The Catalan Tourist Board: Guerrilla division

March 22nd, 2012 · 108 comments

Eerac and I are literally in the process of booking a holiday rental apartment in Barcelona for an upcoming vacation with our respective partners. Today, this photo showed up a the top of the PAN inbox. Matt from the U.K. says he spotted it hanging from a window in — of course — Barcelona.


Meanwhile, elsewhere in Barcelona…


(photo credit: cremefee)


(photo credit: Jen SFO-BCN)

(The Rambling American — Tourist Terrorists)

I feel welcome already. Now, on to the Gaudís!

related: Abbey Road Tourist Delirium

FILED UNDER: Spain · tourists

108 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Rice

    I’m really looking forward to my holiday in Barcelona later this year. :D

    Mar 22, 2012 at 8:42 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #2   SeeYouInTea

    This is exactly the reason I won’t be going to Spain. Not because I’m poor or anything.

    Mar 22, 2012 at 8:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #3   Rei

    Yeah, because they totally don’t need tourist dollars in their current financial crisis. Fine, fuck ‘em. Don’t go and wait until they beg for tourism. :P

    Mar 22, 2012 at 8:45 pm   rating: 91  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   deprogrammed

      ^^^^^. And in case you don’t understand, ^.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm   rating: 91  small thumbs up

    • #3.2   johnnyboy

      I’ve really enjoyed Barcelona on several visits over the years, and I empathize with the locals who have seen quite an accelerated gentrification process occurring, especially in the central areas.
      This said, I don’t think there is another country on the planet that shows this extent of combined heavy economic dependence on tourism, and openly brazen contempt and disgust for tourists. If you think these graffitis in Barcelona are bad, try walking down the street or ordering a coffee in Seville or Granada.

      Mar 26, 2012 at 8:18 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.3   Noelegy

      See: Egypt.

      Mar 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.4   asp

      johnny, can’t speak for everyone, but I was treated like gold in sevilla and granada. two of my favorite places in the world.

      Apr 2, 2012 at 6:46 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #4   SnarkKitty

    So, this guy isn’t getting the price he wanted for his place?

    Love Barca and can’t wait to visit there again.

    Mar 22, 2012 at 8:49 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #5   John

    I thought they’d welcome more tourists as it keeps all the catalan street muggers in business!

    Mar 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   Noelegy

      “Please send more tourists. The last ones were fucking delicious.”

      Mar 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #6   AM

    I was in Barcelona for business in 2010 and they really really hate Americans! It was so awkward.

    Mar 22, 2012 at 8:54 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #7   kellita

    I’ve been there some months ago and I tell you, some of the Catalans are not very kind to tourists. And beware of your bag and IPhone.

    Mar 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #8   joshua

    No Orwell references? Do people even his works aside from 1984 any more?

    Mar 22, 2012 at 9:02 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #9   divvitar

    Apparently Al Quaeda is booking tours in Spain. Must be a growing problem.

    Mar 22, 2012 at 9:02 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #10   jimmy

    just south of Mazatlan, Mexico there was a giant wall that had been painted with the message in spanish, “if you sell your homes and land now, you can buy a new truck and move to the city. In ten years you will not be able to afford to fix that truck. Your children will become slaves in the hotels changing the dirty sheets of the tourists.” or something close to it….. yes they are right.

    Mar 22, 2012 at 9:05 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   Mickey Blue Eyes

      Yes, it is better to be an impoverished slave to the land, at the mercy of unpredictable weather and pests and the general low income agrarian lifestyle… than to be a “slave” with a regular job and mobility for those who are productive.

      Then again, this is Mexico we’re talking about so the only only industry besides farming is drug running and drug gangs.

      Mar 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   The Elf

      And tourism!

      Apr 4, 2012 at 7:21 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #11   La_Mariposita

    I went to Spain. I absolutely loved it. I did experience anti-American sentiments, but I expected it, so whatever. I hated Paris, however, and while I experienced less blantant anti-American sentiments (which is surprising, given their general attitude towards us), I found the people to be rude and smelly, and the City of Love appeared more like the City of Garbage to me. *shrug* I will stick to Central America; it might be more dangerous, but the people are amazing.

    Mar 22, 2012 at 9:14 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   Lauri

      sheesh, I guess I should put a Canadian flag on my pack next June :(

      Mar 22, 2012 at 9:42 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.2   La_Mariposita

      Yes, in general, Europeans are more friendly towards Canadians. One of my college professors was Canadian, and we had a private discussion about just this sort of thing. He said if I were to return to Europe, just say I am Canadian; they can’t tell the difference between our accents and they are much more open to Canadian tourists.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.3   meeper

      Dear Americans, thank you for ruining the reputation of Canadian tourists as well. I’m sure we really weren’t using it much anyway!

      Mar 23, 2012 at 11:54 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.4   The Elf

      You’re welcome! I know you like to distinguish yourselves from Americans in pretty much any way you possibly can, but we think that’s just silly. Why would anyone not want to be American? That’s crazy talk.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #12   lilgreenfish

    Tourists can be annoying. Necessary, but annoying.

    Mar 22, 2012 at 9:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.1   The Elf

      I hear ya. In DC, we get a flood of tourists every spring and summer. (I always wonder, why summer? Didn’t you look up this place before you came here? It’s a swamp!) It’s Cherry Blossom time, and that means the first influx is here.

      This town has a love/hate relationship with tourists. They are absolutely necessary for the economy of the city. Absolutely. And I do enjoy sharing what I love about this place (museums) with new people. I work in the touristy area, so I end up giving directions to people at least once a week. They’re usually quite nice and I think how turned around I would be in their respective cities.

      But at the same time….. We work/live here. It’s not a vacation for us. So when you stand on the right of the escalator and don’t move, you’re making my commute that much longer. Too much delay and I miss my train, and that’s when I really get pissed. I actually had someone yell at me “Slow down! It’s a vacation!” For you it is. For me it’s Tuesday.

      Still, something like this is truly beyond the pale. I may grit my teeth in frustration at the slow walking family taking up the entire sidewalk, who then stops without pulling over to the side to admire the view, but I would never actually encourage them to go home.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 7:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.2   The Elf

      Erm, I meant standing to the left on the escalator. That’s the rule: stand right, walk left.

      I need a second cup of coffee if I’ve lost the ability to tell right from left!

      Mar 23, 2012 at 7:58 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.3   Dr.Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff

      In most of the cities around the world that I have visited it is proper ettiquette to stand to the right on the subway escalators, allowing people to pass to the left. Maybe the fault is not that of the tourists, but of your subway operators for a) having a non-standard ettiquette and b) not having signs saying which side to stand on.

      Mar 24, 2012 at 9:48 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.4   The Elf

      It is stand right walk left, as standard. I mistyped.

      As for signs….. I agree, but the subway system disagrees. It’s been an ongoing problem.

      Mar 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.5   a-Arialist

      I hear you. I work in Westminster, about 100 yards from Westminster Abbey and we get mobbed by tourists every year. Standing in big groups with all their luggage, right in the entrance to Victoria Station and backing up the hundreds of people trying to get in and out, all this drives me crazy. The craziest thing, though, is that we get people picnic-ing on the steps of our office building. It’s very obviously a modern office building, and you can see the big sign with our Company name on it and reception from the steps, and yet 15 people will array themselves on the steps and get out their lunchboxes and sandwiches, while people attempt to climb over them to get in and out of the building. Who does that? Especially when St James’s Park is about 50 yards away.

      Tourists are all crazy, I tell you.

      And yep – there is anti-American sentiment in Europe and to be frank, it’s because many American tourists do not deport themselves well. The reputation of arrogance is well deserved. I’m fully aware of the UK’s lager-lout reputation and I’m ashamed of it and do my best to prove otherwise when I’m abroad. It’d help if Americans did the same, rather than describing Parisians as ‘rude and smelly’ and reinforcing the stereotype.

      Mar 25, 2012 at 4:52 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.6   innocent passerby

      Americans DO do the same; however, it’s a general principle that loud people are louder than quiet people.

      Mar 25, 2012 at 6:37 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.7   Mr. Magoo

      Totally, people can be annoying. Anyone who travels away from their home sucks a**.

      Mar 28, 2012 at 10:52 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #13   kermit

    Perhaps people would dislike American tourists less if:
    (1) Americans actually bothered to learn a few basic phrases of the local language, instead of expecting everyone to speak English
    (2) Americans would stop voting for and electing stupid and embarrassing politicians

    Mar 22, 2012 at 9:22 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   AM

      Within my group of co-workers we spoke fluent English, French, Spanish, German (and Hebrew) and sign language. In Barcelona they speak Catalan but can understand Spanish and a lot of French and it didn’t matter what languages we spoke they were rude and inconsiderate.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.2   liliboo

      Yeah, right. I speak four languages but not every language of Europe. How many Europeans could converse in me in any of the four languages I spoke? Pffft. However, with eight languages between us, I have had some fun with a friend breaking down stereotypes.

      People have to hate somebody, but the Spanish can blame themselves for their own shitty government and we’ll blame ourselves for ours.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 10:21 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.3   kermit

      He was the only man of us who still “followed the sea.” The worst that could be said of him was that he did not represent his class. He was a seaman, but he was a wanderer, too, while most seamen lead, if one may so express it, a sedentary life. Their minds are of the stay-at-home order, and their home is always with them — the ship; and so is their country — the sea. One ship is very much like another, and the sea is always the same. In the immutability of their surroundings the foreign shores, the foreign faces, the changing immensity of life, glide past, veiled not by a sense of mystery but by a slightly disdainful ignorance; for there is nothing mysterious to a seaman unless it be the sea itself, which is the mistress of his existence and as inscrutable as Destiny.

      Mar 22, 2012 at 10:35 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.4   infanttyrone

      No doubt he was a visual artist, as all his methods were unsound.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 12:19 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.5   CrookedFlight

      I don’t know, I lived in the south of Spain for a while and found everyone to be wonderful and patient with my awful Spanish. It improved and when I went on vacation to Barcelona, no one bothered, would cut me off and continue in English, or pretend they didn’t understand me. Didn’t matter apparently that I spoke Spanish, and I also learned a bit of Catalan as well I wasn’t able to use. Could have been isolated incidences, but I definitely felt a difference in Catalan country than in the south.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 9:53 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.6   SeeYouInTea

      “By generalizing a group of people, I show just how much better I am than they.” Asshole.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.7   jodido47

      Like no other countries elect stupid politicans? Berlusconi? The Greek Social Democrats? Zapatero? Try broadening your outlook beyond the end of your nose.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.8   kermit

      Jodidi47 – With that broad outlook you have, you may have noticed that none of the stupid and embarrassing leaders you listed decided to go around bombing democracy into other countries.

      All politicians are embarrassing to a degree. When you elect those who actively try to enforce American exceptionalism with a gun, you do get a much bigger image problem.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.9   tvelociraptor

      I live in Canada. I can speak French. However, I can go into French parts of Canada and still be mocked mercilessly because my accent isn’t “right,” even though I can speak their language just fine and my accent isn’t actually that bad.

      Sometimes people are assholes just because they can be.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.10   Dr.Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff

      Jodidi47 and Kermit -

      The difference between American jerk politicians and European jerk politicians is that American jerk politicians have both the tools and the willingness to do great harm, whereas the likes of Berlusconi have the willingness but not the tools. In a sense, Americans are victim of their own success.

      Mar 24, 2012 at 9:53 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.11   yeah

      I agree with number 2, but not with number 1. Most people know some phrases at least. Plus, it’s hard to speak a language well when you never get to practice it. The US is big, it’s not like Europe, where you can fairly easily take a train to another country.

      Mar 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.12   a-Arialist

      @tvelociraptor – this isn’t a comment against you, just a more broad wondering. You say your accent isn’t that bad, and I’d say my German accent isn’t that bad. But then, I listen to people speak English when it isn’t their first language, and the fact that they almost always have an accent to varying degrees. I’d bet, even though we think it isn’t, our accents probably are pretty bad.

      Mar 25, 2012 at 4:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.13   johnnyboy

      “I live in Canada. I can speak French. However, I can go into French parts of Canada and still be mocked mercilessly because my accent isn’t “right,” ”

      You’re either full of shit or can’t take a little teasing. I’m from (and live) in Montreal, and the standard etiquette here is that when an anglo addresses you in broken french, you switch to english if you can (which most can), or you keep to french out of curtesy, to ackowledge their efforts. Some people may have corrected your language errors to be helpful, which you took as ‘merciless mocking’. Maybe you met one asshole who may have poked fun at you, but then you’re generalizing this to everyone in ‘french canada’. Either way i’m calling your bullshit.

      Mar 26, 2012 at 8:30 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.14   Spooky

      …but that’s what most of the contributors are doing on this particular thread–generalizing about the “other.”

      Leads us nowhere, hmmm?

      Mar 26, 2012 at 11:45 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.15   Balabusta in Blue Jeans

      I think that Europeans tend not to know or care how other Europeans behave when abroad. That is to say, they act just like tourists–loud, obnoxious, entitled, naive, critical of local customs, and desperately needy. It’s not a uniquely American phenomenon, by any means. It’s just more of a PITA when it’s in your town.

      I try to behave well and blend in when travelling, but I am also not going to go around apologizing for Fred and Marge from Tucson, who always seem to be a step ahead of me, doing something atrocious. (Look, Marge didn’t know about the electrical current, and she didn’t plan to short out half of Rome. We’re sorry.)

      That said, I’ve had relatively little trouble with anti-American sentiment anywhere. People are generally nice.

      Apr 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #14   Christina

    Wow. I was just in Barca in early February, and I missed all that. What I did *not* miss was really good tempranillo. The Gaudi stuff is fab; but so is the Miro museum in Parc Montjuic and the port area near Geary’s fish. Check Atlas Obscura for a few POIs. You’ll have a blast!

    Mar 22, 2012 at 9:34 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   Noelegy

      I’ve never been to Barcelona. I’d love to go. My art history background, as well as the Alan Parsons Project album “Gaudi,” inspired that interest.

      But I guess my filthy turista dolares are better off spent somewhere else. :(

      Mar 26, 2012 at 1:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #15   Scott McD

    It is fair to note that finding some graffiti and P-A notes doesn’t make for an entire region’s people. Just like You Americans aren’t all fat cowboys!

    Mar 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.1   The Elf

      Have you been to Texas?

      Mar 23, 2012 at 7:59 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.2   Emily

      Have you seen George Strait? Thin cowboy.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 8:18 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.3   The Elf

      Have you seen Glen Campbell? Rhinestone cowboy.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 10:58 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.4   infanttyrone

      In my selfless dedication to research yesterday, while looking for hard-core sneeze porn, I found something called reverse cowboy.

      Thought it might be something like Zappa being a cowboy in Montana.
      Nope, wasn’t like that at all.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.5   Noelegy

      What’s your point about Texas?

      My beef with regard to my home state is that everyone who ever made a movie or TV show about Texas seems to think it’s ALL desert. Several years ago, a visiting manager from PA said to my department, “How can this be Texas? You have TREES!”

      I nearly howled with laughter when we went to see the first “X-Files” movie, and they plunked the Dallas skyline, standing alone, out in the middle of the desert.

      Mar 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #16   Renee

    I went to Barcelona a couple of years ago, i loved it :D everyone picked up that I was an aussie and were mostly really friendly (the dudes selling stuff were a little much ‘special aussie rate!’ etc.)

    not as friendly as the people in Japan though – you wouldn’t believe how many people stopped to help us in japan – and when they realised that we spoke a bit of Japanese it was even better (though really, they gave me more credit then I was due lol, def not fluent) I was happy when I was able to help some Japanese tourists in Akihabara locate a maid cafe – they didn’t speak english but turns out I knew enough Japaneses to direct them (the sushi guy they were asking for directions was trying to send them to the Gundam cafe, not exactly what they were looking for!). Apparently I am an ‘amazing foreigner’ for helping them out :)

    Mar 22, 2012 at 10:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   redheadwglasses

      I was in Taiwan for two weeks and the Taiwanese people were wonderful, helpful, charming, curious.

      Mar 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #17   Divya

    I’ve been in Barcelona, holidaying for a week. Loved the city – it is near the top of the cities I would love to go back to once I have seen all the places I want to. And the people were amazingly helpful, with a couple of exceptions – most of the exceptions were non-spanish. Btw, I am an Indian, and it was good fun to meet, on the very first day, a turkish worker in Barcelona who helped us around, just because he is a Bollywood fan :)

    Mar 22, 2012 at 11:09 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #18   Isabella

    I was on holiday there for two weeks and loved every minute. Every interaction I had with locals was really great. But I’m Canadian so everyone loves me anyway :)

    Mar 23, 2012 at 6:21 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.1   meeper

      I had a great holiday there too. And not once did I tell people that I was Canadian.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 11:59 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #19   Meg

    I’ve never quite understood people hating on tourists. Sure, they crowd up the metro/subway/etc, but they also put a lot of money into the economy. I’m from DC, and when I went back a few years ago, people gave me crap for being a ‘tourist’! I agree it’s nice to read up on local customs, how to work things like public transport, and if you don’t speak the language, to learn a few key phrases to get around. Otherwise, be happy people want to visit your city!

    Mar 23, 2012 at 6:40 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #20   Kate

    Wow, I live in a part of the world that really relies on the tourist dollar. It is sometimes taken somewhat ungratefully by certain members of the community, but I really cannot imagine what it is like to shun visitors completely. Go be a hermit in a cave if you can’t deal with strangers.

    Mar 23, 2012 at 6:47 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #21   Tiaras

    As a Spaniard who was born and lived for 20+ years on a bordering region to Catalunya (Barcelona being its capital city) I can sadly say that while some ‘catalans’ are chilled out, friendly and nice, most do have a way too high self-esteem. They do not hate only foreigners, they hate other Spaniards as well and have been trying to somehow segregate from the rest of the country for years. Speaking Spanish as a tourist in Barcelona doesn’t really help much, since they refuse to speak it themselves… Knowing a few basic words in catalan may help you, though. And good luck on renting an appartment! If you need any help, feel free to contact me, I love your site :)

    Mar 23, 2012 at 7:59 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #21.1   Marina

      I’m from Barcelona and you really shouldn’t belive all that stupid things they tell you on spanish media …. And yes we now want to break off form Spain but is mainly for the HUGE hate from Spaniards towards Catalans and not the other way around. I often travel to Mardid and Zaragoza for business and I am really amazed of the stupid hateful things people belive about us … like YOU: “Speaking Spanish as a tourist in Barcelona doesn’t really help much, since they refuse to speak it themselves…”????? Do you truly belive it? xD Oh, God ….

      Apr 4, 2012 at 2:06 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #22   The Elf

    I’m fascinated that despite all the nationalism, these signs are in English. I guess it really isn’t *all* tourists that bother them, just English-speaking ones!

    Mar 23, 2012 at 8:04 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #23   Kristen

    I’m an American living in Barcelona with my husband (who is from here). This is one of the reasons we are leaving and moving to the US. I can tell you I’ve been here for almost 5 years and the only friends I’ve made are other foreigners-Catalan people in general are not open AT ALL. Thankfully my husband and his family are wonderful, kind people, but I can’t say that for society as a whole here. Even my husband says that Barcelona would be “one of the best places in the world EXCEPT for the people”.

    And by the way, do these idiots who put up these signs have ANY IDEA how much money tourism brings into the city/country in general? How would the hotels/restaurants/shops survive without the infusion of tourists’ money?

    Mar 23, 2012 at 10:24 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #23.1   ariane

      I’ve lived in Spain for over 30 years. Don’t worry, most Spaniards are not enamored of Catalanes either. They’re arrogant to Spaniards as well as other nationalities, to the point that Barca’s football players used to toss one-peseta coins at players of other teams before matches, as if tossing a coin to a beggar. They want independence? Let them have it! Sure they have manufacturing, but if they have to pay tariffs on raw materials and to sell their stuff to Spain, they won’t be able to compete with other nations. And BTW–Cataluña has never historically been a “sovereign nation.” Never. Not even in the Middle Ages.

      Mar 25, 2012 at 11:17 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #23.2   Marina

      Really people do belive such stupid things ……. “to the point that Barca’s football players used to toss one-peseta coins at players of other teams before matches, as if tossing a coin to a beggar” …………
      And, yes Catalonia has been a soverign country do your homework better.

      Apr 4, 2012 at 2:11 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #24   Patty

    Well, I don’t think they are against tourists per se. We do have a similar “problem” here in Berlin. Tourists renting apartements in so-called fashionable districts are forcing out original inhabitants, as well as the students and artists who make areas attractive.
    Continually, there have been several complaints from residents of apartment buildings, in which single units were rented to continuously changing tenants.

    Mar 23, 2012 at 10:26 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #24.1   Rebecca

      Speaking of Berlin, I’m living in one of those districts that got “fashionable” recently for 14 years now. And I’m just viewing in disgust how the “climate” here changed over time. It’s not about Americans or Canadians, it’s about people who lack basic social skills while being abroad. The more tourists the more you get in touch with those retards. I understand the anger completely and I try to stay reasonable – but in the end the “it’s all about the money”-phrase doesn`t help at all, when you have to deal with those stupid, ignorant, ruthless hordes.

      Mar 24, 2012 at 5:54 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #25   yolanda

    So pick another destination when planning a trip, Spain doesn’t want tourism. Fair enough, really, because tourism may be an industry with income, but it certainly has got some huge drawbacks for the people providing the services and living in the area. Unmanaged tourism brings litter, unruly behaviour (tourists on vacation with less inhibitions), criminals looking for victims, and a class system wherein the visitors are a privileged class even above landowners and professionals. Then of course there’s the issues brought up on that succinct sheet of real estate values, speculation, and wiping out local customs and culture. The culture becomes watered down to dishes and costumes and dances without the depth of tradition behind it.

    Mar 23, 2012 at 10:55 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #26   Hastor

    For everyone that doesn’t understand the dislike of tourists, and say that they need the tourist money, etc…. you need to look a little deeper. Cancun has the same problem. The people that live there are poor, all the places that get tourist money don’t actually live there. The places they did live, they can no longer afford due to the demand from tourists from out of town for them. The only jobs become working for a lowly wage for the rich people that most likely live in other places such as the US. Good luck starting your own business when all the chains have moved in and brought employees with them.

    When tourism is handled well, it can help the locals. Florida benefits a lot from this, though a lot of good jobs have been created from it for the locals. Places like this and Cancun, any well paying job has someone flown in from elsewhere, leaving everyone local with a low pay job if any, and unable to afford the house or apt they once afforded, because the value has skyrocketed due to the same tourist attractions that are keeping them poor.

    This is a very simplified take on the overall issue, but there is a reason some areas don’t like tourists. They may not be handling it in the best way, and this may not be the entire problem, but there is a story behind the disliking of tourists.

    Mar 23, 2012 at 11:42 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #26.1   babyeinstein

      good lord i had to get 26 comments in before somebody FINALLY said that. thank you.

      Apr 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #27   HomagetoCatalonia

    The first notice is in Barceloneta, a neighbourhood of Barcelona by the beach where local people who have lived there for generations are having to move out because they are priced out, and developers buy up flats to rent as holiday homes. It’s good if visitors to the city can educate themselves about the dynamics here, and contribute in a positive way; if Barcelona is turned into a shitty tourist Disneyland then lots of you wouldn’t want to visit any more anyway.

    There’s a video about it here:

    “Without community the modern world is a lonely place.”

    PS The tourist / terrorist notices are painted up by an anarchist squat. They probably won’t like you whatever you do, I’m afraid. Maybe grow punk mullets and give them beer?

    Mar 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #28   crystal

    I’m really grossed out by all of the entitlement flying around in the comments here today.

    This is a real problem. Not just in Barcelona, but in places all over the world–including in America. But who cares if people are losing their homes, right? As long as you get to feel “welcome” and enjoy your nice, privileged vacation? Gross.

    Mar 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #29   Dan

    I saw this sign when I was there.I think its in Barceloneta, the small community by the water.

    Mar 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #30   Abba Bryant

    So, what they are really trying to say is:

    “We are bitter that our economy is failing and our own socio-cultural fabric is so fucked up that even local Catalan Spaniards are screwing over the people who live in these neighborhoods.

    So, tourists, please stay home so that you don’t happen to unintentionally over-incentivize the short term gain of jacking our rent up by offering to pay the owner’s of our properties more than we can afford.

    Since we obviously can’t refuse the lure of your easy dollars would you mind just staying home so we can bask in our own self-righteousness and pompous inability to control our own culture of greed.

    Really, we much prefer to have a completely collapsed economy without any infusion of your dirty American money – we are perfectly capable of being greedy dicks without your help.


    Mar 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #31   Abba Bryant

    Hey if tourism is ruining your local economy then your local property owners who don’t give two shits about locals and instead prioritize profit are to blame.

    Tourists, by the nature of their … touring … can’t help but pay the local demand rate. If the propery owners charged what locals paid, or simply said no to renting properties when a local could be using the space instead there wouldn’t be an issue.

    You can’t really knock the general tourist for utilizing what is offered at the rate quoted them. If those rates are unfair to indigenous or local people then blame the landowners, hotels, shop keepers etc.

    If *it* wasn’t available to a tourist because *it* isn’t fair to someone living in the community to offer it to someone not from the area then I flat wouldn’t be able to use/acquire/buy/rent *it*.

    Odds are if *it* wasn’t even available, then I would never know I couldn’t have *it*.

    *it* = anything – stuff, space, time, services etc.

    tl;dr – Spaniards – blaming tourists for their own greedy landowners.

    Mar 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #31.1   kermit

      Abba – I doubt you would be making the same argument about landowners and poor people if you were talking about affordable housing vs. gentrified neighbourhoods in the US.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 7:13 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #31.2   Abba Bryant

      Really? The argument is the same – Gentrification is a free-market response to landowners giving in to increased demand for their property.

      If the landowner here said no to renting/selling a property to an out-of-towner and arranged for it to be sold to a local for a price they could afford then it wouldn’t happen here either.

      It’s greed. Plain and simple. Although comparing neighborhood’s migrating around is different than tourism as gentrification tends to be at least a somewhat localized phenomena. None of the tourists mentioned here are visiting Barcelona and buying their lodging outright.

      Apples to apples, oranges to oranges and Gentrification != Tourism.

      Mar 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #31.3   kermit

      Not everything is about the “free” market, man. Poor people do have a right to affordable housing, and shouldn’t be forced out of their homes because the landlord decided to raise the rent.

      Landlords lobby the heck out of politicians for favourable tax rates, weasel out of slum lord charges and many other things that are not free market at all. So in exchange for this favortism, I don’t rent controls and affordable housing zoning laws – for which landlords get subsidies and tax breaks – is too much to ask.

      Mar 26, 2012 at 2:29 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #31.4   Abba Bryant

      And you keep arguing with me while making my point.

      It has nothing to do with the tourist. If the landlord was an altruistic person, instead of a greedy one then they wouldn’t pursue the tax breaks, profit and politics at the expense of poor tenants.

      If the landlords didn’t want the money more than they want to treat people fairly there would be no tax breaks, legislation requiring rent-controls, low income housing etc. Those items aren’t “free market” values but are definitely an artifact of it.

      Live by the dollar, die by the dollar.

      Mar 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #31.5   kermit

      To a person that’s getting pushed out of their home, it makes no difference if their eviction notice and/or rent hike is because the landlord wants to cater to tourists or yuppies. Either way, they have to move.

      And the scarcity of affordable housing and rent-controlled apartments, and prevalence of slum lords just shows that people with access to lobbyists win. If they wanted to “live by the dollar and die by the dollar”, they wouldn’t be spending their profits on getting laws that favour them, and they’d be returning any government subsidies. Funny how they don’t.

      Mar 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #31.6   Abba Bryant

      They don’t because they looked at the cost vs. benefit of doing so and figured out that — surprise! — they make more money when the subsidies and lobbyists are on their side.

      Again, profit driven.

      If those same people had a social conscience this would be a moot point.

      Again, I ask – where is your argument? You keep responding to me as if you are countering some point I made – with evidence for my side of the argument.

      I am not advocating this behavior, nor am I abdicating my responsibility for my own behavior when I travel. I am just pointing the finger at the source of the problem. Which isn’t tourism, or tourists, or rent-control, or housing subsidies, or gentrification but a fundamental problem of greed.

      The issue is simple. Landowners in tourist destinations with temporary or short-term housing stand to make more money from the non-locals than they do from locals. They see this profit potential and screw their own community in the process. Once that is done, there is no blame to be laid at the feet of the tourism industry. We (as tourists) don’t have a say in what is being offered to us for lodging nor do we usually have the cultural perspective or resources to change the problem after the fact.

      The solution to this scenario is easy – teach people to have more respect for national pride, local ownership and disincentivize the housing industry practices that allows this to happen.

      These people have politicians, home owners associations, tenant’s rights groups, housing authorities etc. at their disposal. That those entities would rather side with the greater income stream than the lesser is **NOT MY PROBLEM**NOR MY FAULT**

      Mar 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #31.7   kermit

      Dude, I have no idea how any of this rant of yours has any relevance to the discussion. But since you seem to be having fun, go on and have that conversation by yourself.

      Mar 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #31.8   Abba Bryant

      Really, explaining how the subsidies continue to exists due to the increase in value the people who take advantage of them can generate in response to you claiming the existence of such entities means it isn’t a free market issue isn’t a valid response to your statement about that very thing?

      Weird. I thought a response directly to your comment with references discussing what you had previously said was the definition of “on topic”.

      But now we’re arguing over who is arguing, and about what. Meta argument is where I bow out.

      Mar 28, 2012 at 6:06 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #32   Kaytie

    And yet, we Americans are constantly told that WE are the xenophobes… *shakes head*

    Mar 23, 2012 at 8:07 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #32.1   derpusherpus

      Judging by how long it took for someone to actually pay attention to the real problem behind them not liking tourism to still be dismissed by most, yes you are.

      Mar 23, 2012 at 10:10 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #32.2   The Elf

      The alternative to tourism is often bankruptcy. For some cities, there are alternate industries that are strong enough to keep the local economy going. For others, not so much. Depends on the city. So pick your poison.

      I don’t know about Barecelona, but DC would be a radically different city without tourist dollars. It would also be completely on the federal government (taxpayers), and that carries a stiff price of its own. I think I’d rather be stopped three times a day to give directions to the Air And Space Museum than have blocks of empty storefronts, restaurants that cater only to the power lunch crowd, and complete dependency on the whims of Congress.

      Mar 24, 2012 at 8:48 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #33   VM

    Oddly enough, the only anti-American grumbling I heard in Barcelona was from fellow tourists — a couple of Kiwis on the bus who complained out of nowhere about how Americans make pizza (the ingredients SHOUT at each other) and impugned American football players’ manliness because they wore helmets and padding.

    Mar 24, 2012 at 2:52 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #33.1   a-Arialist

      Have to agree on the pizza comment – American pizza is not, IMHO, pizza. Proper Italian pizza is very delicious and really not that unhealthy. American pizza, on the other hand…

      Mar 25, 2012 at 5:05 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #34   Trixie

    I think that you all need to stop trying to either:

    a) throw a pity party for yourself and whatever country you came from. If you give me some coffee though, I’ll gladly listen to your problems with tourists or why you think Catalans are arrogant.

    b) argue with everybody else on this post (yes, I KNOW that you are so much more culturally diverse/smarter/cooler/better than everybody else commenting, it’s okay to be special.)

    c) pretending that you are the only person who lives in a tourist city- yes people DO travel to places other than where you live. Shocking right?

    I just think we all need to sit back from our keyboards and chill out. Why does “national pride” always need to ruin a good post? These comments are starting to remind me of youtube- a place where trolls make up about 85% of the commenters.

    For the record: I understand what all of you are saying-
    I am from Ogunquit, Maine, USA, and our streets and beaches are filled with tourists all summer and some of the spring and autumn. They can be slow moving and annoying at times, but if you’re rude to the tourists, they obviously won’t come back, and tourists are literally the only customers of MANY stores here. So if any of you ever stop by, feel free to bask in our kindness (okay that was pretty conceited right there, just come and enjoy our adorable town).

    Mar 24, 2012 at 7:21 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #35   Robyn Rocket

    Go to Japan! I only knew the very basic Japanese, but I found so many people who enjoyed conversing in English! Japan is where it is at. The people are all lovely and considerate. Just do not go in summer or early fall, the heat is unbearable. I used the word “Atsui” (hot) about a hundred times lol And they will laugh if you are sweaty. If you go and it is warm, buy one of the little handtowels they sell everywhere–it is for sweat! And if you wear anything without sleeves or showing any cleavage, boy will they stare. Plus, my husband and I are quite tall, so a pair of sweaty, scantily clad, ignorant godzilla tourists were still warmly received there. Don’t go to Europe. Go to Japan. (plus, they need the revenue since the tsunami!)

    Mar 25, 2012 at 6:14 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #35.1   kermit

      How odd. I would understand conservative dress if you’re going to a temple or a museum, but just for walking around in the streets?

      I’ve never been to Japan but I have had Japanese room-mates. They wore plenty of sleeveless tops and tops that showed cleavage, and I’m pretty sure most of them were purchased from Japan.

      Mar 25, 2012 at 12:08 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #35.2   infanttyrone

      Just an idea…
      Out-of-towners generally tend to get noticed by locals.
      Cleavage is a nearly universal attractor, at least for straight men.
      So a female tourist may encounter an eyeball version of a tractor beam
      but a local won’t warrant more than a casual glance.

      Mar 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #35.3   Robyn Rocket

      lol It was very odd to us that in such hot, humid weather no one else was dressed in breezy attire. Perhaps it is because we mostly looked around on the trains. And as far as getting looks, they were never directed at my chest; I think it was the combination of all of our weird traits. :) (btw: We backpacked across Middle and Southern Japan, September 2007 <3)

      Mar 25, 2012 at 5:12 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #35.4   Noelegy

      To 35.1: I went to Mexico in 1985 with a group of students from my Spanish class. My teacher warned the female members of the group beforehand that when we were in Mexico City, not to wear shorts or jeans or short skirts, because not only would the locals assume we were prostitutes, they’d just come up and ask how much we charged!

      Mar 26, 2012 at 1:57 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #36   Ugly American Too

    Well, the comments to this blog certainly prove that we are ugly Americans …

    Mar 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #37   zomboid

    spanish tourists are assholes, they flood dublin every summer and crowd every street in the city being loud and obnoxious, so to sum up: fuck you, spain.

    Mar 27, 2012 at 9:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #38   spainisdumb

    If their “socio-cultural fabric” is so easily torn, i think it would be on its way out regardless of tourism. Also, if they want to keep it together so badly maybe they should stop moving out of their own homes and work together to repair the said damage instead of abandoning it and allowing this tear (which they are likely imagining) to completely be reality. morons.

    Mar 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #38.1   Abba Bryant

      Also, when you offer your culture up for consumption as a commodity you effectively merge your previous cultural fabric with the emerging culture that happens as a result.

      Don’t want to lose your culture then don’t invite people to come dilute it.

      Don’t sell your apartment to a real-estate speculator so they can turn it into time-shares.

      Don’t plug a McDonald’s onto a corner in Las Ramblas.

      Don’t move your family out of your home for 2 months so you can rent it on for more than you pay in rent for the other 10 months out of the year.

      * Instead *

      Tell the speculators no.

      Stay in your home, and decide you would rather not have the extra cash subletting it would provide.

      Encourage couchsurfing/room sharing/ scenarios where tourists might have a chance to sit down and absorb some local culture from the source.

      Campaign for laws to discourage speculation and commercialization of the local housing market.

      And for the love of God, please stop building McDonald’s.

      As a previous commenter noted: The first image is from an Anarchist squat in Barcelonetta. If their social fabric was so badly torn I can guarantee there would be nowhere anarchist squatters could hang such a sign in that neighborhood. I have been there, rented housing there and dealt with the people there.

      The funny thing about this is – when I visited Barcelona in 2003 the only overpriced lodging I could find were hotels – which by their nature are aimed at travelers. The cheap housing I ended up in instead? Presented to me by a local, encouraged to be used by other locals and the money I paid for staying there…also went to a local property owner.

      All in all, except the few nationalists the people were amazing and friendly and grateful for the commerce.

      Mar 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #39   Laura C.

    Hahaha, I have my own version of a tourist-hate photo!

    It was taken when I studied abroad in Venice, and we saw “kill the tourist” graffitied onto a wall. Priceless.

    Mar 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #40   Julie Sheridan

    I’ve been living in Barcelona for a year now, and I’ve never seen signs like this anywhere. But it is really hard here as an outsider (and I work full time for a Spanish company, speaking Spanish all day). The problem isn’t so much my white skin, blue eyes and red hair making me a target as an obvious tourist, but more that when I do mix with locals, they’re pissed off I’m here speaking Castilian and not Catalan. Barca as a foreigner ain’t easy!

    Apr 1, 2012 at 5:14 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #40.1   sarah

      I lived in Tarragona, just south of Barca, and when I had been there about 3 or 4 months I went into a bakery and ordered a sandwich in Spanish. She asked in Catalan why I wasn’t speaking Catalan so I said ‘I have been here only 3 months and I am learning Spanish.’ to which she rolled her eyes and walked away. Not everyone is like this, but no, it’s not easy!

      Apr 3, 2012 at 11:36 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #41   Biff

    Balabusta in Blue Jeans is totally right about tourists in general. Want to see European sh!t heels acting like the obnoxious jerks they claim to despise? Go to Thailand. You’ll see European buffoonery on parade like spring break in Cancun but with more child rape.

    Apr 3, 2012 at 12:17 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #42   sarah

    I do feel a little for their plight…..But personally I don’t know how Barca aren’t doing better at seeming like a crappy tourist destination. You could go to Madrid which [in my humblest of opinions] looks nicer and the people are infinitely friendlier. Or other parts of Spain which are just as beautiful and much less expensive. You probably won’t be robbed by light-fingered Catalans either, result!

    Apr 3, 2012 at 11:33 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #43   Marina

    I’m from Barcelona and I have to say that there are tourists … and there are tourists. There is a lot of people that when going to a foreign country they suddenly forget their manners … There are tourists that spend all their vacations getting drunk and pissing on the street … obviously NOT ALL tourists do that. There are locals who are rude, obviously NOT ALL locals are rude. In fact MOST of them (tourists/locals) does not but you know, people always remebers the bad exception…
    I’m going to tell you one “terror” story about tourists. A saturday when I was going back home from a party late at night I found an English tourist pissing on the metro platform (and I mean ON the metro platform not even from the metro platfom at the rails …). I’ve been severals times to London and I never ever have seen anyone doing that nor I think all English tourists decide to piss on metro platforms all over the world. But yet it happend and somehow if I tell you that you can get the impression that that is what always happens.

    I’ve got a friend that lived in the city center in a shared flat with other fellow university students. It was very close to their university. Three years ago the owner decided that he could get more money renting the flat for days to tourists and increased their rent x3. They had to shearch something else far away from the university. It wasn’t a big deal because they were students. But what about if they had been a family living there for all their life?

    Apr 4, 2012 at 2:47 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #43.1   Marina

      So if you someone is being rude with you:

      a) he is plain rude
      b) maybe you are the one being rude

      In both cases it is probably an exception. That applys to any tourist destination. First time I was in London I was on a trip with fellow students from an English school in Hastings. There where Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Brazilians, Frenchs, Germans and Mexicans. One of them stand on the left of the escalator and was loudly amonested by locals. He thought locals were rude whereas locals thought he was the one being rude.

      Apr 4, 2012 at 3:05 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #44   anna

    The very best one I saw in Barcelona a couple of years ago: “If it’s called ‘tourist season’, why can’t we shoot them?” :)

    Apr 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up


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