Canary Islands 'welcomes' British holidaymakers despite anti-tourism protests

Tourists sit at a restaurant at Las Vistas beach in Tenerife  (AFP via Getty Images)
Tourists sit at a restaurant at Las Vistas beach in Tenerife (AFP via Getty Images)

The Canary Islands tourism minister has urged British holidaymakers not to cancel their holidays ahead of anti-tourism protests planned by locals across the archipelago this Saturday.

Locals have been speaking out against excessive levels of tourism which they claim is causing overcrowding and high rental prices.

Rallying under the slogan "The Canaries have a limit", a collective of groups on the islands off northwest Africa are planning a series of protests on the weekend.

But Jessica de León, the regional tourism chief, told The Telegraph that the Canary Islands remain open for business.

“It is still safe to visit the Canary Islands, and we are delighted to welcome you," Ms de León stated.

She acknowledged the protesters' frustrations, especially regarding housing, but said that blaming tourism is "unfair".

Fernando Clavijo, president of the Canary Islands, said the views expressed by activists have undertones of "tourist-phobia".

Last week, members of the Canaries Sold Out collective began an "indefinite" hunger strike to protest against luxury urban development projects in Tenerife.

The activists camped in the Plaza de la Concepción in La Laguna, in the north of Tenerife, protesting against two luxury urban development projects in the south of the island.

They also want a moratorium on tourism development projects.

The building of La Tejita hotel and the Cuna del Alma resort, which have been the targets of campaigners' anger, have been plagued by legal troubles.

A total of 13.9 million tourists visited the Canary Islands last year, according to local chamber of commerce figures, 13 per cent more than in 2022. That is more than six times the islands' population of 2.2 million.

The biggest tourist markets are the UK and Germany, although they are also a popular destination for mainland Spaniards.

Victor Martin, a spokesman for the collective, described the tourism level as unsustainable due to limited resources, calling it a "suicidal growth model".

The Congress of Deputies, Spain's lower house, voted not to halt the construction of the Cuna del Alma project in Puertito de Adeje despite protests outside the parliament building in Madrid.