The stunning Spanish city of San Sebastian, located in Europe, plans to ban the development of new hotels. Despite having one of the oldest cultures in Europe, the city is nonetheless overrun with visitors and experiences overtourism. The government intends to prohibit the construction of new hotels and restrict the number of visitors.
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To encourage sustainable tourism, the government intends to ban the construction of any new hotels or vacation rentals. However, it’s hardly the first place in Europe to make such a significant choice.
2018 saw Palma de Mallorca become the first Spanish city to outlaw Airbnbs, ahead of San Sebastian. Florence, Italy, likewise said in 2023 that it would not allow any more Airbnbs. Additionally, stag and hen dos were outlawed in Seville. Additionally, a few of locations request that visitors avoid them.
The city of San Sebastian has designated some areas as “saturated,” according to Mayor Eneko Goia. The mayor claims that there is an abundance of vacation rentals available in the city for visitors.
The city’s General Urban Planning Plan, a report on the condition of the city, also demonstrated the detrimental effects of tourism, such as a sharp drop in the standard of cuisine and culture.
Overtourism has even made city dwellers sick. Graffiti with anti-tourism slogans like “go home” is being put up on bridges and landmarks. With these steps, the city hopes to transform the area significantly and attempt to make it livable for residents.
Many beautiful museums can be found in San Sebastián, such as the Chillida-Leku Museum, which honors the well-known Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida, and the San Telmo Museoa, which displays Basque history and culture.
Modernist, contemporary, and Belle Époque architectural designs are among the city’s well-known architectural styles. Famous buildings in the city with diverse architectural styles include the Victoria Eugenia Theatre and the Kursaal Congress Centre.