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The pain in Spain: Where are Brits not so welcome this summer? | ITV News


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Tourists are facing a backlash from residents in Tenerife as islanders say they are struggling to cope with the influx of visitors, ITV News Europe Editor James Mates reports

Spain is one of the most popular destinations for British tourists, but the country is feeling the backlash of the cheap flights and sunny climes as large numbers of visitors are causing big problems.

A number of provinces have taken matters into their own hands and are providing guidance – and in some case strict rules – for tourists visiting over the summer, as they try and tackle overcrowding and the problems that come with it.

Tourism represents nearly 12% of Spain’s economy but there has been growing pressure from locals for governments to put measures in place to reduce the number of visitors.

So which parts of Spain might not be so keen for Brits to descend this summer?

Canary Islands

Protestors in Tenerife started a hunger strike on April 12 as part of a wider campaign demanding the Canary Islands government tackle the effects of excess tourism in the region.

Hundreds of people linked arms to form a human chain to demonstrate against the building of an additional hotel and beach resort, as well as future projects aimed at attracting more tourists. The hunger strike was still underway on Wednesday at the time of writing.

The wider movement is called Canarias Se Agota, which means ‘The Canaries Have Had Enough’.

In an Instagram post the organisation said the Canary Islands are “exhausted” because of the “excessive tourism” and the “lack of attention to the basic needs of the population”.


Last year the then-mayor of Barcelona described tourism as a “great challenge” for the city, and suggested there needed to be a way to limit the number of people pouring in during holiday season.

Ada Colau limited the number of hotel beds in the city during her tenure, highlighting that the city needs homes so there is space for residents to live in the busy centre.

Her successor, Jaume Collboni, banned cruise ships from docking at the Muelle Barcelona Norte and the World Trade Centre docks, a mile away from the Gothic quarter, in October.

Now cruises must dock at the Moll d’Adossat pier, which is a 30-minute bus ride from the historic centre.

Meanwhile one neighbourhood went as far as to get a local bus route removed from Google and Apple Maps to discourage tourists from using it as it was often too busy for residents to fit onboard.

“We laughed at the idea at first,” a local activist, César Sánchez, told the Guardian. “But we’re amazed that the measure has been so effective.”

Wider Catalonia region

Barcelona is the largest city in the Catalonia region, but authorities for the entire area are considering imposing water restrictions on tourists if domestic consumption does not decrease.

The Catalan government is considering a restriction of 100 litres of water per day per tourist for hotels for three months as it looks to tackle drought in the area.

According to Barcelona’s hotel guild, the average tourist to Barcelona in 2022 used some 163 litres per day, while the figure rose to over 240 litres for luxury hotels.

The limits for tourists would not include the water used to fill swimming pools.


Majorca has introduced a series of new rules over the last couple of years that aren’t explicitly preventing tourists from enjoying the island, but do seek to weed out “drunken tourism”.

A number of restaurants banned shirtless, costumed or football-shirt-wearing travellers, according to Juan Miguel Ferrer, the chief executive of Palma Beach.

Swimwear, trunks and novelty accessories bought from roadside vendors – such as gold chains – are also said to be banned.

“Since May 10, we’ve been suffering the arrival of large groups of tourists who are only looking to get drunk in the streets, or on the seafront or even on the beach,” Mr Ferrer said in 2022.

“You’re not going to come here in beach clothes or come straight from drinking in the streets.”

Balearic Islands

Spain’s Balearic Islands, including Magaluf in Majorca and Sant Antoni in Ibiza, have further toughened laws on alcohol.

People caught drinking in unauthorised areas will face a penalty fine of up to 1,500 euros.

Purchasing alcohol on board a party boat is prohibited if it is located less than one nautical mile from areas affected by the alcohol restrictions. Picking up or disembarking passengers in these areas is also prohibited.

Alcohol sales are banned between 9:30pm and 08:00 am local time.


Alicante introduced new noise-related restrictions in 2023 in response to influxes of tourists causing disruption for locals.

Rules had originally been put in place in 2019, but they were strengthened last year. The array of noises encompassed by the regulations include open air concerts, use of musical instruments on beaches, and shouting.

The local city council warned of hefty fines for anybody flouting the rules.

Money matters and passport pains

Post-Brexit, Brits are subject to the ‘third states’ rules Spain imposes on visitors from outside the European Union.

A traveller visiting Spain must “present proof of having sufficient financial means for the proposed stay”, or at least the ability to legally obtain that money, according to the Spanish foreign ministry.

In 2023, the minimum amount required was $120 (£97) per person per day, and the traveller had to have at least $1100 (£885) or its equivalent in foreign currency regardless of the length of the stay.

Travellers can show they have enough money by presenting cash, travellers’ cheques, a credit card with a bank account statement, an up-to-date bank book or similar. The ministry states that bank letters or online bank statements are not accepted.

Brits flying abroad are also being warned about post-Brexit passport rules, which have landed travellers with hefty fines.

Some families are finding themselves thousands of pounds out of pocket when they have been banned from boarding flights due to the rule changes.

When the UK was a member of the EU, British passports remained valid up to and including their expiry date for travel to other EU countries, but now passports need to be valid for valid for at least three months after the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting.

More details of the post-Brexit rules on passports can be found on the ITV News website.

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