Spain u-turns over UK tourists and say 'we don't want holidays to stop'

Spanish locals have u-turned over UK tourism and say they "don't want it to end" after demonstrating in the street over the lack of affordable housing amid an influx of British holidaymakers. Alison Johnson, owner of Moving to Spain, has urged Britons not to be put off.

"Over recent weeks, protests have taken place across the likes of Majorca, Lanzarote and Tenerife, with locals demanding that the government take action and rethink the tourism model," said Alison. "In our experience, locals don’t want an end to tourism - they want a balance that respects their right to live in the places we love to visit."

Holding posters reading SOS Residents, Enough Mass Tourism, protesters marched through Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the largest Balearic Island. About 10,000 demonstrators took part, a Spanish National police spokesperson said.

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A smaller protest with a few hundred people was staged in Menorca. "We want the authorities to stop people who have not lived here more than five years from buying properties and to put more controls on holiday accommodation," said Carme Reines, from a collective which organised the protest in Palma de Mallorca.

Javier Carbonell, a real estate agent, said over half of rental properties were used for holiday rents and were not affordable for locals. "We want less mass tourism and more sustainable tourism," Carbonell said.

On Friday, about 1,000 protesters took part in a demonstration against mass tourism in Ibiza, one of the most popular Balearic Islands, Reuters reported. "We want a limit on new tourist places and a ban on more illegal flats. With less flats around on the market, it pushes up the price," said Rafael Gimenez, a spokesman for Prou Ibiza which organised Friday's protest.

"It was reported earlier this week that Magaluf, known for its lively and vibrant nightlife, was ‘half empty’ despite being the start of the holiday season," said Alison. "This caused some bar owners to speak out and reiterate that tourism is needed to keep businesses afloat and that they are worried people have been put off visiting the island because of the ongoing protests."