Malaga locals unite: pushing back against overtourism

In recent years, the sunny beaches and warm weather of Malaga have attracted multiple tech giants and digital nomads.  The city is one of the most popular european cities and Spanish city for vacationers and visitors. Additionally, it is a top option for second-home buyers and expats. However, the surge in foreign visitors and residents is heavily annoying long-time locals. Excessive tourism over the past few years has heavily impacted the lives of locals, causing them to be annoyed at tourists.

Locals have smeared several stickers on doors and walls throughout the city. These stickers range from a subtle expression of annoyance to fully cursing out tourists. Some stickers state, “This used to be my city center or this used to be my home,” evoking memories of the days when Malaga was not overcrowded by tourists. However, other stickers are even more excessive and aggressive.

Stickers like “go, f””cking home” and “stinking of tourist” heavily showcase the level of annoyance in locals. Moreover, on social media, locals are often expressing the phrase “enough is enough,” letting visitors know they have reached their limits.

Reason for campaign

Dani Drunko, the initiator of this sticker campaign, had a reason that he shared with several locals. He felt heartbroken to vacate his residence as the owner of Drunkoroma, a popular bar in Malaga. The reason for his forced move was to make room for short-term vacation rentals. Having to leave his home just for travellers to stay is something other locals do not find fair. Some people had a similar level of anger due to the increasing number of buildings with lockboxes for visitor accommodations.

Dani Perez, a local politician, joined his fellow locals on this campaign to show his dissatisfaction. He criticized city officials for their lack of action to ease residents concerns. Moreover, the surge in both housing and product prices is one of the reasons that locals have reached their limits. They have to pay double or triple the prices they were used to paying because Malaga is fueled by tourists, thus raising prices. Furthermore, the water scarcity of the city is not only due to a lack of rain but also to the increasing population.

Malaga is not the only spanish city to have this type of sentiment towards tourists. Canary Island has locals painting the graffiti “go home” all over the streets. Gran Canaria has experienced an anti-tourist and anti-digital nomad protest, showcasing the tension locals have towards visitors.

Just like Amsterdam, Kyoto and Venice, locals in Malaga want the government to take some measures against overtourism. According to them, only this way will the locals be protected and able to coexist with visitors.

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