Tue. May 28th, 2024

Canary Islands beg British tourists not to cancel holidays as 70,000 to march in protest

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May20,2024

The Canary Islands have begged Britons not to cancel their holidays as tensions mount ahead of anti-tourism protests.

Activisits will take to the streets across the islands, including in Tenerife’s capital Santa Cruz, on Saturday (April 20), in a row over a lack of housing and pollution caused by the booming tourist industry.

The Express.co.uk understands that protesters are expecting a 70,000-strong turnout in Tenerife alone, after months of rising hostility. Graffiti has appeared in tourist hotspots telling visitors to “go home”, but tourism chiefs have emphasised the islands are still very much open to visitors.

Jessica de León, who became regional tourism chief last July, told The Telegraph: “It is still safe to visit the Canary Islands and we are delighted to welcome you.”

She said she understood protesters’ frustrations, particularly concerning the lack of adequate housing, but that it was “unfair to blame tourism”.

Fernando Clavijo, the Canary Islands president, has also blasted the activists, whose argument “smacks of tourist-phobia”.

“People who come here to visit and spend their money must not be criticised or insulted,” he said. “We are playing with our main source of income.” 

But many of those living on the islands say that more needs to be done to curb the impact of mass tourism and are hoping  Saturday’s protest will be a turning point.

Speaking to the Express, one campaigner said this weekend’s protests, on the likes of Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, promise to be bigger than any that have been held before. 

Iván Cerdeña Molina said: “We are expecting four or five times more people than the last demonstration in Santa Cruz, which saw around 10,000 people protesting against the touristic model and new hotels, so around 50,000 to 70,000 people [this weekend].

“The Canarian government is concious about how historic this protest is which is on all the islands at the same time. The president and the ministers are already very nervous. Things will have to deeply change to a model wich respects nature and Canarians.”

Half a dozen Canarians started an “indefinite” hunger strike on Friday by a church in the town of La Laguna in the north of Tenerife.

They are all members of a platform called Canarias Se Agota, which literally translates into English as ‘the Canary Islands are exhausted’.

The protests come after a wave of messages were left spray painted on buildings in English, which included: “My misery your paradise” and “Average salary in Canary Islands is 1,200 euros”.

A photo of a hire car with the words ‘Go Home’ scrawled down the right hand side of the vehicle, was published by the islands’ local press.

Worried British tourists have been ringing hotels on the islands to ask whether it is still safe to visit.

Jorge Marichal, president of regional hotel association ASHOTEL, revealed earlier in April: “I was in one of my hotels yesterday morning and one of the problems I had to solve was that clients are beginning to call and ask what’s happening here and whether it’s safe. It’s happening in some hotels.” 

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

Related Post

2 thoughts on “Canary Islands beg British tourists not to cancel holidays as 70,000 to march in protest”
  1. I think the tensions between locals and tourists in the Canary Islands are understandable. It’s important for both sides to find a balance that respects the needs of the residents while also sustaining the tourism industry, which is vital for the economy of the islands.

  2. I believe that it’s important for tourists to respect the local communities and environment when visiting popular destinations. It’s crucial for both sides to engage in constructive dialogue to address issues such as housing shortages and environmental concerns, rather than resorting to hostility. Cancelling holidays will not solve the underlying problems, and I hope that both tourists and locals can find common ground to work towards sustainable solutions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *