Why Spain’s Word of the Year Could Be Bad News for Travellers 

Tourists | ©rawpixel/Pixabay
Jessica Jones

One of the favourites for Spain’s word of the year 2017 highlights that one of the world’s biggest tourism nations might just be getting sick of so many tourists.

The shortlist for Spain’s ‘word of the year’ has been revealed and lifts the lid on how, in some areas of the country, tourism has become more of a hindrance than a help.

‘Turismofobia’ (tourismphobia in English) has been shortlisted as one of the country’s words of the year by the Foundation of Emerging Spanish BBVA.

The choice points towards growing tensions between tourists and locals in some areas of the country. From the streets of Barcelona to the popular holiday isle of Mallorca, graffiti has been daubed across walls with messages such as ‘tourists go home’ (see photo from Barcelona, below) as the relationship between tourists and locals has worsened.


One reason for this has been the rise of apartment rental sites like AirBnb. Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau has brought in measures to control tourism in the city after protests by locals who said they were being priced out of the city centre by cheap rentals.

Spain is one of the world’s top tourist destinations and welcomed a record-breaking 75 million tourists in 2016, a record it is due to beat in 2017.

Spain’s words of the year are decided by looking at which words have been particularly present in social debate and in the media, in use across the country, not just regionally.

Along with turismofobia, the other 11 shortlisted words include ‘trans’, ‘noticias falsas’ (fake news) and ‘machoexplicación’ (mansplaining).

The winner will be announced on December 29.

Previous words of the year include ‘selfi’ (2014), ‘refugiado’ (2015, that coincided with Europe’s refugee crisis) and ‘populismo’ (2016, that coincided with the rise of populism around the world, from Donald Trump to Brexit).

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article