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‘No tourists, no hipsters’: Anti-tourism graffiti spreads across Athens as Greek capital joins other European destinations in demanding an end to ‘over-tourism’

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The sprawling anti-tourism drive seen across several sunny destinations in Europe has spread to Athens as the historic city demands an end to ‘over-tourism’ through harsh graffiti messages.

Last month, furious protesters also took to the streets of the Greek capital to voice their outrage at the rising numbers of tourists flooding their home.

Greece issued a plea for ‘no more tourism’ because the stunning city – and home to iconic landmarks such as the Acropolis – is becoming increasingly swamped with British holidaymakers.

The anti-tourist sentiment has manifested in several forms including graffiti targeting foreigners, public demonstrations, and even instances of vandalism and arson, since last year.

Huge signs sprayed onto the sides of buildings and other walls across the sun-soaked city present a chilling warning to visitors, with one reading: ‘Tourists Go Home! Greek State Kills’.

Anti-tourism graffiti has been spotted across the historic city of Athens as the Greek capital cracks down on tourist numbers

Anti-tourism graffiti has been spotted across the historic city of Athens as the Greek capital cracks down on tourist numbers 

One chilling message reads: 'Tourists go home! Greek state kills'

One chilling message reads: ‘Tourists go home! Greek state kills’

A local resident who was forced out of her home in Metaxourgio, Athens, said the situation in the bustling city was becoming 'very depressing'

A local resident who was forced out of her home in Metaxourgio, Athens, said the situation in the bustling city was becoming ‘very depressing’

Another disturbing example shows a large building depicting two ‘Airbnb‘ towers ablaze, beneath the caption: ‘Tourists Enjoy Your Stay In The Cemetery Of Europe’.

Slogans including ‘No Tourists No Hipsters’ and ‘Burn Airbnb’ have also been spotted in the streets of Athens, displaying a harsh message to holidaymakers seeking to soak up the Greek sun.

The horror warnings come as protesters too to the streets of Athens last month as they claimed not only were tourists overcrowding the city on their holidays, but also taking their houses.

Demonstrators chanted: ‘They are taking our houses while they live in the Maldives’.

Anna Theodorakis, a local resident who was forced out of her home in Metaxourgio, Athens, told France24 at the time that the situation in the bustling city was becoming ‘very depressing’.

‘I think the answer is to go in the streets and block everything and just not do something because people are losing their homes,’ she said.

Locals are concerned over the rising numbers of Airbnbs in the historic city, as tourists are blamed for ‘wiping out traditional places’.

Dimitri, a property developer converting a former warehouse into Airbnbs, explained that the over-tourism was detrimental to the city. 

He said: ‘Eighty percent of this neighborhood are Airbnbs. Tourists who come here want to see the Greek culture, so if no more Greeks are living here, tourists won’t want to come’.

Locals are concerned over the rising numbers of Airbnbs in the historic city, as tourists are blamed for 'wiping out traditional places'

Locals are concerned over the rising numbers of Airbnbs in the historic city, as tourists are blamed for ‘wiping out traditional places’

Messages sprayed on to walls by locals are urging tourists to 'go home'

Messages sprayed on to walls by locals are urging tourists to ‘go home’

The anti-tourist sentiment has manifested in several forms including graffiti targeting foreigners, public demonstrations, and even instances of vandalism and arson, since last year

The anti-tourist sentiment has manifested in several forms including graffiti targeting foreigners, public demonstrations, and even instances of vandalism and arson, since last year

Despite the anger on the ground against tourism, the Greek government has refused to relent on its drive for more visitors

Despite the anger on the ground against tourism, the Greek government has refused to relent on its drive for more visitors

The graffiti warnings come as protesters too to the streets of Athens last month as they claimed not only were tourists overcrowding the city on their holidays, but also taking their houses

The graffiti warnings come as protesters too to the streets of Athens last month as they claimed not only were tourists overcrowding the city on their holidays, but also taking their houses

Last month angry tourists blasted Greek officials over plans to introduce ‘elitist’ tour prices for exclusive access to the Acropolis – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

To alleviate overcrowding and offer a more intimate experience, the Greek culture ministry introduced a scheme allowing small groups of up to five people to explore the site outside of regular hours.

Under the new scheme, up to four groups of five people each can enjoy guided tours led by expert archaeologists during exclusive time slots from 7am to 9am and 8pm to 10pm – hours outside the official opening and closing times.

This initiative aims to provide tourists with a more intimate and less crowded experience of the historic landmark before thousands of sightseers ascend the rocky hill.

However, the proposed price tag of £4,285 (€5,000) for a small group has sparked outrage among travellers. 

Despite the anger on the ground against tourism, the Greek government has refused to relent on its drive for more visitors.

Last month angry tourists blasted Greek officials over plans to introduce 'elitist' tour prices for exclusive access to the Acropolis

Last month angry tourists blasted Greek officials over plans to introduce ‘elitist’ tour prices for exclusive access to the Acropolis

In April, Greece launched ‘free’ week-long holidays for around 25,000, mainly British, tourists who fled the 2023 Rhodes wildfires, as pat of the ‘Rhodes Week’ initiative.

Those who were registered on the evacuation lists during the fires are being provided with an e-voucher for a hotel stay similar to their previous accommodation.

The value of the voucher can range from €300-€500, depending on the category of the hotel.

The strong anti-tourism drive and surge in demanding graffiti messages comes after a series of similar crackdowns that have erupted around Europe – most notably Spain.

In Menorca, graffiti sprung up on walls telling tourists to ‘go home’, while in Marbella last year, tyres on cars with British number plates were slashed. 

On April 20, thousands of protestors took to the streets of the Canary Islands to protest against the problems caused by mass tourism and demand their politicians take action. 

The protestors chanted the slogan: ‘Canarias tiene un limite’, which in English translates as ‘The Canary Islands have a limit.’

Two weeks ago the same words appeared painted in white on the tarmac of one of the access roads to Mount Teide in Tenerife.

Another message painted on the road said: ‘Moratoria turistica’ – ‘Tourist moratorium’ in English.’

Majorcan-based hotel chief Joan Pla warned recently the mass tourism protests in the Canary Islands could be repeated in the Balearics.

He claimed the number of homes built for local residents that were being purchased instead by foreigners as holiday properties was a problem.

And he complained islands like Majorca where he is based were having to cope with the influx of too many people at certain times of the year.

Tenerife, a popular island with British tourists, has been at the forefront of the protests linked to the type of mass tourism it attracts.

The words 'Go Home Tourist' were scrawled in English over a wall underneath a real estate promotion billboard in Nou Llevant, Mallorca, a neighbourhood that has seen a massive influx of foreign buyers over the past few years

The words ‘Go Home Tourist’ were scrawled in English over a wall underneath a real estate promotion billboard in Nou Llevant, Mallorca, a neighbourhood that has seen a massive influx of foreign buyers over the past few years

Spanish islands are threatened by sea pollution, traffic gridlock and lack of cheap affordable housing linked to the pushing-up of property prices because of Airbnb-style holiday lets

Spanish islands are threatened by sea pollution, traffic gridlock and lack of cheap affordable housing linked to the pushing-up of property prices because of Airbnb-style holiday lets

Demonstrators packed into Weyler Square in the Tenerife capital Santa Cruz, the start point for a march on the Brit-popular holiday island, on April 20

Demonstrators packed into Weyler Square in the Tenerife capital Santa Cruz, the start point for a march on the Brit-popular holiday island, on April 20

Graffiti in English left on walls and benches in and around Palm Mar in southern Tenerife at the start of last month included ‘My misery your paradise’ and ‘Average salary in Canary Islands is 1,200 euros.’ 

Last week, a Menorca holiday village dubbed the ‘Spanish Mykonos’ threatened to ban all tourists after previously telling them to only visit between 11am and 8pm so they can enjoy their breakfasts.

It comes after the government of the Balearic Islands introduced a ban on the sale of alcohol between 9:30pm and 8am in a bid to crack down on so-called low quality tourism.

The decree bans late night sales of booze from commercial establishments in Llucmajor, Palma and Calvia in Mallorca and Sant Antoni in Ibiza.

Ibiza also became the latest Spanish holidaymaker hotspot to join in with growing anti-tourism protests that have erupted around the country.

‘We welcome anybody who wants to enjoy our local culture, gastronomy, local traditions, beautiful beaches and covers,’ said Xaquelina Ana Perry, a spokeswoman for an activist group by the name of Prou Eivissa (Enough Ibiza).

‘We are only against the massification of the type of tourism attracted to our island. The island is saturated, especially with illegal renting and our 572 square kilometres cannot take anymore,’ she added.

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