Hundreds of locals gathered in Ibiza last Friday to protest against the impact of overtourism that they believe to be “unlimited, disrespectful and excessive.”
Taking place Ibiza Town’s main square, Vara del Rey, the protest was organized by Prou!, a local pressure group. It is said to be the first demonstration of its kind against mass tourism on the Balearic island famous for its hedonistic 24-hour party lifestyle.
Protesters rallied against the privatization of beaches, noise pollution, and the increase in rental prices and crime. Àngels Escandell, director of Prou!, stated that “They keep telling us again and again that we live from tourism, but we don’t live well—we live badly. We can’t call ‘living’ having to endure the plague of uncontrolled tourism that periodically assaults our island, that initiates the season of deafening music, that brings the psychopaths driving luxury cars and the never-ending traffic jams.”
Prou!’s manifesto goes on to describe how tourism damages their local culture: “The exorbitant prices of accommodation have forced us to substitute a specialized workforce, doctors, teachers, and policemen for DJs and music promoters. We have created a monster that has devoured our language and our culture … natural resources and the landscape, devastated for the benefit of a few by mammoth buildings and disproportionate highways.”
It goes on to mention that they want “to return to the peace and quiet of the traditional Ibiza.” Last year, well over 3 million tourists visited Ibiza, which is a significant number for an island with a population of just 130,000
These issues led to a new law being passed earlier this year banning accommodation platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway from listing rooms in private houses, as well as one forcing all clubs and bars on the West End strip to shut by 3 a.m.