Spain’s Canary Islands Protest Against Tourism Boom: Here’s Why

In a recent demonstration in Tenerife, thousands of residents of Spain’s Canary Islands expressed their discontent with the surging tourism industry, calling for temporary limitations on tourist arrivals. The protesters voiced concerns over the rapid expansion of short-term holiday rentals and hotel construction, which has led to soaring housing costs for locals. Demonstrators held placards with slogans such as “People live here” and “We don’t want to see our island die,” emphasizing their desire for changes to the current tourism model. Despite tourism contributing 35% to the archipelago’s GDP, residents argue that the industry’s benefits are not adequately distributed among locals.

The protest, organized by environmental organizations, aims to address the strain on the islands’ environment, infrastructure, and housing stock caused by the influx of tourists. With foreign tourist numbers increasing by 13% in 2023 to nearly 14 million visitors, concerns about the sustainability of the tourism industry are mounting. Local authorities are considering measures to regulate short-term rentals and property purchases by foreigners, recognizing the need for stricter controls as the sector continues to expand. While acknowledging the importance of tourism to the region’s economy, Canary Islands president Fernando Clavijo emphasized the necessity of implementing measures to prevent unchecked growth in the industry.

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