Tourists in Barcelona sprayed with water as overtourism protest escalates

Tourists in Barcelona sprayed with water as overtourism protest escalates

Thousands of Barcelona residents squirted diners in tourist areas with water during a protest against mass tourism on Saturday.

The Spanish locals chanted “tourists go home” with placards that read “Enough! Let’s put limits on tourism” in the demonstration against overtourism.

Video footage shows holidaymakers dining outside popular squares in the city being doused with water pistols and cordoned off using hazard tape by a crowd of almost 3,000.

Al fresco diners outside Taco Bell and Bivio Steak House were seen running for cover as marchers sprayed water at tables.

Protestors are demanding a new economic model in the city to reduce the annual footfall of tourists and address the high cost of living.

A crowd of almost 3,000 rallied against an influx of tourists in Barcelona (REUTERS)

In the last 10 years, rent in the Spanish holiday destination rose 68 per cent and the cost of buying a house rose 38 per cent.

Barcelona’s mayor, Jaume Collboni, recently vowed to ban tourists from renting holiday apartments by 2028.

The city, Spain’s most visited by foreign tourists, seeks to introduce measures to rein in soaring housing costs and make the city more liveable for residents.

According to Collboni, Barcelona will scrap the licences of the 10,101 apartments currently approved as short-term rentals by November 2028.

“We are confronting what we believe is Barcelona’s largest problem,” the mayor said at a city government event.

The mayor of Barcelona has branded short-term rentals part of the city’s ‘largest problem’ (AFP via Getty Images)

The demonstration comes amid several displays of anti-tourism across Spain.

In Malaga at the end of June, 15,000 protesters marched against soaring rent prices under the slogan “Malaga for living, not surviving”.

Activists from the Malaga Tenants Union called the Costa del Sol city a “theme park for tourists” as life for locals becomes less affordable and “authentic”.

Since April, locals in Mallorca have said that marches against overtourism will continue until the Balearic government introduces measures to counter the housing emergency on the island.

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