 1.7 million in 1990 to more than 7.4 million in 2012.
For those who live there and want to go about their lives in a city where tourists often far outnumber the 1.6 million residents, complaints about noise, nudity, public drunkenness and littering have rocketed.
“Imagine that you’re in a tiny house, with three children, unemployed with no money for vacations and you have to put up with the screams and fiesta of tourists next door. It’s unbearable,” exclaimed one resident.
Unfortunately for locals, municipal authorities have been slow to address the situation, according to occupants of the La Barcelonetta neighbourhood:
“We’re tired of low-cost, drunken tourism. It’s killing our neighbourhood and dissuading other types of tourists. It’s Magaluf all over again.”
The protestors who took to the streets soon set their sights on local owners of the tourists lets, confronting them and urging them to close down their establishments for the good of the neighbourhood and its residents.
Mercè Homs, a city councillor, reportedly sought to ‘calm the situation’. she told reporters the municipality will adopt a policy of “zero tolerance” on antisocial behaviour, assuring angered locals that city officials would throw their support behind the residents and deal with the situation. Homs also noted the increased police presence in the neighbourhood of late, adding: “We’re working to ensure that tourist rentals don’t generate noise problems or bother neighbours.”
What do you think? Should tourists like this be dealt with harshly by authorities, or is it all just good fun? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.