Locals on the sunshine island of Mallorca made a bizarre move in a war on tourists by putting up fake warnings at popular beauty spots.
Activists known as “caterva” took the stand against a tide of tourists who they believe are putting their Spanish idyll at risk.
Signs written in English at some of the island’s beaches warn of dangerous jellyfish and falling rocks or tell visitors that no swimming is allowed.
Beneath the signs’ warnings, and also translated into Catalan, were messages telling those reading them the problem isn’t rockfall, waves or stinging marine creatures but mass tourism.
Barbs included “the problem isn’t rockfall, it’s mass tourism” as well as statements in Catalan saying the beach is “open, except for foreigners and jellyfish”, according to Forbes magazine.
Millions of tourists descend on Mallorca each year, with more than two million hailing from the UK and 3.9 million from Germany in 2022, according to Statista.
Another 1.8 million visitors to the island were from Spain, of which Mallorca is a part, in the same year.
Projections for 2023 suggested tourist numbers could have been even higher than the 16 million seen in 2022.
Officials on the island introduced a number of measures to address concerns over tourism, including some targeting rowdy behaviour, but Caterva activists felt forced to take matters into their own hands.
Limits on alcohol and bans on smoking on beaches have been brought in by island authorities, but Caterva’s campaign reignited debate over mass tourism and its impacts.
Mallorca is not the only popular holiday destination to take steps to address concerns about tourist numbers.
Venice is piloting a £4.35 (five euro) “tourist tax” where day trippers having to pay to enter the old city area, but not smaller islands in the region.
People who are staying in Venice for a night or more won’t have to pay the fee, which is being trialled at peak visitor periods.
Amsterdam, Lanzarote, Bali, Barcelona and Santorini also have plans to tackle excessive tourist numbers.