Tourism-phobia in Valencia? Tourist managers report harassment and residents demand limits

Some owners of ground floor tourist accommodations recently reported a dozen cases of stickers identifying properties as tourist accommodations, graffiti, urine at the door, glued locks, as well as insults and spit towards tourists, according to the account given to EFE by the president of the Association of Tourist Apartment Companies of the Valencian Community (Aptur CV) and the Viutur association of Valencia, Silvia Blasco.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
13 May 2024 Monday 05:13
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Tourism-phobia in Valencia? Tourist managers report harassment and residents demand limits

Some owners of ground floor tourist accommodations recently reported a dozen cases of stickers identifying properties as tourist accommodations, graffiti, urine at the door, glued locks, as well as insults and spit towards tourists, according to the account given to EFE by the president of the Association of Tourist Apartment Companies of the Valencian Community (Aptur CV) and the Viutur association of Valencia, Silvia Blasco. The businesswoman points out that the “marked” tourist accommodations associated with Aptur are legal and were converted for this purpose from unused commercial premises.

The reported incidents raise the tone in the debate on tourism that has been ongoing in the city for months. In recent weeks, there have been reports on social media about similar events, such as the account of a restaurateur who had to accommodate several tourists staying in the Patraix neighborhood because the silicone in the lock of his home left them without accommodation for the night. This account, the actions of the neighbors - like the focal point against the tourist overcrowding in Cabanyal - and, above all, the complaint from Aptur CV this weekend, demonstrate that there is a fundamental issue to be addressed that is not unique to the city, as has been seen recently in the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.

Aptur CV is also preparing legal actions against the account on the social network “X” LaMataObras, which it accuses of using the home delivery company Glovo to distribute advertising against tourist accommodations. They consider this action as an example of “harassment towards the visitors who choose to stay in this type of accommodation,” as explained by the organization. “We do not support this discrediting of tourism and its visitors, as it damages the image of Valencia and its local businesses, in addition to restricting people's right to choose where to stay. And when this happens and the public administration allows it, it becomes everyone's problem,” the association states.

Meanwhile, neighborhood groups explain that there is a widespread feeling of exhaustion and that they only ask to “live peacefully.” In Cabanyal-Canyamelar, they acknowledge that there have been acts of protest with graffiti on the ground to point out tourist rental properties and explain that these complaints are because “they don't know what else to do.”

Entities such as Cuidem Cabanyal-Canyamelar or Sindicat de Barri have been involved, and together with other groups, they plan to carry out new actions and even a demonstration, they warn, hand in hand with the Federation of Neighborhood Associations of Valencia, which recently also called for limits on the growth of tourist housing.

Hoteliers are also joining certain complaints. Recently, the president of the hotel association Hosbec criticized, at its general assembly, the lack of inspection and control of tourist accommodation. Fede Fuster stated that this neglect has led to an increase from 4,000 to 400,000 places in Spain in 15 years, and he denounced that this has happened “without even being able to verify if they are regulated.”

The employers' association also assumed that it is generating a “real problem” of access to housing and coexistence in cities and tourist destinations. Their message insisted on the idea that tourism and the tourism model are not the cause of the problems that society faces. However, on the eve of the high season and with the forecast of another record-breaking summer, who holds the ball now?