Soon attending EASA 2024 conference in Barcelona

I will attend the massive biannual meeting of European anthropology. I am presenting in a panel related to anthropology and artificial intelligence, where I focus on the localization of AI.

Surprisingly, I have never been to Barcelona, and I hope to explore it a bit. However, I am scared of the anti-tourism movement (!).

## Anti-Tourism Movement in Barcelona

The anti-tourism movement in Barcelona has gained significant momentum recently, with large-scale protests highlighting the adverse effects of mass tourism on the city and its residents. Here are the key details:

### **Protests and Tactics**

– **Water Gun Protests**: One of the most notable tactics used by protesters involved spraying tourists with water guns. This action took place in popular tourist areas, causing confusion and discomfort among visitors[1][3][4].
– **Chants and Signs**: Demonstrators carried signs with slogans like “Tourists go home” and “Barcelona is not for sale,” and chanted similar messages as they marched through the city[2][5][6].
– **Targeted Areas**: Protests were particularly intense in tourist-heavy districts such as La Barceloneta and La Rambla, where demonstrators also symbolically cordoned off certain eateries[4][7].

### **Concerns and Grievances**

– **Rising Living Costs**: One of the primary concerns is the skyrocketing cost of living, particularly housing. Rents in Barcelona have increased by nearly 70% over the past decade, making it difficult for locals to afford housing[2][4][7].
– **Strain on Public Services**: The influx of tourists is seen as straining public services and infrastructure, contributing to noise, pollution, and traffic congestion[1][5].
– **Social Inequality**: Critics argue that the economic benefits of tourism are not equitably distributed, exacerbating social inequality and benefiting mainly the tourism industry[1][3][5].

### **Government Response**

– **Policy Measures**: In response to the protests, Mayor Jaume Collboni has implemented several measures:
– **Increased Tourist Tax**: The nightly tourist tax has been raised to generate additional revenue[1].
– **Restrictions on Cruise Ships**: There are plans to limit the number of cruise ship passengers[1].
– **Short-Term Rental Licenses**: The city plans to phase out short-term rental licenses by 2028 to make more housing available for long-term residents[1][2][4].
– **Criticism of Events**: Despite these measures, the mayor has faced criticism for allowing high-profile events like fashion shows and sailing competitions, which are seen as contributing to the problem[1].

### **Broader Context**

– **Global Trend**: The anti-tourism sentiment in Barcelona is part of a broader global trend where cities are grappling with the negative impacts of overtourism. Similar protests have occurred in other Spanish regions, such as the Canary Islands and Mallorca[1][5][7].
– **Economic Impact**: While tourism is a significant contributor to the local economy, generating substantial revenue, the protests highlight the need for a more sustainable and balanced approach to managing tourism[1][6][7].

### **Future Outlook**

The ongoing protests and the city’s policy responses indicate a growing recognition of the need to balance tourism with the well-being of local residents. The measures being implemented aim to reduce the negative impacts of mass tourism and promote a more sustainable model for the future.

1. CNN – Barcelona Tourism Protests
2. YouTube – Barcelona Tourism Protests
3. Washington Post – Barcelona Anti-Tourism Protest with Water Guns
4. CBS News – Spain: Barcelona Tourism Protests with Water Guns
5. Times of India – Barcelona Mass Anti-Tourism Protests
6. Belfast Live – Barcelona Tourist Backlash
7. Sky News – Anti-Tourism Protesters Target Diners with Water Guns in Barcelona

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