Sunday 21 April 2024 - 09:44

Some 55,000 Protest on Spain's Canary Islands against Mass Tourism

Story Code : 1130139
Some 55,000 Protest on Spain
A total of 55,000 demonstrators on the eight inhabited islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Africa demanded an upper limit on the number of tourists and called for affordable housing for locals, the state TV station RTVE and the newspaper El Pais reported.

They waved posters that said: "Tourism increases my rent" and "Paradise is not made with concrete," German news agency (dpa) reported.

The protesters were also calling for effective monitoring of the regulations for holiday rentals, a limit on the purchase of properties by people not resident on the islands and the introduction of an environmental tax for tourists.

Some 2.2 million people live on the Canary Islands. Almost seven times as many foreign tourists visited the islands last year, with around 14 million visitors, mainly from the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands.

There were also around 2 million Spaniards from the mainland who went on holiday there in 2023.

Most foreign tourists travelled to the larger islands of Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.

Tourism is essential for the islands' economy. The industry accounts for 35% of economic output and secures 40% of jobs. However, only a few benefit from the boom.

Of Spain's 17 autonomous communities, or regions, the Canary Islands are the second poorest. Activists emphasize that they are not fundamentally against tourism, but against the creeping destruction of the islands.

The biologist and well-known documentary filmmaker Felipe Ravina recently said: "For years we have been promoting ourselves as a unique nature destination, but tourism is destroying the product we sell."