The Opening Speech of the Gràcia Celebration is against tourism: “Tourists we love you, but don’t pee on our streets"

Have you ever been to the Festa Major de Gracìa, the most colorful party of Barcelona? Otherwise, you should consider it! It is a great way to have a peek into the Catalan culture, as many of the activities derive from it. Each year, during one week in the middle of August one of Barcelona’s most traditional, vibrant and famous parties takes place. It is known as the Festa Major de Gracia, a neighborhood that used to be an independent municipality until it became a part of Barcelona in 1897. 

During this celebration, there are hundreds of activities most for local residents, but tourists and visitors are welcome to the concerts and parades. The Festa de Gracia is about Catalan traditions like parades, giants, castle building and fire runs, but most of all, it is a nice example of community spirit, which also welcomes visitors. It´s authentic, fun, colorful and worth a visit!

The streets will be decorated in different themes, and there will be bands playing on every corner, and there are 22 more than last year. In addition, the facade of the City Hall has its own decoration in memory of the bicentennial.

The actress Agnès Busquets and the presenter Roger de Gràcia have been in charge of starting up the festas of the Barcelona neighborhood. They held the opening speech number 200, talking about different themes which included also a great polemic about tourism in Barcelona.

At first, they were talking about the big “tourist problem”.“Tourists we love you, but do not pee on our streets". This is the message they have directed to the tourists who were waiting, like a neighbor more, for the party to begin. Between the two they started a sort of ironic dialogue against visitors:

A: “Do you see that there are more people from outside than neighbors?".
R: “Yes, it is true, in this period a lot of tourists come. We should be polite”.

And then he says hello to the people: “Hello, tourists, my house is your home if anyone can still have a home affording the increasing prices since you started buying it!"

But not everything has been so negative, they also gave the tourists some “advice". Busquets has sentenced these following messages to the people:

  • “Do not mix coffee with milk and sangria, then you will have bad diarrhea."
  • “And put on shirts, we do not want to see your pink nipples burned by the sun!"
  • He also recommended that tourists should go beyond Gaudí and visit, for example, “Lleida".

In the end, they clarify that it’s not that they don’t want tourists to come, things can just be too uncontrolled sometimes. But they have begun to tackle the problems, even if more things still need to be done.

Maybe tourism can bring some problems sometime, maybe tourist can have some worst attitudes or behaviors during their vacation but we need to remember the importance of tourism for a city as Barcelona, where a lot of company are working thanks to this.

Maybe who is in charge of this should think about new plans to protect the city, redirect touristic flows to other surrounding areas without treating their guest as not welcoming and problematic. Tourism education should be valid both for tourist and for host countries.

Give us your opinion or ideas. What should be done to let this city in the hands of their citizens but open to be appreciated from foreigners?

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