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'Ibiza can't take it anymore': Spanish island plans mass tourism protest

Alex Dunham
Alex Dunham - [email protected]
'Ibiza can't take it anymore': Spanish island plans mass tourism protest
Ibiza reached a record population of 375.000 between tourists and residents in August 2023. Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP

The Balearic island of Ibiza is the next place in Spain planning protests against the current tourism model and the problems it’s causing locals, following mass demonstrations in the Canary Islands and a rally set to take place in Málaga.

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Residents in the Mediterranean island of Ibiza are planning to take to the streets at 8pm on May 24th to call on authorities to act on the impact tourism is having on locals' living standards.  

It started with calls online to “imitate the protests that took place in the Canaries” in April, with many ibicencos (Ibiza locals) feeling that the issues that Ibiza faces as an island that welcomes the rich and famous are even worse than those of the Atlantic Archipelago. 

Already high rents throughout the year skyrocket during the summer when wealthy revellers flock to the party island, to the point where many hospitality workers are forced to live in caravans or tents, or spend huge amounts on just a room. 

READ ALSO: Spain's Balearics struggle to fill job vacancies due to exorbitant rents    

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Under the slogan “Ibiza stands up”, protest organisers Prou Ibiza have called for a series of measures such as a moratorium on new tourist accommodation on the tiny island, incentives for hoteliers who reduce the number of existing beds, as well as protection mechanisms for residents and a crackdown on speculative rents.

Other proposals include limiting the entry of external vehicles and rental cars, private planes and cruise ships. The neighbouring quieter island of Formentera has already limited the entrance of non-resident vehicles, and Ibiza’s government is considering doing the same during the summer months. 

Ibiza received almost a million tourists in 2023, a 10 percent increase compared to the previous year. 

The island’s resident population is also growing as a whole - around 152,000 in 2023 - but it’s during the busy summer months that it more than doubles, reaching a record population of 375,000 between tourists and residents last August. 

This all puts increasing pressure on Ibiza’s limited housing and space.

“It is fundamental to achieve a balance between residents and tourists and that’s why we believe the legitimate voices of the people of Ibiza can guarantee a sustainable future for all,” Prou Ibiza said in a statement. 

They’re “encouraging families, young people, adults, everyone who appreciates a respectful life and who wants to be treated with respect to attend the rally so that authorities can truly feel the pressure that makes us say: Ibiza can’t take it anymore!”.

Ibiza is the third place in Spain where disgruntled residents will or have spoken out en masse against an outdated mass tourism model which no longer benefits them economically and is in fact contributing to them being priced out of their own neighbourhoods. 

Following the protests which saw tens of thousands of people take to the streets of the eight Canary Islands, locals in Málaga on the Costa del Sol are also set to protest in June.

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