Jaded travellers who previously thought they had seen and done everything have discovered an exciting new travel experience this summer in angry marches against tourism. Many are now flocking to the hotbeds of this anger, such as Venice, Barcelona and Dubrovnik, to experience it in the flesh.
‘The rubber-necking hordes of oiks along the Ramblas are so ghastly, constantly taking selfies and feeding pigeons,’ said Nigel Walker, an investment banker who is staying in a flat in the Old City of Barcelona that he rented on Airbnb. ‘The march I joined through the back streets of the Eixample district was so much more authentic.’
With tourists outnumbering residents by twenty to one at the height of the summer season, ever increasing amounts of residential space in certain Mediterranean cities are being given over to tourism, squeezing out the less well-off locals. Many have become angry and taken to the streets to demand that action be taken.
‘By writing a sign in big red letters and walking at the front of the parade, I felt so much more part of things than I would have if I had just gone to the Doge’s Palace,’ agreed Henrietta Forbes, a PR company executive from Chelsea whose family are staying in an 18th century palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice. ‘The locals were so colourful and, you know the Italians, they get so noisy and passionate about things.’
‘It also gave me the chance to try out my two dozen words of Italian and they certainly appreciated the effort I made. In fact, I think one particularly voluble chap recommended some little known local dishes to me. I really must try Vaffanculo and Figlia di Puttana when I get home – I’m sure Waitrose must do them.’