The host/guest relationship in tourism can often pose difficulties, creating conflicts as holidaymakers cause problems for locals and vice versa. Ribadesella, a village of 5,700 people on the coast of northern Spain, has taken a unique direction in their efforts to solve complaints from city-dwelling tourists visiting their rural destination.
1. If you don’t like it, leave
Complaints received from tourists range from the level of noise of braying donkeys to the mess left behind by wandering cows, with officials in the village having received several calls from disgruntled holidaymakers ringing to notify them of aspects which are considered usual to rural life. Officials therefore responded, in a somewhat unique way, by putting up posters which warn that, in a polite a way as possible, if they don’t like it they should leave. The witty poster campaign reminds city-dwelling tourists to “assume all the risks” of rural life when visiting. “Here we have church bells that ring out regularly, roosters that crow early in the morning and herds of livestock that live nearby and at times carry cowbells that also make noise,” reads the poster, which has been posted around the village recently. “If you can’t handle all this, you may not be in the right place,” it says pointedly.
2. The sounds of the country
Speaking to Spanish broadcaster Antena 3, Ramón Canal, Ribadesella’s mayor says the poster campaign aims to bridge the sometimes huge gap between city folk and those living in rural areas. “One needs to realise that milk doesn’t come in cartons, it comes from cows, and that you have to feed and maintain them”, he says. According to Luis Sánchez, deputy mayor of Ribadesella, the idea is inspired by a similar situation in Saint-André-de-Valborgne, a village in southern France, around two years ago. The 400 or so residents used posters warning of tolling church bells, clanging cowbells and crowing roosters to deter complaints from urban tourists. Although Sánchez says in Ribadesella there were only a few complaints, officials took the opportunity to make their stance clear to residents in the village. “To hear a rooster crowing at night is normal,” Sánchez told the newspaper La Voz de Asturias. “If you come to a rural hotel, you have to be aware that this is daily life in the villages.”
“Attention village français. Vous pénétrez à vos risques et périls. Ici, nous avons des clochers qui sonnent régulièrement, des coqs qui chantent très tôt, des troupeaux qui vivent à proximité, des #agriculteurs qui travaillent pour vous donner à manger” https://t.co/no819Ti69p pic.twitter.com/CFcnYqJUuf— #agridemain (@Agridemain) January 9, 2021
Whilst the posters warn some tourists, they also invite those looking tofor this kind of authentic rural experience. “If on the other hand you’re one of the privileged ones who can bear all this, you’ll enjoy the wonderful surroundings and the excellent products made by our fantastic farmers, ranchers or artisans,” it states enthusiastically. “Enjoy Ribadesella!”