Neighbours and tourism in Andalusia

Towards socially responsible tourism

Neighbours and tourism in Andalusia

Neighbours and tourism in Andalusia 399 267 Andalucia360

Before we begin, it should be pointed out that tourists are viewed very favourably in our land. To a large extent Andalusia lives off tourism. The relationship between neighbours and tourism is in good health. That is what almost all the neighbourhood associations and institutions we have been able to talk to have told us. The intention of this post is to define some points of conflict with the aim of promoting empathy between neighbours and tourists.

That said, there are conflict areas due to the saturation of tourists. Let’s look at where the problems occur and what they are.


Carrera del Darro in Granada. Locals and tourists walk along the same paths, as it is the main communication route of the Albaicín.

Where do the problems with tourism occur?

They occur mainly in the historic centres of the big cities of Andalusia or in key monuments that we would all like to visit. There are also certain rural towns that receive an important flow of visitors, although in these cases the complaints are not so evident.

Who are the key players?


When we travel, almost all of us want to see the highlights of a place, especially if it’s our first time. The Alhambra, the Mosque of Cordoba or the Cathedral of Seville are true icons of Andalusia. We cannot conceive of travelling to a place and not visiting certain places. The traveller is right.


When we travel we want to see the best places. Calle Larios in Malaga with the Christmas illumination (Leo Hidalgo. Flickr. CC BY-NC 2.0).


When you live in your city you go out to work every morning, you go downstairs to buy bread, you take the children to school. You need and demand facilities from your local council. Public transport, parks, security and other services are really necessary on a daily basis. And you are not wrong either. The residents are grouped in associations which, in recent years, have been demanding effective measures and greater control of tourism.


Many neighbours complain about the almost total invasion of public roads by bars and restaurants.


Town councils, regional governments, trustees and other institutions are in charge of regulating the use of monuments and legislating in historic centres. They watch over the good development of coexistence and the economic development of the population, aspects which can sometimes conflict with each other.

What is the problem with tourism?

Problems arise, not when there is a conflict of interests, but when they become generalised. Take for example the use of the urban bus, if one day it is full you wait patiently for the next one, but if this happens frequently it generates an inconvenience in the daily life of the neighbours.

Lately, two terms have been bandied about to define an accumulation of uncomfortable situations.


This process consists of the conversion of living spaces into leisure spaces. When tourism overtakes the locals, the neighbourhood changes completely. Food shops give way to bars and souvenir shops. Some streets are heavily traversed by large groups of tourists.

Drunken tourism and stag and hen parties are in the sights of many local councils, as they generate a lot of noise. The most critical speak of a conversion of historic centres into amusement parks, where everything is fake, simply a lifeless decoration.


Here is a headline that reflects the consequences of gentrification.


This is a process by which the original population of a neighbourhood is displaced by one with greater purchasing power. In this case, the major power is tourism. Tourist rental flats (popularised by Airbnb) generate higher profits than monthly rentals. Faced with the increase in demand for this type of flat, owners are converting their properties for tourist purposes.

Let’s say that both concepts are related, or rather that Gentrification leads to Festification. The Jerez Neighbourhood Association warned us of something very significant. With these processes historic quarters become depersonalised, globalised and lose an important part of their culture, the people who inhabit them. In this line the neighbours are an indispensable asset to keep the culture alive.

If you have time we will illustrate the consequences of mass tourism with a short film.

What are the complaints of the neighbours regarding tourism?

What are the complaints of the neighbours regarding tourism?

    • Occupation of the public highway by groups of people, motor vehicles and bar terraces
    • Collapse of means of transport
    • Noise where there was none before
    • Invasion of privacy
    • Saturation of advertising billboards
    • Loss of services for neighbours
    • Increased litter due to fast food consumption

Put like this, it seems that the traveller is to blame for the situation. But nothing could be further from the truth. It is a common problem, and the solution lies in joining forces. Neighbours, public institutions, travellers and, of course, the private sector all have a part to play.


The overcrowding of some places reaches its peak in summer, when the Andalusian neighbours become tourists (Pablo Fj. Flickr. CC BY 2.0).

What can we do?

What can neighbours do. Report problems, give their opinion and make suggestions.
What can the institutions do? Legislate on the basis of neighbourhood demands.
What can travellers do? Respect and act with empathy.
What can the private sector do? Act ethically and accordingly.

What do we do from Andalucía 360?

We want Andalucía 360 to be a responsible travel agency for society

Sometimes municipal by-laws do not satisfy neighbours and tourism. In such cases the responsibility of tourism companies, as it will be ours, is to act ethically and true to our principles. For several months we have been collecting information from residents’ associations and institutions. We have listened to their complaints and proposals in order to develop our company policy and products.

Some of the measures we have implemented are:

    • Reduction of groups of people
    • Do not use public transport in conflict areas
    • Encourage the use of local products
    • Actively raise awareness through the guides and our blog
Learn about our policy for responsible travel and the Good practice manual.

This is the Mediterranean we want to preserve. Alboran Sea.


This is the forest we want to conserve. Pinsapar de la Yunquera, Málaga (Photo by our friend Jaime López).


This is how we like to feel the places when we travel. Embarcadero Hotel Marbella Club.

In any case let us always remember that:

We are all travellers and we are all neighbours.

Y para no perderte nuestras experiencias 360