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How your Spanish holiday could be quite different this year — and why that matters

Overtourism has seen Spanish authorities take ever stricter measures. Individual visitors have a part to play in making tourism more sustainable.

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Sunloving crowds flock to Lloret de Mar, Spain. BGStock72 | Shutterstock

Iberian coasts and islands have long been popular destinations for partying holidaymakers. As Britons, in particular, prepare to descend on Spain over the summer months in search of sun, sea, and sangria, a flurry of recent headlines suggest that quite what that tourist experience looks like is set to change significantly.

Hotels in Malaga are reportedly being fitted with noise detectors to clamp down on unruly hen and stag parties visiting the seaside town. The authorities in San Sebastian, meanwhile, have said they will start charging tourists for sea rescues, if their behaviour is found to have been reckless. Elsewhere, urinating in the sea at Vigo, barbecuing on the beach at Salobreña, and unruly drunken behaviour in Palma will all see the ill-behaved tourists in question incur hefty fines and, potentially, an early ride home.

Spain is the second most-visited country in the world, after France. In 2019, it welcomed 83.5 million tourists – the majority of whom were from the UK – and the sector contributed €154,737.5m (£130,876) to Spain’s GDP. As of May 2022, four out of every ten new jobs in the country are connected to the industry.


Quarter life, a series by The Conversation

_ This article is part of Quarter Life, a series about issues affecting those of us in our twenties and thirties. From the challenges of beginning a career and taking care of our mental health, to the excitement of starting a family, adopting a pet or just making friends as an adult. The articles in this series explore the questions and bring answers as we navigate this turbulent period of life._

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This year, Spanish tourist officials have launched the #SlowTravelSpain campaign to promote a more sustainable and considerate form of visiting the country. Anyone planning a holiday should be considering the customs and rules of their destination and the way their visit may affect local people’s lives, both positively and negatively.

How Spain defined tourism as we know it

Spain was a pioneer among European countries in fostering mass tourism. In the first decades of the 20th century, early attempts to promote the country to foreign audiences via a variety of travel and tourism posters were followed by full-blown campaigns to visit Spain.

In the wake of the Spanish civil war and the second world war, dictator Francisco Franco then sought to harness its immense resources, from its filmic landscapes to its cuisine and culture, to kickstart the economy.

Playa Torremolino, Malaga, in 1960. Biblioteca de la Facultad de Empresa y Gestión Pública Universidad de Zaragoza | Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

In the 1960s, the Ministry of Information and Tourism subsequently launched its “Spain is Different” campaign. Across the world the now-stereotypical image of Spain was promoted: sun, beaches, varied architecture and heritage sites, the Semana Santa religious festival, oranges, flamenco and bullfighting.

The government’s strategy was such a success that big-name visitors, including Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra, Sofia Loren and others from the global film industry flocked to the country. Iconic movies, from the 1965 classic Doctor Zhivago to Sergio Leone’s spaghetti-western Dollars trilogy, were shot on its plains.

It also resulted in a 43% rise in tourist numbers in 1960. And those numbers have kept rising almost annually ever since.

Research shows how Spain was particularly badly affected by the 2008 global economic crisis. The number of tourists flocking to its beaches nonetheless rose by 42.6% between 2012 and 2017.

A dusty western scene of a town square with mountains in the background.
The Oasys theme park in Almería, Andalusia was originally built for Sergio Leone’s 1965 western, For a Few Dollars More. Emilio del Prado | Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

How mass tourism affects local people – and what we can do

With this popularity have come increasing challenges. The 1992 Olympic Games saw Barcelona take off as a prime destination.

In recent years, a number of measures have been implemented to deal with what the local media has referred to as “the suffering” of the city’s residents. These measures lately have included banning the use of megaphones, limiting the number of participants in guided tours, and the introduction of one-way systems around major attractions.

In 2021 Barcelona introduced unique regulations to limit single-room rentals, such as those advertised via Airbnb, for less than 31 days. The aim was to temper the tourism boom and the negative impact it was having on housing for local people and the city’s general services.

This dual nature of the tourism industry has long been the subject of popular culture. The documentary series Bargain-loving Brits in the Sun has followed expats relocating from the UK to destinations such as Alicante or the Costa del Sol for eight consecutive seasons. British sitcom Benidorm, meanwhile, mined real-life tourist stereotypes for laughs for ten seasons, until 2018. Such behaviour has led to the UK and other countries sending police officers to help local Spanish forces maintain public control.

Spain, of course, is not alone in facing up to the impact of overtourism, one of the Oxford English Dictionary’s words of the year in 2018. Before the pandemic emptied these places of their visitors, numerous bucket list destinations, from the Netherlands to Italy and even the UK sought to balance out how to both grow the local economy and protect local people, the landscape and wider cultural heritage.

Those proposing measures to regulate tourism recognise its importance for the Spanish economy. They claim they are promoting a “safe and high-quality” tourism experience. If you’re planning a visit to Spain this year, think about what part you might play in making the unique Spanish tourism experience different.

Mark McKinty previously received funding from AHRC.

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Decrease in Japanese children’s ability to balance during movement related to COVID-19 activity restrictions

A team of researchers from Nagoya University in central Japan investigated how restrictions on children’s activities during the COVID-19 pandemic affected…

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A team of researchers from Nagoya University in central Japan investigated how restrictions on children’s activities during the COVID-19 pandemic affected their life habits and their abilities to perform physical activities. By comparing medical examination data before and after the onset of the pandemic, they found that physical functions among adolescents deteriorated, including their dynamic balance. They also found that the children had higher body fat levels and worse life habits. Rather than a lack of exercise time, this may have been because of a lack of quality exercise due to activity restrictions.  

Credit: Credit must be given when image is used

A team of researchers from Nagoya University in central Japan investigated how restrictions on children’s activities during the COVID-19 pandemic affected their life habits and their abilities to perform physical activities. By comparing medical examination data before and after the onset of the pandemic, they found that physical functions among adolescents deteriorated, including their dynamic balance. They also found that the children had higher body fat levels and worse life habits. Rather than a lack of exercise time, this may have been because of a lack of quality exercise due to activity restrictions.  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, in Japan, as in other countries, schools and sports clubs tried to prevent the spread of infection by reducing physical education and restricting outdoor physical activities, club activities, and sports. However, children who are denied opportunities for physical activity with social elements may develop bad habits. During the pandemic, children, like adults, increased the time they spent looking at television, smartphone, and computer screens, exercised less, and slept less. Such changes in lifestyle can harm adolescent bodies, leading to weight gain and health problems. 

Visiting Researcher Tadashi Ito and Professor Hideshi Sugiura from the Department of Biological Functional Science at the Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, together with Dr. Yuji Ito from the Department of Pediatrics at Nagoya University Hospital, and  Dr. Nobuhiko Ochi and Dr. Koji Noritake from Aichi Prefectural Mikawa Aoitori Medical and Rehabilitation Center for Developmental Disabilities, conducted a study of Japanese children and students in elementary and junior high schools, aged 9-15, by analyzing data from physical examinations before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. They evaluated the children’s muscle strength, dynamic balance functions, walking speed, body fat percentage, screen time, sleep time, quality of life, and physical activity time.  

The researchers found that after the onset of the pandemic, children were more likely to have decreased balance ability when moving, larger body fat percentage, report spending more time looking at TV, computers or smartphones, and sleep less. Since there were no changes in the time spent on physical activity or the number of meals eaten, Sugiura and his colleagues suggest that the worsening of physical functions was related to the quality of exercise of the children. The researchers reported their findings in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.  

“Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Japan after April 2020, children have not been able to engage in sufficient physical education, sports activities, and outdoor play at school. It became clear that balance ability during movement was easily affected, lifestyle habits were disrupted, and the percentage of body fat was likely to increase,” explained Ito. “This may have been because of shorter outdoor playtime and club activities, which impeded children’s ability to learn the motor skills necessary to balance during movement.” 

“Limitations on children’s opportunities for physical activity because of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus have had a significant impact on the development of physical function and lifestyle and may cause physical deterioration and health problems in the future,” warned Ito. “Especially, the risk of injury to children may increase because of a reduced dynamic balance function.” 

The results suggest that even after the novel coronavirus becomes endemic, it is important to consider the effects of social restrictions on the body composition of adolescents. Since physical activities with a social element may be important for health, authorities should prioritize preventing the reduction of children’s physical inactivity and actively encourage them to play outdoors and exercise. The group has some recommendations for families worried about the effects of school closings and other coronavirus measures on their children. “It is important for children to practice dynamic balance ability, maintaining balance to avoid falling over while performing movements,” Ito advised. “To improve balance function in children, it is important to incorporate enhanced content, such as short-term exercise programs specifically designed to improve balance functions.” 


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Contradictions, Lies, And “I Don’t Recalls”: The Fauci Deposition

Contradictions, Lies, And "I Don’t Recalls": The Fauci Deposition

Authored by Techno Fog via The Reactionary,

Today, Missouri Attoney General…

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Contradictions, Lies, And "I Don't Recalls": The Fauci Deposition

Authored by Techno Fog via The Reactionary,

Today, Missouri Attoney General Eric Schmitt released the transcript of the testimony of Dr. Anthony Fauci. As you might recall, Fauci was deposed as part of an ongoing federal lawsuit challenging the Biden Administration’s violations of the First Amendment in targeting and suppressing the speech of Americans who challenged the government’s narrative on COVID-19.

Here is the Fauci deposition transcript.

And here are the highlights…

EcoHealth Alliance - the Peter Daszak group - is knee-deep in the Wuhan controversy, having been funded by the Fauci’s NIH for coronavirus and gain of function research in China (and having worked with the Chinese team in Wuhan). What does Fauci say about EcoHealth Alliance? Over two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, and after millions dead worldwide, he’s “vaguely familiar” with their work.

In early 2020, Fauci was put on notice that his group - NIAID - had funded EcoHealth alliance on bat coronavirus research for the past five years.

This coincided with early reports - directly to Fauci, from Jeremy Ferrar and Christian Anderson - “of the possibility of there being a manipulation of the virus” based on the fact that “it was an unusual virus.”

Fauci conceded that he was specifically made aware by Anderson that “the unusual features of the virus” make it look “potentially engineered.”

Fauci couldn’t recall why he sent an article discussing gain of function research in China to his deputy, Hugh Auchincloss, telling him it was essential that they speak on the phone. He couldn’t recall speaking with Auchincloss via phone that day. But remarkably, Fauci did remember assigning research tasks to Auchincloss

Fauci was evasive on conversations with Francis Collins about whether NIAID may have funded coronavirus-related research in China, eventually stating “I don’t recall.”

The phrase “I don’t recall” was prominent in Fauci’s deposition. He said it a total of 174 times:

For example, Fauci couldn’t remember what anyone said on a call discussing whether the virus originated in a lab:

During that same call, Fauci couldn’t recall whether anyone expressed concern that the lab leak “might discredit scientific funding projects.” He also couldn’t recall whether there was a discussion about a lab leak distracting from the virus response. Fauci did remember, however, that they agreed there needed to be more time to investigate the virus origins - including the lab leak theory.

What else couldn’t Fauci remember? Whether, early into the pandemic, his confidants raised concerns about social media posts about the origins of COVID-19.

Yet Fauci did admit he was concerned about social media posts blaming China for the pandemic. He even admitted the accidental lab leak “certainly is a possibility,” contradicting his prior claims to National Geographic where he said the virus “could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated.”

Fauci also couldn’t recall whether he had any conversations with Daszak about the origins of COVID-19 in February 2020, but admitted those conversations might have happened: “I told you before that I did not remember any direct conversations with him about the origin, and I said I very well might have had conversations but I don't specifically remember conversations.” And he couldn’t recall telling the media early on during the pandemic that the virus was consistent with a jump “from an animal to a human.”

Fauci said he was in the dark on social media actions to curb speech and suspend accounts that posted COVID-19 information that didn’t fit the mainstream narrative: “I’m not aware of suppression of speech on social media.” Yet it was Fauci’s proclamations of the truth, whether about the origins of COVID-19 to the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, that led to social media companies banning discussions of contrary information.

Regarding those removals of content, Fauci had no personal knowledge of a US Government/Social Media effort to curb “misinformation.” But he conceded the possibility numerous times.

Then there’s the issue of masks. In February 2020, Fauci informed an acquaintance that was traveling: “I do not recommend that you wear a mask.” Fauci would later become a vocal proponent of masks only two months later.

I’m near my Substack length limit - posting the excerpts does that - but you can see from Fauci’s testimony that his public statements about COVID-19 origins and the necessity to wear a mask didn’t match his private conversations. This has been known for some time, but it’s finally nice to get him on record.

Again, read it all and subscribe here.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/05/2022 - 21:40

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Global Wages Take A Hit As Inflation Eats Into Paychecks

Global Wages Take A Hit As Inflation Eats Into Paychecks

The global inflation crisis paired with lackluster economic growth and an outlook…

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Global Wages Take A Hit As Inflation Eats Into Paychecks

The global inflation crisis paired with lackluster economic growth and an outlook clouded by uncertainties have led to a decline in real wages around the world, a new report published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) has found.

As Statista's Felix Richter reports, according to the 2022-23 Global Wage Report, global real monthly wages fell 0.9 percent this year on average, marking the first decline in real earnings at a global scale in the 21st century.

You will find more infographics at Statista

The multiple global crises we are facing have led to a decline in real wages.

"It has placed tens of millions of workers in a dire situation as they face increasing uncertainties,” ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo said in a statement, adding that “income inequality and poverty will rise if the purchasing power of the lowest paid is not maintained.”

While inflation rose faster in high-income countries, leading to above-average real wage declines in North America (minus 3.2 percent) and the European Union (minus 2.4 percent), the ILO finds that low-income earners are disproportionately affected by rising inflation. As lower-wage earners spend a larger share of their disposable income on essential goods and services, which generally see greater price increases than non-essential items, those who can least afford it suffer the biggest cost-of-living impact of rising prices.

“We must place particular attention to workers at the middle and lower end of the pay scale,” Rosalia Vazquez-Alvarez, one of the report’s authors said.

“Fighting against the deterioration of real wages can help maintain economic growth, which in turn can help to recover the employment levels observed before the pandemic. This can be an effective way to lessen the probability or depth of recessions in all countries and regions,” she said.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/05/2022 - 20:00

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