Regional tourism minister warns against demonising visitors

Fernández at the SUR forum.
Fernández at the SUR forum. / Álvaro Cabrera
  • At the latest business forum organised by SUR, ideas were discussed to avoid cities becoming saturated with visitors and causing resentment in local communities

The minister for Tourism at the Junta de Andalucía regional government has issued a stark warning against ‘touristphobia’.

Speaking at a forum organ ised by SUR in Malaga, Francisco Javier Fernández said that one of the main challenges facing the industry was to get to the point where, “tourists feel like locals and locals don’t feel like tourists in their own city.”

Addressing increasing concerns that some areas of Spain, especially cities, are becoming saturated with visitors, the minister went on to say that it was important to educate local communities as to the importance of tourism to local economies and “not demonise” the industry.

In his address at the event at the AC Malaga Palacio hotel, organised by SUR and the Diputación provincial government, Fernández said that to avoid this happening, care had to be taken not to overload cities, encourage off-season travel and improve the quality of the employment created. Some 13 per cent of the local economy depends on tourism he highlighted.

Referring to the problems that are being experienced in Barcelona, where the historic city centre has been flooded with rental properties, marginalising some local residents and causing a harsh backlash from the local authorities, the minister said that the Junta was working to avoid the same happening in Andalucía.