Lanzarote and Tenerife issue plea to Brits to keep visiting as thousands consider cancelling holidays

A golden sand beach with a promenade on the right with parasols and tables.
The holiday resort of Playa de las Americas on the Canary Island Tenerife, Spain -Credit:Getty Images

The Canary Islands have issued a plea to British tourists, urging them not to cancel their holidays amid fears of anti-tourist protests. Jessica de Leon, the regional tourism chief, has reassured visitors that they are still welcome on the islands, despite planned protests calling for a rethink of the Spanish archipelago's tourism industry.

Thousands are expected to join the demonstrations across the Canary Islands this Saturday. "It is still safe to visit the Canary Islands, and we are delighted to welcome you," de Leon told The Telegraph.

She also expressed understanding towards the protestors' frustrations but argued it was "unfair to blame tourism". Fernando Clavijo, the president of the Canary Islands, agreed with de Leon, accusing some activists of harbouring "smack of tourist-phobia".

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"People who come here to visit and spend their money must not be criticised or insulted. We are playing with our main source of income," Clavijo stated. However, Gabriel Gonzalez, a councillor for the hard-Left Podemos party in Tenerife's resort town of Adeje, said: "We have the feeling that we are not living off tourism; it is tourism that is living off us."

Nestor Marrero, secretary of a Tenerife ecology group called ATAN, said: "The number of tourists should be reduced. We should aim for higher-quality visitors, not people in all-included resorts who don't leave the hotel or interact with locals and our culture in any way."

In 2021, the islands, which have a population of 2.2 million, welcomed 13.9 million visitors, reports Birmingham Live. According to data from Spain's National Statistics Institute, 33.8 per cent of Canaries residents risk poverty or social exclusion; this is the worst rate in any region apart from Andalucia.

Fernando Clavijo, addressing media personnel this week, said: "All the actions this government has taken have been based on a revision of this model,". "The Canaries tourist model has been a successful one, but obviously, as with anything, there are things that could be perfected."