New Canary Islands rules for Brits after 'anti-tourism' protests and graffiti

Thousands of people demonstrate against tourism policies on the island of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain on April 20, 2024
Island locals marched in protest against tourism policies last Saturday -Credit:Andres Gutierrez/Anadolu via Getty Images

UK holidaymakers could face new rules in the Canary Islands following "over-tourism" protests in popular destinations such as Lanzarote and Tenerife.

Thousands of locals took to the streets on Saturday, expressing their frustration at the influx of British tourists. An anti-tourist sentiment has been growing across the Canary Islands, with residents declaring "enough is enough".

Locals from Lanzarote, Tenerife and other islands have warned that there is a limit to the number of tourists the Canary Islands can handle.

Anti-tourism graffiti and local campaigns protesting against the surge of UK visitors have become more prevalent. Such tourists have been cautioned that their presence is reportedly driving up housing prices and making accommodation scarce.

The seven main Canary Islands are home to 2.2million people. In 2023, they welcomed nearly 14 million international tourists, a 13 per cent increase from the previous year, according to official data.

To manage the increasing number of visitors, local authorities may introduce new rules and regulations, reports Birmingham Live.

Visitor limits

Rosa Davila, the first female president of Tenerife, has proposed putting a cap on visitor numbers. She cautioned: "There have to be limits to prevent tourism from overflowing."

Tourism, which makes up 35 per cent of the Canary Islands' GDP, is under scrutiny as locals demand changes to the industry. Demonstrations took place across Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and La Palma on Saturday.


Davila, an advocate for a new tourism model, has proposed charging visitors a fee to access natural spaces. She also suggests measures to "modulate" the number of tourists arriving in Tenerife and to "study the impact of demographic growth".

Following the mass protests, she stated: "We must analyse the exceptionalities that can be applied in a territory as fragile and limited as ours. What is clear is that Tenerife cannot be a theme park.

"Those who visit us have to value and respect our natural and cultural wealth, our resources, and they have to be clear about the rules for their preservation."

Daily tax

Meanwhile, Fernando Clavijo, President of the Canary Islands, hinted at a potential daily cost for visitors. Although not currently included in plans, Clavijo said the government is open to considering a three euro per night charge.

Last Friday, he commented: "It is true that the eco-tax is not included in the government program, but it is also true that we are willing to discuss it - the government will always engage in dialogue."

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