Prime Minister warns tourisms attacks in Spain are hitting country’s image
Activists fighting against mass tourism in Spain say the Government should seize the country’s big theme parks, hotels and marinas so that everyone can benefit from their success.
The campaign group Arran has already admitted responsibility for an attack on a tourist bus in Barcelona and the storming of a sea-front restaurant in Mallorca when confetti was thrown at diners and pink flares let off near luxury boats.
The group has also been involved in slashing tourist bikes in Barcelona, putting super-glue in the locks of holiday companies and slapping 1,000 campaign stickers on rental cars.
Arran says the incidents were all justified because it has served to turn the spotlight on the mass tourism issues facing Spain and the “detrimental” effect it is having on the lives of local people who can’t afford rentals themselves and are having to put up with the nuisance of overcrowding.
The situation has come to the notice of people in the Canary Islands who are wondering if there might be protests here but it is thought this will not be the case.
Generally speaking, although the Canaries are very popular, it is not considered to be over-crowded or suffering from the effects of mass tourism and the au-thorities seem to have growth and development under control.
Arran has drafted its demands to the Spanish Government, saying they are NOT against tourists in Spain but mass tourism which is a different thing.
Their ideas come as one of the campaign leaders involved in the Mallorca restaurant attack fines a hefty fine for not having permission to demonstrate and letting off fireorks without the right licence.
In a list of demands, the group says the Spanish Government should “expropriate the main tourist companies and assets of the country, such as the various marinas, hotels such as Vela or Las Arenas, or themed parks such as Port Aventura, thus bringing the economic benefits that they generate at the service of the whole population.”
Port Aventura is an entertainment resort in Salou on the Costa Daurada and is visited by millions of people every year.
They claim the tourist model being followed by Spain is at the heart of the problems and that there has to be a major debate about the way forward.
“The problem is not tourism but the current tourist model. A tourist model that responds to a capitalist model that is concentrating benefits in very few hands,” they say.
Arran’s own blueprint includes freezing all future licences for tourism products, companies or hotels until the way forward is decided and improve labour conditions, as well as increasing salaries. They say workers should be given the right to be involved in running tourism businesses.
Arran wants an immediate embargo on any company involved in the rental of tourist flats and regulation of the price of homes.
Far from being repentant at the tourism attacks, Arran Paisos Catalans says every person should be encouraged to join their fight to “build a tourist model that is compatible with a dignified life.”
The Balearic Government says the leader of the Palma restaurant protest will be fined 1,200 euros but Arran says it does not intend to “budge one millimetre” in its quest.
The alleged leader of the demonstration will be given 50 per cent discount if he pays up within 15 days.
Delegate of the Government in the Balearic Islands, María Salom said: “A number of irresponsible people cannot damage our image and disturb tourists who visit us. One thing is freedom of expression, but one’s freedom ends when the freedom of the other begins. From the Government of Spain and this Delegation we will be strongly against the people who disturb our tourists and stage these demonstrations against our main economic activity, both in the Balearics and in the rest of Spain.”
Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has con-demned the attacks, saying: “Tourism is a source of wealth, employment and prosperity and to attack it makes no sense and is foolish.”
In just the first half of the year, spending by tourists in Spain exceeded 37 billion euros.
Mr. Rajoy added: “”These attacks harm the image of Spain, lead to fewer jobs and less wealth and offers no sensible alternative. Only highly radicalised individuals that are more at home creating bad news, poverty and isolation can want this.”
He called on “people with common sense and good reason”, who want to see legal certainty and well-being, to take “a step forward” against those “extremists and radicals” that oppose tourism.