Palma de Mallorca
Spain is home to hundreds of pristine beaches Photo: AFP / JAIME REINA

A popular holiday hotspot in Spain is set to ban the opening of new hotels in an attempt to deal with over-tourism.

San Sebastian, a small town on the Bay of Biscay in Spain's mountainous Basque Country, witnessed an astounding increase in tourism between 2005 and 2019, with the sector growing 85.26 per cent during the said time period.

The regular influx of tourists has begun to irk the residents and as a result, the government at San Sebastian now wants to take stern steps to stop the "progressive and relevant increase" of the tourism sector. One of their methods is going to include not opening new hotels and tourist apartments, meaning, accommodation prices in the area could become more expensive.

Earlier this year, the city's mayor, Eneko Goia, said: "The supply of tourist accommodation is sufficient and it is time to limit the opening of new businesses."

The city council also revealed its plans to implement a series of actions aimed at limiting the opening of new tourism businesses in San Sebastián. As a part of these measures, Goia is planning to announce that certain parts of the city are "saturated" in a bid to promote sustainable tourism.

The council's plan is not to ban tourism altogether in San Sebastian but, moderately promote "a sustainable tourism model, compatible with an equally sustainable city model" as it wants holidaymakers and residents to be able to "co-exist" in the city.

Apart from Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta, the beaches framed by a picturesque promenade, San Sebastian is also famous for being a haven for foodies as it houses world-renowned restaurants led by innovative chefs.

The over-tourism in Spain's San Sebastian means that for every 100 residents in the city, there are 9.91 tourists, as per various reports. The city council has issued a preliminary report called the General Urban Planning Plan that highlighted the negative impacts holidaymakers had on the city in recent years in various sectors, including the city's culture, economy and gastronomy.

San Sebastian has seen a rise in the number of hotels and guesthouses by 48 per cent since 2012. The reported growth is mostly among three to five-star properties, the number of which has increased by nearly 117 per cent over the past 11 years, according to Spanish news outlet La Nacion.

San Sebastian, the capital city of the Gipuzkoa province, is home to approximately 187,000 residents and has some 18,700 tourist places in a total of 1,769 accommodations - including hotels, guesthouses, hostels and campsites.