Southern Europe activists join forces against mass tourism

A banner reading "No tourist flats" hangs from a balcony to protest against holiday rental apartments for tourists in Barcelona's neighborhood of Barceloneta
AFP

Barcelona (AFP) – Neighbourhood associations and activist groups from 14 southern European cities formed a network to join forces in their fight against mass tourism which was presented Thursday in Barcelona.

The “SET network” of cities of southern Europe against tourism plans to stage joint protest actions to pressure governments to “establish limits to the tourist industry” and even promote its “decrease”.

The network’s first action was to release a manifesto denouncing how mass tourism causes rents to soar, local shops to disappear, creates low wage jobs and generates pollution.

For the moment the network is made up groups from ten Spanish cities including Madrid, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca as well as Lisbon and Venice. It also includes Spain’s Canary Islands and Malta.

The creation comes as cities across Europe have stepped up their efforts to crack down on home-sharing sites such as Airbnb as concern mounts over the side effects of their increasing popularity amid fears of a housing shortage for local residents.

International tourist arrivals grew by 8.0 percent in the European Union last year, to reach 538 million, or 40 percent of the world’s total, according to Madrid-based United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

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