It’s to make life better for locals (Picture: Getty Images)
With it’s mix of city and sea, San Sebastian in the Basque Country of Spain attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.
But it seems you can have too much of a good thing and now, the city is cracking down on the number of visitors by banning hotels.
Hotels that already exist and run will be allowed to continue, but anyone hoping to build a new one will have their dreams dashed.
Any new tourist apartments – like Airbnb – are being banned too, with only existing ones allowed to remain in operation.
City officials want tourism to be more sustainable in the area, so don’t worry, tourists aren’t be culled completely – the goal is to make the city better for its residents, and limit tourist numbers, especially at peak times.
In July 2022, visitor numbers to hotel establishments in the Basque Country rose by 31.2% and overnight stays by 34.8%, according to Eustat.
A popular tourist destination (Picture: Getty Images)
If anything, the new approach might make for a better holiday, with fewer tourists and more authentic experiences.
This new approach isn’t the first of its kind. Palma de Mallorca was the first city in Spain to ban Airbnbs in 2018.
Florence, Italy, also banned new Airbnbs and short term lets this year.
Back in Spain, stag and hen dos are now banned in Seville.
In Amsterdam, after years of talks of crackdowns on ‘weed’ tourism, this summer the rule finally came in which meant tourists can’t use soft drugs in the city centre.
As for San Sebastian, the city’s mayor, Eneko Goia, said that some of the city’s areas will be declared as ‘saturated’.
He believes there’s enough holiday accommodation available.
It’s hoped new regulations will help disgruntled locals, as anti-tourism graffiti has popped up in the city, with messages such as ‘go home’ appearing in tourist spots.
On top of this, the General Urban Planning Plan, a report on the state of the city, said tourism in the area has resulted in a decline in the quality of food and culture.
We can’t blame them for wanting to curb our influence a little.
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Anti-tourism graffiti has popped up in the city, with messages such as ‘go home’ appearing in tourist spots.