All EOS blogs All Spain blogs  Start your own blog Start your own blog 

The Spanish Fly - Travels in Spain

The Spanish Fly is a nom de plume of Paul Whitelock who first visited Spain at the age of 20. Now more than 50 years later, he has been to most parts of the country, including nine of the 12 islands. He has owned property in Andalucia since 2001 and has lived in the region for the last 15 years. This blog is a Travelogue about some of the places he has visited.

What is going on with tourism?
Wednesday, June 19, 2024 @ 6:01 AM

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

What is The Spanish Fly talking about?


Large parts of Spain depend on tourism. The costas of the Mediterranean, the Costa de la Luz from Tarifa to Cádiz, Galicia, La Costa Cantábrica and el País Vasco. Away from the beaches there is rural tourism in areas of natural beauty such as inland Andalucía, Aragón, Castilla-León, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura.

And what about city tourism?

That’s where the main problem lies.




Anti-tourism demos

The local inhabitants of several big cities have turned against tourists. From Barcelona to Valencia, from Málaga to Cádiz. Why?

Because local workers feel they have been priced out of the rental market. The availability/supply of rental properties has shrunk since Airbnb and other rental companies came on the scene.

Property owners can make much more from tourists than from a long-term rental contract.

Barcelona has already outlawed Airbnb and other cities are thinking of doing the same.


The Spanish Islands

The anti-tourism wave on the Spanish Islands, ie the Balearics and the Canary Islands, is somewhat different.

Fed up with horrendous drunkenness, sh**ging on the streets and generally despicable behaviour, resorts like Palma Nova in Mallorca are trying to clean up their act.

The situation is similar in the more downmarket resorts of Tenerife in the Canaries. The locals have simply had enough of the debauchery.



It has now got to the point where there are frequent demos against tourists, with hostile banners much in evidence.

At one airport, there were reports of activists trying to discourage northern Europeans from flying to Spain.

“Go to Greece, or Croatia,” they say.


What I think

Spain’s biggest money-earner is tourism. Hardly surprising, the second largest country in Europe is amazing.

From Andalucía, the white villages and the beaches; to Galicia and its “rias” (fjords); the Basque Country, with its spectacular scenery and its fabulous cuisine; to Aragón; Huesca; Cataluña; Madrid; País Valenciano; Extremadura; and the Costa de la Luz.

Spain is a country which offers incredible variety. “España es diferente” was the tourism slogan for decades.


So, what to do?

Clearly the tawdry resorts on the islands need to be cleaned up and the drunken riff-raff from the UK (by far the worst culprits), Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, et al discouraged from coming.

But what about the cities on the mainland?

Without tourists and the million or so retired northern Europeans, many places would simply die.

Take Málaga, for example. Since its make-over of the last dozen years, the city is full of foreigners, both residents and tourists.

For these, mainly northern Europeans, Spain is much cheaper than their countries of origin, so they are out and about all day long. They love the tapas, the bars and restaurants, the menús del día and the "life-on-the-streets" ambience.  

If the powers-that-be “banned” foreigners, many of these establishments would be forced to close.

The Spanish in Málaga can’t afford to patronise bars and restaurants morning, noon and night. They have to work for a living.

If the foreigners, guiris, do not come, many places will be forced to close. Then where would we stand?

Javier Recíargued this very point in a telling article entitled ¿Que sería del centro de Málaga sin los guiris?  which was published in Diario Sur on 9 June.

His view is that Málaga and other cities need to find a way to keep the tourists coming, yet provide affordable accommodation for Spanish workers.


© The Curmudgeon



Diario Sur





Diario Sur, Guardian, Javier Recío, Telegraph



Daily Express, El País, Paul Whitelock, Sky News



Airbnb, Andalucía, Aragón, atmosphere, Barcelona, bars, Basque Country, beaches, Cádiz, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla-León, Cataluña, city tourism, Costa Cantábrica, Costa de la Luz, Daily Express, El Pais, demos against tourists, Diario Sur, drunken riff-raff, “España es diferente”, Extremadura, Finland, fjords, Galicia, Germany, Guardian, guiri, Huesca, Javier Recío, Madrid, Málaga, Mediterranean, menús del día, Netherlands, País Valenciano, País Vasco, Paul Whitelock, ¿Que sería del centro de Málaga sin los guiris?, restaurants, retired northern Europeans, rías, rural tourism, Sky News, Spanish Fly, tapas, Tarifa, Telegraph, tourists, Valencia, white villages



Like 4


JohnSal said:
Wednesday, June 19, 2024 @ 8:43 AM

The problem is complex and multi-faceted. It is not easy to regulate the rental industry. Owners of B&B's have become greedy and the prices being charged plus commissions are far above what most units are worth. Money has also become worth much less due to inflation so anyone with cash has tried to enter the property market with a view to rent short-term. Moreover there is also a growing phenomenon of a substantial number of immigrants sharing a place and being able to afford higher rent as compared to a local Spainsh family. These problems are much in evidence in other cities/countries that have witnessed a surge in tourism, especially with the advent of cheap air-travel and the post-Covid era. I hate to say it, but some sort of official intervention has now become necessary as the market mechanisms are skewed.

PablodeRonda said:
Friday, June 21, 2024 @ 7:30 PM

Thanks for your comment, JohnSal. You're dead right. There really needs to be urgent official intervention, otherwise our city centres could become ghost towns and our rural villages might suffer de-population.

roberto123 said:
Sunday, June 23, 2024 @ 9:28 AM

Uncontrolled immigration is a major contributor. they all have to live somewhere.

Only registered users can comment on this blog post. Please Sign In or Register now.


This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x