UK tourists ditch Lanzarote and Tenerife after little-known EU rule change

A beach in Lanzarote with golden sand to the right and crystal clear seawater to the left.
Playa Flamingo, one of the main beaches of Playa Planca, Lanzarote -Credit:Getty Images

UK holidaymakers have reportedly "abandoned" their properties in the Canary Islands, including popular destinations like Lanzarote and Tenerife, due to a change in European Union rules. The new regulation limits UK citizens to spending only 90 days at a time in Spain, a rule that has come into effect years after the Brexit vote.

This has led to frustration among UK travellers who had relocated to the Canary Islands for a fresh start. This development follows recent protests on the Canary Islands against tourism, with thousands of locals taking to the streets to declare that the region is "not for sale".

The residents are demanding a temporary cap on tourist arrivals in an attempt to curb the surge in short-term holiday rentals and hotel construction, which they argue is escalating housing costs for locals. Placards stating "We don't want to see our island die", "Stop Hotels" and "Canaries not for sale" were visible as thousands marched through the streets.

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"It's not a message against the tourist, but against a tourism model that doesn't benefit this land and needs to be changed," one protester declared in the capital of Tenerife, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Antonio Bullon, taking part in the protests, added: "The authorities must immediately stop this corrupt and destructive model that depletes the resources and makes the economy more precarious.", reports Birmingham Live.

"The Canary Islands have limits and people's patience too." Meanwhile, the president of the islands expressed his pride on Friday about the region being a top Spanish destination for tourists, while conceding that tighter controls are necessary.

Despite having a local population of two million, the Canary Islands attract significantly more visitors annually.