Warning over attacks from anti-tourism groups in Spain

British tourists in Spain have been warned to remain vigilant after an uprising in anti-tourism protests.

Anti-capitalist activists in the Catalonia region of Spain, have warned there could be more assaults on foreign tourists.

The region of Spain saw 18 million tourists visit it last year, making it the most popular region for tourists in the country.

The Basque separatist group Ernai plans to stage a march on August 17 in the northern town of San Sebastian during a major festival.

A group known as Arran, which orchestrated an attack on a tourist coach full of Brits visiting Barcelona’s Camp Nou football stadium last week, told The Times:

“We cannot rule out more attacks. There have been assaults in the past and there will be more in the future.”

One of Arran’s leaders Laura Flores said: “Tourism is making the cities too expensive to live in as people rent out their flats to tourists and residents are forced to flee.

“It is forcing people to work in an industry were they are exploited with low wages for long hours.

“A small group of businessmen are making a lot of money out of this but it is not benefitting the majority. It is destroying the Catalan lands.”

The Times carried a front page article on Saturday under the headline “Anarchist threat to tourists”.

In it Abta chairman Noel Josephides was quoted as saying that the protests are a “wake up call”.

“It’s a great shame but we will see more of them,” he said. “They are adopting dangerous tactics and that shouldn’t be happening.

“But the reason it is happening is because the local governments haven’t been listening or taking the overcrowding seriously.

“The advice to tourists is use your common sense. Be vigilant and don’t go where there might be a risk.”

Spain’s tourism minister Alvaro Nadal said the country would not tolerate attacks on tourists.

“A minority can’t ruin the decades of prestige for our tourist industry,” he said.

As well as mainland Spain, anti-tourism groups are active in Majorca where last week activists let off smoke bombs and smashed the windows of a restaurant.

Similar concerns about the impact of tourism have also been expressed in Italian cities like Venice, Florence and Rome.

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