Brit in Benidorm urges mayor ‘act now’ as water gun anti-tourist protests unfold

A Brit living in Benidorm fears the water gun toting anti-tourist protestors blighting Spain will spread to the Costa Blanca.

Nigel Pope, 62 is originally from Cornwall but made the move to the Spanish seaside hotspot seven years ago after divorcing from his long-term wife.

Since then, he’s become known as the ‘King of Benidorm’ by establishing himself as a tour guide influencer – helping attract Brits looking for a cheap and cheerful holiday in their droves.

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However, with anti-tourist protests spilling from Tenerife into Majorca and now Barcelona, Nigel now fears that the friendly locals in Benidorm will start to catch wind.

Nigel ‘King of Benidorm’ Pope is worried that the anti-tourist protests will trickle into the Costa Blanca

Speaking exclusively to Daily Star, the Benidorm ‘royalty’ shared his growing concerns and said: “As far as I have seen there is no trouble here in Benidorm.

“But, as other areas are waking up to the fact that locals may have trouble finding cheap accommodation, it could happen here too.

“Our local mayor needs to take action now and look at what is going on here, if need be, he needs to pass bylaws, certainly on all the new apartment blocks being built.

“Believe me, Benidorm is expanding at an incredible rate. Tens of brand new very big apartment blocks are going up especially in the Poniente area.

“But, they need to make sure they are only available to locals at the local rates. I am not an expert, but it’s common sense. It’s the big companies that are profiting, while the locals suffer.

Tourists are being squirted with water in Barcelona amidst the rising tensions between them and locals

Benidorm has a reasonably small population of 67,000 but attracted a mammoth 2,766,366 tourists last year alone. High traveller numbers are a growing concern for Spanish natives who are taking to the streets as many are being priced out of their neighbourhoods.

Short-term rentals aimed at tourists prove profitable for landlords and property developers, but leave locals struggling to find reasonably priced places to live.

Barcelona is the latest city in Spain to feel the wrath of anti-tourist protestors which created bonkers scenes of tourists getting squirted with water gun toting nationals as they chanted “go home”.

While Nigel feels at home in Spain and claims that tourists are welcomed, he fears that the national mood could penetrate the bubble of Benidorm.

Nigel has said that Benidorm locals and tourists get on well usually, but that could change

But, he feels that water gun soaking will not achieve anything – and will only make matters worse.

He added: “It seems the same is happening in Barcelona as in the Canary Islands, the local owners are seeking to earn more money from tourists than their own local people.

“But, squirting water at innocent tourists will not solve the problem. They need to go to their own local government to get rules changed to stop them from allowing licences to allow them to tent out to the tourists.

“Squirting tourists will not achieve anything, except start trouble between them and tourists. It’s not their fault that they can book places through the likes of Airbnb.

“Of course I have sympathy for the tourists, as I said, it’s not their fault that the accommodation is available to them.”

Protesters in Barcelona are targeting bars and restaurants where tourists frequent

Previously, Nigel admitted that his future in Benidorm seems secure and was not rattled by the ongoing protests in Tenerife. The bloke is reliant on tourism for work as he has a gig behind the bar and also boasts over 70,000 TikTok followers where he shares travel content.

Nigel shares his in-depth guides to Benidorm and the surrounding areas which has tempted a number of fans to make the 900mile pilgrimage to the cheap pint haven.

Last year, according to the tourism lobby group Exceltur, tourism made up 71% of the real growth in the Spanish economy. And in 2022, tourism accounted for 11.6% of their entire GDP.

Nigel hopes the Benidorm mayor takes action before it’s too late…

Nigel understands the concerns of residents in Spain, but with the country reliant in-part on the tourism industry, he doesn’t think that sun-seekers from abroad have much to worry about.

Although, earlier in the summer, Barcelona mayor Jaume Collboni shared plans to ban short term rentals beginning November 2028.

But, Nigel still thinks that people are not fed up with tourists and are just being used to highlight the deeper housing crisis in Spain.

He said: “I don’t think the locals are fed up with the tourists, tourism brings in a lot of money and more jobs for the tourism industry.

“I think they want to highlight the problem of locals not being able to find accommodation.”