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Tourism Minister condemns group that fired water pistols at tourists in Barcelona

Spain’s tourism minister has condemned a group of people who fired water pistols at tourists in Barcelona last week, saying the act did not represent the country’s hospitality.

Activists protested against the effects of mass tourism and marched through the city center last Saturday (6) holding up signs that read: “tourists go home”.

Some surrounded restaurants and a small group of people fired water pistols at tourists, Reuters video showed.

Jordi Hereu, who previously served as mayor of Barcelona, ​​told reporters that while the protesters’ actions were reprehensible, the incident had been exaggerated by international media.

Anti-tourism activists have increasingly organised protests in Barcelona and other coastal cities such as Palma de Mallorca and Malaga, saying visitors drive up housing costs.

Hereu said the tourism sector needed to be regulated and diversified to make it more sustainable. Redistributing profits from the sector and improving the quality of tourism jobs would help alleviate public concerns, he added.

In its manifesto, the Neighborhood Assembly for Tourism platform that organized the weekend protest in Barcelona called for higher taxes on tourism, reducing the number of cruise terminals and putting a limit on short-term tourist accommodation.

Barcelona’s mayor announced last month that the city will ban apartment rentals to tourists by 2028, an unexpectedly drastic change as it seeks to curb rising housing costs and make the city livable for residents.

Hereu said regulation could involve measures such as limiting or even eliminating short-term rentals and capping the number of hotel rooms, but that was largely up to local and regional authorities.

Last year, around 26 million tourists visited Barcelona, ​​according to the city’s tourism observatory, while the municipality has a population of 1.7 million.

The Tourism Ministry said it sees tourist arrivals to Spain increasing 13% year-on-year between July and September.

Source: CNN Brasil

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