Spanish ‘anti-tourist’ vandals slash tyres and graffiti luxury cars with UK number plates in Marbella as Brits are told to ‘go back to your country’ in online posts
- At least three vehicles have been targeted on the resort’s exclusive Golden Mile
- Comes amid a growing anti-tourist backlash from locals in vacation hotspots
An anti-tourism campaign in Marbella is targeting cars with UK number plates by slashing their tyres and daubing them with graffiti – as fed-up locals tell the English to ‘go back to your country’.
At least three vehicles have been targeted on the resort’s exclusive Golden Mile this month, one opposite the uber-exclusive Puente Romano hotel, with photos showing a Fiat Punto and a black vehicle emblazoned with bright pink spray paint.
The latter was pictured being towed away after also having its tyres slashed.
A black Mercedes has also been pictured with all four tyres punctured.
The owner wrote in a social media post: ‘This happened to my car with UK plates last weekend in Puente Romano… two tyres punctured with a screwdriver or something similar.’
The owner of the Fiat 500 said: ‘I had my car sprayed today next to the Puente Romano hotel, parked on the road by the beach. Apparently it happened to other cars last week by a guy targeting English number plates.’
But instead of receiving comments of solidarity, the posts have been met with a wave of anti-British comments from locals.
One branded the English ‘the most annoying humans in the world’, adding: ‘You just drink beer and disturb the people who live here.’
Another said: ‘People aren’t happy about English tourists, we want quality’, while one encouraged the vandalism, writing: ‘Good job! We should do that with all GB plates.’
A local woman accused Brits of not bothering to try to speak Spanish while visiting, saying ‘they just want Spanish people to learn their language, but they would never try to learn some Spanish.’
She added: ‘It’s annoying, this is why we want them to go back to their country.’
British expats have fought back, with one declaring: ‘If it wasn’t for the English Marbella would still be a throwback fishing village… ungrateful b******.’
The local police force told MailOnline it was aware of the incidents but that it does not comment on ongoing investigations.
At least one man has been arrested by National Police after being caught approaching cars on his bike while carrying pink spray paint.
The incidents are the latest suggesting a rising anti-tourist sentiment in some popular vacation destinations in Europe.
In February, it was reported that the Balearic islands of Mallorca and Ibiz were considering snubbing British tourists in favour of more up-market visitors.
‘[We] are not interested in having budget tourists from the UK,’ an official on Mallorca said at the time, amid attempts to rebrand itself from a destination for cheap drinks and beach parties by limiting the number of UK tourists.
Another popular Spanish destination – the Canary island of Lanzarote – also signalled its intention to reduce its dependency on British tourists.
sland president María Dolores Corujo said the authority has no intention of changing its mind on its approach amid claims that it is already damaging Lanzarote’s image, and that other islands are struggling.
Elsewhere, ‘nuisance’ British tourists were warned to ‘stay away’ from Amsterdam if they’re only going there for ‘drugs and alcohol’ in a new ‘discouragement campaign’ being targeted at the tourism sector.
Amsterdam’s deputy mayor Sofyan Mbarki defended the new messsage, saying: ‘The aim of the discouragement campaign is to keep out visitors that we do not want. If we love the city, we must take action now.’
In 2019, more than 18 million Brits (more than a quarter of the population of the UK) visited Spain, according to UK government statistics.
While the following three years saw a drop off due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Spanish officials predicted 2023 would break records.
Local business owners say young British travellers in particular have a reputation for drinking a lot and spending little, creating tensions.
Infact, there is a derogatory word – guiri – used by Spanish people to describe Brits who drink too much, fight, ignore social norms and spend very little money.
But while many locals would want to see the number of tourists decrease, the country’s tourism industry accounts for 10 percent of Spain’s annual GDP, with visitors from the United Kingdom accounting for a large portion of that revenue.
Some locals may be getting their wish.
Between 12.2 million UK tourists visited Spain between January and July 2023 – six percent fewer – a decrease of 793,260 British holidaymakers for Spain – when compared with the same period in 2019.
Meanwhile, other nationalities visiting Spain increased, including Italian, Irish, Portugese, Dutch and French are all above the pre-pandemic rates.
Experts have put this down to ‘the poor macroeconomic performance of the United Kingdom, the sharp rise in rates and the weakness of the pound’, according to The Local Es. This suggests that the drop in Brits going to Spain could be temporary.
Should the UK economy improve, then the numbers are likely to rise once more.