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Mass tourist protests sweep the Balearic Islands, Barcelona and Ibiza

Over the weekend, thousands of residents of the Balearic Islands, including Menorca and Mallorca, took to the streets to protest against the negative impacts of mass tourism and overcrowding. Although tourism contributes to about 45% of the islands' GDP, locals argue that the influx of vacation rentals is driving up property prices, making them unaffordable.

Carme Reines, representative of a group that organized the protest in Palma de Mallorca, expressed the need for the authorities to restrict the purchase of properties to those who have lived on the island for more than five years. He also called for greater regulation of holiday accommodation. Similarly, Javier Carbonell, real estate agent in Mallorca, expressed the need to move from mass tourism to more sustainable tourism practices.

The protests were not limited to Mallorca and Menorca. At the same time, an anti-tourism march took place in Barcelona, ​​and a day before, around 1,000 people demonstrated in Ibiza. The Balearic Group of Ornithology and Nature Protection of Menorca (GOB Menorca) has also expressed its concern about the “massification of tourism”, the problems of accessibility to housing, water management and the need of economic diversification on the island.

Rafael Giménez, spokesman for Prou ​​Ibiza, which organized the Ibiza protest, has echoed similar sentiments, calling for a limit on new tourist sites and a crackdown on illegal flats, which he believes contribute to the increase in real estate prices.

These protests follow a series of similar demonstrations on Spanish islands, including the Canary Islands, where residents protested against mass tourism in April. The islands' president acknowledged the need for more controls, saying unchecked growth could mean hotels continue to open without regulation.


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