South Europe Cities Rise Against Mass Tourism

South Europe Cities Rise Against Mass Tourism
South Europe Cities Rise Against Mass Tourism

Neighborhood associations and activist groups from 14 southern European cities formed a network to join forces in their fight against mass tourism which was presented on 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", AFP reported.

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 of groups from 10 Spanish cities including Madrid, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca as well as Lisbon and Venice. It also includes Spain's Canary Islands and Malta.

  Spain at the Forefront

Last week Palma became the first Spanish city to ban holiday rentals, but protests against mass tourism have been held in several Spanish regions in recent years. Spain is the number one European destination in terms of arrivals and overnight stays.

Venice has restricted access to cruise ships due to mass congestion in the canal city, while other Italian cities like Naples and Palermo have long bemoaned the impact mass tourism has on water resources and the environment.

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% in the European Union last year, to reach 538 million, or 40% of the world's total, according to Madrid-based United Nations World Tourism Organization.

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