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‘I’m from the UK and live in Mallorca

An expat living in Spain has spoken out against the “anti-tourist” sentiment being portrayed about holidaymakers and says the protests are not aimed at them, but the wider issues affecting residents.

Alexandra Smith, 52, who is originally from Dorset and has been living in Mallorca since 2005, told i Spanish locals are upset by media coverage suggesting that islanders don’t want tourists, and insists: “Tourists are not the problem and everyone is very welcome here in Mallorca.”

“Some of the media has sensationalised things and built up an image to make it sound like people are being heckled and booed in the streets and driven off the island.

“This is absolutely not the case and tourists are very welcome and people should not feel scared about coming here on holiday or be put off by what they have seen in some of the mainstream media as it just isn’t accurate reporting.”

Protests have been taking place across the Balearic Islands against “overtourism” with some residents calling for action for locals to occupy beaches this weekend ahead of a planned mass demonstration on 16 June.

But Ms Smith explained the protests are about wider issues such as locals finding it difficult to find somewhere to live affordably on the island, traffic congestion and overtourism, rather than aimed at tourists in general.

She adds: “People are not against the tourists who are coming here and spending their money enjoying the island. The issues being raised are about the way tourism has spiralled over the years and about wanting measures in place to tackle this.

“The main issue apart from the issues surrounding accommodation is too much tourism and things like too many hire cars on the road causing traffic problems.

“But any problems we have are not the fault of tourists and I want to be absolutely clear on that.”

Ms Smith, who worked for an accommodation provider tourism business for 15 years in Mallorca, runs the YouTube channel Mallorca Under the Sun, which gives holiday advice and travel tips to people wanting to holiday in Mallorca.

She told i the overwhelming majority of residents are extremely welcoming of tourists and are upset to think that UK holidaymakers may feel fearful of coming there because they are worried they won’t be welcome.

“We don’t want people who are spending their hard earned money to come to the island on holiday to feel intimidated and upset or feel that they won’t be welcome here because that simply isn’t the case,” she said.

“We want people to come to the island, we want them to have a good time and enjoy themselves and to know they won’t be heckled in the streets.

“I film across the island in many of the towns and resorts and all I see is happy tourists enjoying their holiday.

“This is not about a problem with tourists. It is a problem from the top down with those making the decisions and about people wanting measures to be put into place.

“Measures have been put into place in places like Calvia where Magaluf is, with restrictions of the sale of alcohol from supermarkets from 9.30pm to 8am in the Magaluf strip area and the area near the airport.

Alexandra Smith, who is originally from Dorset and has been living in Mallorca since 2005, says residents "don't hate tourists" and that they are very much welcome on the island (Photo: supplied by Alexandra Smith)
Palmanova Beach in Mallorca (Photo: Alexandra Smith)

“But apart from that, everyone is welcome and people definitely don’t hate tourists.

“There will probably be ongoing protests throughout the summer and of course, not everybody is going to feel the same. There may be a small fraction of people who are against tourists, but the overwhelming feeling from most of us here is that tourists are very much welcome in Mallorca and we want them to keep coming here.”

Scores of protesters occupied a beach in a Mallorca on Saturday in the latest demonstration against overtourism which they claim is pushing up rents for residents and straining public services.

Demonstrators converged on the resort of Colonia De Sant Jordi, east of the island’s capital, Palma de Mallorca.

Last month, workers on the Spanish island of Ibiza complained of having to “hotbed” in rooms of up to six bunks while residents are forced to live in caravans due to soaring accommodation costs pushed up by mass tourism, say campaigners.

They took to the streets of the island protest against the huge influx of visitors, which they claim is pricing locals and workers out of the island.

Activist Xaquelina Perry, who is originally from Wolverhampton but has lived on the island for 40 years, said the protests were not anti-tourism on Ibiza but rather a call for it to be managed better.

Ms Perry, who is part of the campaign group Prou Ibiza, told i: “We are not saying we don’t want tourists, what we want is to change the model of tourism. We want people to come here to enjoy our beautiful villages, our beautiful coves, our beautiful beaches.”

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