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"It stinks of tourists here. Go home!" Popular European cities revolt against foreigners: blocking roads, hanging false signs

Karina VishnyakovaNews
In European cities, locals are trying to overcome excessive tourism. Source: Getty, X (Twitter)

Every year, millions of foreigners visit the Costa de Sol and the city of Malaga, Spain, one of the most popular European destinations. This year, however, the locals decided to loudly express their dissatisfaction - they are disappointed with the growing influx of tourists.

A wave of stickers on the walls and doors "addressing" visitors in Spanish was spreading through the city center, EuroNews reports. "This was my home" (antes esta era mi casa), "This was the city center" (antes esto era el centro), "Go home" (a tu puta casa), "It stinks of a tourist" (apestando a turista), the inscriptions read.

''It stinks of tourists here. Go home!'' Popular European cities revolt against foreigners: blocking roads, hanging false signs

Why Malaga locals are so angry with tourists

The city on the Costa del Sol has rapidly become a popular destination for visitors due to its sunny climate and relatively low prices. However, this influx of travelers creates discomfort for the Spaniards.

''It stinks of tourists here. Go home!'' Popular European cities revolt against foreigners: blocking roads, hanging false signs

Dani Drunko runs a bar in Malaga called Drunkorama. He launched the "sticker initiative" by printing and posting "anti-tourism" phrases around the city, which were written by guests of the establishment. In a conversation with the local newspaper Diario Sur, Drunko explained that he started the campaign after he was apparently "kicked out" of the house he had lived in for ten years.

''It stinks of tourists here. Go home!'' Popular European cities revolt against foreigners: blocking roads, hanging false signs

He claimed that the landlord refused to negotiate a lease or even sell him the property - they wanted to rent it out for short-term tourists. "There's a lot of fuss because the locals are tired of the situation. I just suggested the idea of catchphrases, I suggested the spark, and now others have joined in," the bar owner said.

''It stinks of tourists here. Go home!'' Popular European cities revolt against foreigners: blocking roads, hanging false signs

Last November, a local reporter for The Local Spain news website reported that Málaga was "definitely more packed than it has been in the past, even out of season," adding that restaurant prices have risen sharply recently.

What makes Malaga so popular with foreign visitors

The Spanish coast of the Costa del Sol, where Malaga is located, has been very popular with tourists for years. In 2023, it was visited by a record 14 million vacationers from Spain and abroad, and some of them decided to make the city their new home. The latest data from Spain's National Institute of Statistics (INE) indicates that eight out of 10 new residents moving to Málaga are now foreigners.

''It stinks of tourists here. Go home!'' Popular European cities revolt against foreigners: blocking roads, hanging false signs

But it's not just the people who are changing the face of the city: some 630 tech companies, including Google, have opened offices in Malaga, turning it into a quasi-Silicon Valley of Europe. This has had the effect of attracting thousands of international remote workers, who are lured by the heady combination of a pleasant work environment and warm climate.

What other European destinations have fought back against excessive tourism

Earlier in March, graffiti appeared on the Canary Islands telling tourists to "go home." Meanwhile, one of the most popular islands, Tenerife, recently declared a water emergency. This has added fuel to the fire for locals, as some tourist areas consume six times more water than residential areas, putting pressure on reserves important for agriculture.

''It stinks of tourists here. Go home!'' Popular European cities revolt against foreigners: blocking roads, hanging false signs

In February, in neighboring Gran Canaria, walls were painted with the words "Tourists are coming home" - the Canarian Weekly newspaper called it "tourist phobia." On the Balearic island of Mallorca last August, residents hung fake signs along several beaches that read: "Beware of Dangerous Jellyfish" and "Beware of Falling Rocks."

All the signs were written in English, with small print explanations in Catalan informing locals that the warnings were not real. Instead, the text read: "the problem is not rockfall, but mass tourism" and "the beach is open, except for foreigners."

''It stinks of tourists here. Go home!'' Popular European cities revolt against foreigners: blocking roads, hanging false signs

However, excessive tourism is not only a problem in Spanish territories. Many European countries are introducing taxes on tourists, including Venice, which has also banned cruise ships from entering the endangered canal system.

In Amsterdam, the authorities and local residents have been trying for several months to encourage drunken tourists (mostly British) to stay away, and in Kyoto, Japan, roads were blocked to prevent the city from turning into a "theme park".

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