Canary Islands' new rules for UK tourists as locals say 'enough is enough'

Locals say tourism is driving up the cost of living
Locals say tourism is driving up the cost of living -Credit:Anadolu via Getty Images

British holidaymakers may encounter new rules and regulations next time they visit the Canary Islands, after a crackdown on tourism has been unveiled. Over the weekend, thousands of locals protested against the issue of "overtourism" in locations such as Lanzarote and Tenerife, expressing their frustration over a surge in British tourists.

A growing anti-tourist sentiment has been brewing across the Canary Islands in recent months, with residents declaring "enough is enough". Locals from Lanzarote, Tenerife and other islands have cautioned that there is a limit to the amount of tourism the destination can handle.

Inhabitants have taken to expressing their discontent towards visitors through anti-tourism graffiti and local campaigns protesting against the influx of Brits to the popular holiday destination. UK tourists have been warned that local housing prices are being driven up and availability is becoming increasingly scarce, reports Birmingham Live.

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

Thousands of people demonstrate against tourism policies on the island of Tenerife, Canary Islands

In response to the escalating number of visitors, local authorities and governance could implement new rules and regulations.

Rosa Davila, the first female president of Tenerife, has suggested imposing visitor limits. She cautioned: "In addition, there have to be limits to prevent tourism from overflowing."

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

Davila has suggested a new tourism model that would require visitors to pay a fee to access natural spaces. She also advocates for measures to "modulate" the number of tourists arriving in Tenerife and to "study the impact of demographic growth.She said after the mass protests: ".

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."

Fernando Clavijo, President of the Canary Islands, previously hinted at the possibility of a daily charge for visitors. Although not currently included in plans, Clavijo mentioned the government's openness to consider a three euro per night charge.

Last Friday, he said: "It is true that the ecotax 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."