UK holidaymakers forced to scrap Tenerife getaways after EU rule change

British holidaymakers are abandoning their winter trips to the Canary Islands due to European Union rules and rising flight costs.

In the last few months, tensions have been mounting between Tenerife locals and foreign visitors. This past Saturday saw a massive 120,000-strong anti-tourist protest in the capital of Santa Cruz, which garnered international attention.

Lisa Robertson, manager of Jags Bar, a Scottish pub in Playa de las Americas, says an exodus of Brits who divided their time between the UK and Spain is already happening. Post-Brexit regulations require UK citizens to leave Spain after 90 days, prompting those with second homes to make more frequent trips between the two countries, incurring significant financial strain.

Tenerife nightclub exterior at nights with massive crowds gathered outside
Tenerife is a highly popular holiday destination for Brits -Credit:Jonathan Buckmaster/Daily Express

"I know at least four people who have sold their houses over here because they can't come out as much as they used to be able to," Lisa, who has resided in Tenerife for nearly 14 years, told the Express.

-Credit:(Image: Jonathan Buckmaster/Daily Express )

"There's one couple in particular who used to do eight months [in the Canaries] and then six months in Scotland. But because they can only stay for 90 days they just sold their holiday home."

Jags Bar, with its offering of Tennent's lager on tap and the chance to watch horse racing from Ayr, used to provide Scottish families a taste of home under the Tenerife sun. According to Lisa, however, the usual flock of Scots to this popular watering hole has significantly declined and the atmosphere isn't what it once was.

Tenerife protests
Thousands of Tenerife locals took to the streets on Saturday to protest over-tourism -Credit:Getty Images

"I knew a lot of people who would come [to Tenerife] for months at a time and be here every night. I haven't seen them [since the rules changed]. There are lots of people like that. It's quite hard," she lamented.

She also pointed out the employment issue impacting British bars across the island: "It's also affected staffing as well. If you speak to any British bar on the island they are screaming for staff."

Surprisingly, the patrons at many of Tenerife's British pubs slinging beers are now from an older demographic, due to post-Brexit legislation requiring either citizenship or pre-existing work rights in Spain.

"The younger ones can only come for three months and three months only," Lisa explained. "I can't take them on." Another challenge hitting the Brits in Tenerife is the spiralling rental prices on the island, a chief complaint among protesters.

"I know families of four who've moved to one-bedroom flats because it's cheaper," she revealed, adding that even long-term residents have been forced to move as landlords hike up the rent beyond affordability.

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