Neighbors of La Saïdia (València) denounce the "voracious advance of touristification" of the neighborhood

Neighbors of La Saïdia, a district of the city of Valencia, demonstrated this Saturday to defend the right to housing, "have an impact at a citizen and political level" and denounce that, while tourism "advances voraciously" in the area, "many neighbors have to leave the district" because "they cannot afford access to housing.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
01 March 2024 Friday 22:04
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Neighbors of La Saïdia (València) denounce the "voracious advance of touristification" of the neighborhood

Neighbors of La Saïdia, a district of the city of Valencia, demonstrated this Saturday to defend the right to housing, "have an impact at a citizen and political level" and denounce that, while tourism "advances voraciously" in the area, "many neighbors have to leave the district" because "they cannot afford access to housing.

Under the motto 'Veïnat yes, tourism no. La Saïdia per a qui l'habita', attendees have criticized the "proliferation" of tourist apartments, "many of them illegal", which "makes access to housing difficult", while "threatening the social fabric of the neighborhoods ". "Allowing tourism to advance without taking any measures means prioritizing the economic interest of a few over the needs of the neighbors," they criticized.

This protest was initially called for last Saturday, February 24, but the convening associations -- La Saïdia Comuna, AA. VV. Saidia, AA. VV. Morvedre, AA. VV. Sant Antoni-la Saïdia and EntreBarris-- canceled it in solidarity with the people affected by the fire in two buildings in the nearby neighborhood of Campanar, which claimed the lives of ten people.

The neighborhood of the district has warned that, according to data from the main real estate portals, renting an apartment in Saïdia in 2024 costs 300 euros more on average than in 2021, which represents an increase of 50% in "just three years ".

And they have criticized that this reality is compounded by the fact that tourist apartments have increased their presence by 30%, "not counting the illegal supply, which multiplies week by week." "Meanwhile, neither the Generalitat Valenciana nor the Valencia City Council make land available for the construction of public and protected housing in Saïdia," they said in a statement.

In this context, Pablo, a resident of Saïdia, has denounced, in statements to the media, that the rental price in "all of Valencia", and specifically in the Saïdia area, is "unaffordable." "In recent years, the price and the types of businesses that we find here have changed a lot," he said, adding that "there are more and more tourist apartments and more spaces that are disappearing in favor of tourism."

In this regard, the convening entities have indicated that the "increase in the floating population" in the district generates "noise and dirt problems", and implies a "saturation of public services." Furthermore, they have regretted that touristification is accompanied by a "process of change in commercial demand" that "endangers traditional and local commerce and encourages other types of establishments."

"We must protect the social fabric and the people who live here," Pablo urged, while reproaching that they do not want these neighbors "to be expelled" and "change everything." "Normally, this changes the mood of the neighborhood, people no longer feel part of the neighborhood or cannot live in it and are expelled to the outskirts, which are also increasingly more expensive," he noted.

On the other hand, the district's neighborhood associations have assured that the granting of a new hotel license in the area has been "the straw that broke the camel's back." It is an apartment hotel with capacity for 500 people, located on a block between Maximilià Thous and Benipeixcar streets, and whose construction is scheduled to begin shortly, they have noted.

This project is added to the 575-room "macrohotel" in the Guatla warehouses, currently paralyzed, which has already aroused strong neighborhood opposition, they added.

Regarding the first of these projects, Pablo lamented that on this occasion "it will be more difficult to stop" the construction of the hotel. "It seems that this is going to be much more complicated," he expressed, and stressed that, despite "some political messages", the situation "does not change": "The rise in prices and these types of model changes do not change ".

Prior to this demonstration, different associations have scheduled other activities that are part of a mobilization campaign to "defend the neighborhood." In this way, on Saturday, February 10, a concert against tourism was held at the La Protectora cultural association, with performances by the groups Las Víctimas Civiles, O.J.O. and Los Malditos, which sold out.