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Spain Residents Hate Tourism Spike, Clamor For Refugees

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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While most European countries are struggling to cough up funds for refugee resettlement, Spain is complaining about a spike in tourism accompanying the migrant crisis.

Traditional tourist hotspots such as Greece, Turkey and Egypt are seeing less tourism as a result of terrorism and migration. This has sparked an unprecedented boom in bookings on the island of Mallorca, Spain, but the locals hate it.

Graffiti saying “Refugees welcome, go home tourists” and “tourists are terrorists” can be spotted around the island as it prepares for a record summer.

“You abuse the resources of Mallorca,” a local said, according to German magazine Stern.

“Mass tourism keeps us up at night,” a woman added.

Mallorca is expecting a 16.5 percent increase in tourists on the island compared to 2015, which was also a record-breaking year. Tourism brings in more than $13 billion each year and provides 150,000 jobs.

Biel Barcelo, the deputy head of the regional government, is faced with an unusual situation for a politician. His constituents are demanding that he stop a policy that brings more money and jobs to the island than it has ever seen before.

Barcelo told Stern that he works to combat mass tourism and strive for more “sustainable tourism.”

Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city, is also furious about the lack of refugees. The city prepared 50 locations for refugee to stay at last summer. Under a campaign called “Barcelona Refugee City,” it was ready to take 2,749 refugees. By the end of February, just 18 had arrived in all of Spain, and the refugee shelters remained empty in Barcelona.

“This fills us with rage,” Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, told AFP in February. “The city is ready at the technical level, all our services are ready and residents are waiting with open arms. But they don’t arrive.”

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