Published On: Sun, Apr 14th, 2024

‘I live in beautiful European city but tourists have ruined it just like Barcelona’ | Travel News | Travel

Lisbon is a “sad shadow” of what it used to be and is following in the footsteps of Barcelona, a local has claimed. The capital of Portugal is a top holiday destination, with the country itself seeing more than 18 million foreign foreign tourists in 2023, beating its 2019 pre-COVID 19 record.

Spain’s second largest city welcomed 12 million people last year, sparking tensions with some locals and debate about overtourism. On Reddit, one resident said Barcelona had become an amusement park made for tourists while another has said Lisbon has suffered a similar fate.

User PortugueseRoamer wrote on the platform: “As a Lisbon native, Lisbon is quickly following [in] the [foot]steps of Barcelona.

“It has lost character and it is a sad shadow of what it used to be as locals are kicked out and the culture is watered down to a theme park and with the same feel of any other city in the world.”

The Reddit user added: “Lisbon and Barcelona are still my favourite cities and both local Catalan and Portuguese culture… should be preserved and brought back into these cities.”

Fellow Reddit user, commenting from an account named Pilo_ane, wrote in response that the northwest Portuguese city of Porto is also “unfortunately going that way”.

Another user of the platform said “excessive” tourism is an issue, but it’s not as bad as gentrification, when expats arrive en masse with big foreign salaries and local house prices “skyrocket so fast” locals are driven out of their neighbourhoods.

Nevertheless, tourism is a key element of Portugal’s economy and accounted for almost 15 percent of gross domestic product before the pandemic, according to Reuters.

Revenue from tourism helped the country clock up stronger than expected growth in 2023, the global news agency said.

Mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas, said last year the city still has room for growth amid a housing crisis for locals and soaring tourist numbers.

He told Bloomberg: “Tourism is 20 percent of Lisbon’s economy. Tourism is employment.” Tourists spent more than £21.3billion (€25bn) in Portugal in 2023 fuelled by an increase in visitor numbers led by the UK, Germany, France and US.

He said at the height of the summer season in 2023: “I think we’re still very far from over-tourism.

“We’re not at the levels of Venice or Barcelona. We should continue to bet on tourism, betting on quality tourism.”

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