Spain’s Binibeca Vell Threatens Closure Due to Tourist Noise and Rubbish Uproar

Binibeca Vell, a picturesque village on the Spanish island of Menorca, is grappling with an influx of tourists attracted to its charming cobblestone streets and whitewashed villas. However, as social media attention has surged, so has the number of visitors, reaching up to 800,000 annually. Residents of Binibeca Vell are raising concerns about the lack of support from officials in managing the noise and rubbish generated by the influx of tourists.

Óscar Monge, representing the village’s property owners, expressed frustration with the authorities for neglecting the residents’ needs amidst the growing tourism. The village is facing a dilemma familiar to many across Spain and Europe, as residents call for a better balance between catering to tourists and respecting the residents’ peaceful living environment.

Residents have resorted to implementing restrictions on tourist visits, limiting access to specific hours to ensure quiet mornings and peaceful nights for locals. This initiative aims to curb intrusive behaviors such as entering homes or climbing balconies, which have been sources of contention between residents and tourists.

Despite previous agreements with local officials, including funding for rubbish removal and measures to control tourism’s impact, residents feel abandoned as these promises remain unfulfilled. The tensions have escalated to the point where residents are considering voting to close off the village entirely to tourists if the situation does not improve.

Begoña Mercadal, the head of tourism for the Menorcan government, acknowledged the residents’ rights to restrict access to their private property. However, the potential closure of Binibeca Vell poses challenges for the local economy, as many families depend on tourism-related businesses for their livelihood.

The dispute between residents and officials underscores the broader issue of balancing the economic benefits of tourism with the quality of life for residents in popular destinations. As Binibeca Vell navigates this delicate balance, the outcome of their efforts may serve as a precedent for other communities facing similar challenges in managing tourism sustainably. Residents hope that through dialogue and collaboration, they can find a solution that preserves their way of life while also welcoming visitors in a respectful manner.