13 Aug, 2015
Can tourism be too much of a good thing? When all the undoubted benefits are outweighed by the sheer aggravation, when numbers and money, the measurable things, are eclipsed by less quantifiable downsides, such as congestion, jobs that remain low-paid and insecure, and a deterioration in life quality for permanent residents?
One European city thinks so, and is daring to challenge the conventional wisdom that tourism is the bright white hope of a modern economy. The new Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, was elected with a mandate to clip the mighty tourist industry’s wings. The last straw for residents, it seems, was the large number of young visitors fuelling a night-time economy deemed ever more antisocial. That, and the magnet that favourite areas of the city offered to petty criminals who saw tourists as easy prey.