As anti-tourism protests mount across Europe, tourists reminded to behave
Anti-tourism sticker posted in Barcelona in May 2017. (Pau Barrena/AFP)
Published Saturday, August 12, 2017 8:35AM EDT
After Mallorca, Venice and Barcelona, San Sebastian is the latest European city to plan an anti-tourism march protesting the number of unchecked tourists "invading" their cities.
Timed to coincide with a major Basque festival, the Semana Grande, the anti-tourism march in San Sebastian is planned for August 17, at the height of tourist season when the region will be swarming with Spaniards and foreigners alike.
Across Europe, a wave of anti-tourism sentiment has been overheating this summer, with protestors spraying messages like "Tourists go home" and "Stop destroying our lives" on city walls across Spain.
A similar story is playing out across Italy and Croatia, where patience with tourists behaving badly and the impact large, unchecked crowds are having on daily life is wearing thin among locals.
Tourism offices across Italy, for instance, have resorted to banning outdoor drinking after nightfall (Rome), eating and drinking anywhere near historic fountains (Rome), banning the late-night sale of alcohol (Turin) and banning selfie sticks, food trucks and street hawkers (Milan), all in a bid to curb anti-social behavior.
Respect our heritage and inhabitants
After announcing plans to limit the number of tourists to its historic center to 8,000 back in January, the newly elected mayor of Dubrovnik told The Telegraph he's slashed that number by half to 4,000, in a bid to protect the city and improve the visitor experience.
Borrowing a page from Venice's playbook, the city of Florence launched a public awareness campaign this week, #EnjoyRespectFirenze, aimed at maintaining decorum and civility on city streets.
"Those who come to visit our city must behave in such a way as to preserve it, respect its heritage and its inhabitants," said Anna Paola Concia, spokesperson for the local tourism office in a statement.
"We want to defeat the widespread sentiment that those who come to Italy can afford to do what they want. It is time to make it happen...Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and should be preserved, and that this is a responsibility that also belongs to the tourist."
As part of the program, local police officers will be monitoring tourists for disrespectful behavior including littering, vandalism and drunkenness.