Wed. May 29th, 2024

‘We don’t hate tourism!’ Canary Islands protesters urge tourists to save region from brink

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May27,2024

Organisers behind the upcoming protest against overtourism in Tenerife have insisted locals in the Canary Islands don’t hate tourists – and have instead asked them to “help” save their territory. 

The Tenerife Association of Friends of Nature (ATAN) acknowledged the key role tourism plays in the local economy, and stated the “Canary Islands have a limit” demonstration taking place across the archipelago on April 20 isn’t “tourismophobia”.

ATAN said in a statement: “We are not against foreigners, there is no tourismphobia.

“We are not against tourism, which is also the engine of our economy. We do ask instead that this industry remains as is, that no more land is occupied by new constructions, and that business opportunities are focused on more long-term sustainable activities.”

But there has been growing frustration over the millions of tourists heading to the Canaries every year, which critics claim has put a strain on the local infrastructure and resources, as well as worsening the housing crisis. 

The higher purchase power of tourists paired with high demands for holiday rentals has pushed up rents and mortgages to levels some residents find unaffordable, and has pushed some to go live in shanty towns, their cars or in caves.

In order to allow locals and tourists to coexist in harmony on the stunning archipelago, ATAN believes holiday rentals should be regulated so as not to have a negative impact “on access to and prices of residential housing”.

The organisation continued: “We are not against new residents in the Canaries, but it is necessary to manage the existing overpopulation with limits to its exorbitant growth. At present, natural resources are being overexploited by the existing population.”

Water is one of the commodities most scarce in the Canary Islands, and the arrival of millions of people on top of the 2.2 million permanent residents only exacerbates the problem, the organisation noted. 

Another issue being created by millions of people regularly reaching the Canaries’ shores is related to traffic and transport.

ATAN wrote: “We are not against the use of private cars, nor against road transport, but it is urgent to look for public and shared transport alternatives, and to avoid the increase of the car fleet that worsens traffic jams.”

The lack of respect for locals and the local environment showed by some rude tourists is also an issue highlighted by ATAN and likely to be mentioned at the upcoming protest.

The statement said: “We are not against visiting the nature reserves, but we do ask for respect from locals and visitors for our heritage.

“The natural areas are suffering greatly from excessive human presence and lack of responsible behaviours and we are putting their sustainability at risk.”

The planned protest will see locals in the Canaries voicing their frustration at local governments and tourism giants who, they feel, are not listening to their demand for a change of the current tourism model, branded “unsustainable” by ATAN.

The group said: “It is an indisputable fact that the current conditions will continue to erode the experience of living in and visiting the Canary Islands and it is heartbreaking to see that there is no strategic vision nor desire to remedy this situation at a time when sustainability, the environment and social responsibility are already fundamental concepts to ensure the present and future of our planet. The Canary Islands have a limit. Help us to save them.” 

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.

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2 thoughts on “‘We don’t hate tourism!’ Canary Islands protesters urge tourists to save region from brink”
  1. Do the protesters have specific proposals on how to regulate holiday rentals to ensure housing availability for locals?

  2. I totally agree with the sentiment expressed by ATAN. It’s crucial to find a balance that allows tourism to prosper without causing harm to the local community and environment. I hope tourists understand the importance of sustainable tourism practices in preserving the beauty of the Canary Islands for future generations.

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