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Pressure groups from 14 holiday hotspots demand action against mass tourism 

Protestors in 14 European holiday hotspots, including Venice, Malaga, the Canaries, Palma de Mallorca and Pamplona, have joined forces to fight mass tourism.

Barcelona, Lisbon, Valencia and Seville are also on the list of venues represented in the new”Network of Southern European Cities in response to the Massification of Tourism” (SET).

Protest groups say the 14 locations share the same problems created by what they regard as tourism saturation which is making life “very difficult” for local residents.

SET says property owners prefer to let their flats or villas out to tourists because they can get a higher price which in turn pushes locals out of the housing market. The beaches, public spaces and squares are over-crowded and public transport cannot cope with the masses.

They also claim there is high pollution from planes, cruise liners and coaches and rubbish is growing out of all proportion.

“The tourist sectors of the hospitality and catering trade have the worst working conditions: low salaries, fraud in the number of hours declared in the contracts – when there are any – and outsourcing,” a spokesman for the new group added.

Objections are also being lodged against the “over-use” of buildings and excessive infrastructures which “disfigure” the landscape.

SET says tourist locations such as Venice, Palma and Barcelona are so far down the line of massification that the problems created are already very serious. However, the group considers there is still hope for other venues like Valencia, Madrid and Lisbon that “despite being immersed in rapid and violent processes of tourism, can still aspire to achieve balance through policies of prevention and braking.”

The associations are aiming to “raise public awareness” and “press the administrations to achieve a regulation of the tourism economy based on criteria of economic, social and environmental sustai-nability”.

They want limits in the tourism industry and new financial policies to control housing and holiday acco-mmodation.

A major two-day event is being planned for May 18th and 19th under the banner of “Stop the exploitation of our cities.” Individual associa-tions are also planning protest marches this summer.

In its manifesto, SET says: “We want to extend this fight to other cities and territories, generating a plural and po-werful voice that is critical to the current tourism model from Southern Europe.”

Many of the venues involved in the new group have already seen mass tourism demon-strations, including attacks on holiday coaches, hotels being stormed, “go home” graffiti and “anti tourist” posters.