Sun. May 26th, 2024

Furious celebrity urges Spain to get rid of British tourists ‘in flip flops’

Jamie Roberts By Jamie Roberts May23,2024

A famous Spanish opera singer has hit out at “flip-flop”-wearing tourists, just days before locals in the Canary Islands are to take their anger against overtourism to the street.

Ainhoa Arteta, who received several awards during her highly successful career, said the Spanish government should put more of the spotlight on its massive cultural and historical heritage.

If it did so, Spain would be attracting more “cultural” tourists rather than waves of holidaymakers interested more in booze and beaches, the singer claimed.

After being asked whether opera in her homeland is in a healthy state, the Basque-born 59-year-old told the Majorcan daily Diario de Mallorca: “Not at all. Spain is a cainite country, it’s not a country that helps its singers and musicians.

“And it’s a shame because we have truly talented singers. If this country exploited its cultural-historical patrimony and accompanied it in all our theatres and auditoriums with ambitious programmes, we would attract cultural and not flip-flop tourism.”

Seemingly referring to Barcelona and Madrid, two of Spain’s most important cities, Ms Arteta said: “The Ministry of Tourism and Culture should act together and we should be conscious there’s culture around the country, not just in two cities.”

The celebrity, who first performed in London in 1999 with fellow opera singer and conductor Placido Domingo, is beloved in Spain and has received, among other awards, the gold medal for merit in the fine arts handed out by the Spanish Ministry of Culture.

Very well known in Spain, Ms Arteta has appeared on various popular TV programmes, including the Spanish version of Celebrity Masterchef.

While Ms Arteta didn’t openly mention British tourists, Britons are known to adore Spain as a holiday destination, particularly when it comes to its sun-kissed southern regions and the Canary Islands.

In 2023, Britons topped the list of foreign tourist arrivals in Spain, with 17.3 million UK nationals heading to the country over 12 months – up 14.6 percent when compared to 2022.

The singer’s interview came as Canary Islands residents are preparing to hold protests across the archipelago on April 20.

Campaigners are voicing their concerns at the effects the millions of tourists reaching the islands every year are having on the local environment, infrastructure and quality of life of locals.

Among the issues they have highlighted in recent days are a lack of affordable housing for permanent residents – linked to the pushing-up of property prices due to the many holiday rentals and hotels – as well as the further depletion of natural resources including water.

Jamie Roberts

By Jamie Roberts

Jamie is an award-winning investigative journalist with a focus on uncovering corruption and advocating for social justice. With over a decade of experience in the field, Jamie's work has been instrumental in bringing about positive change in various communities.

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2 thoughts on “Furious celebrity urges Spain to get rid of British tourists ‘in flip flops’”
  1. As a Spaniard, I fully agree with Ainhoa Arteta’s sentiments. It’s time for Spain to prioritize our rich cultural heritage over mass tourism focused on sun and sand. We must value and support our talented artists and musicians to showcase our country’s true essence to the world.

  2. I completely agree with Ainhoa Arteta’s opinion. Spain indeed has a rich cultural and historical heritage that should be showcased to attract more cultural tourists. It’s disappointing to see the focus on mass tourism and the negative effects it has on our country’s artistic community. We should prioritize supporting our talented singers and musicians by enhancing cultural programs across the nation, not just in major cities like Barcelona and Madrid.

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