Mass protests in Canary Islands decry overtourism

Published April 21, 2024
RESIDENTS of Spain’s Canary Islands hold a demonstration calling upon the government to prepare an environment-friendly tourism model.—AFP
RESIDENTS of Spain’s Canary Islands hold a demonstration calling upon the government to prepare an environment-friendly tourism model.—AFP

MADRID: Tens of thousands of demonstrators hit the streets across Spain’s Canary Islands on Saturday to demand changes to the model of mass tourism they say is overwhelming the Atlantic archipelago.

Rallying under the slogan “The Canary Islands have a limit”, demonstrators began rallying at midday, flag-waving crowds packing the streets of the main towns across all of the archipelago’s seven islands.

Chanting and whistling, they waved scores of placards and banners emblazoned with slogans reading: “The Canary Islands are not up for sale!” or “A moratorium on tourism” while others simply said: “Respect my home”.

Organisers say mass tourism perpetuates an economic model that harms local residents and are demanding the authorities limit the numbers. Police said 20,000 demonstrators had turned out for the demonstrations, but organisers put the figure closer to 50,000, Spain’s public television said.

“We are not against tourism,” one woman demonstrator called Rosario Correo told Spain’s TVE public television.

“We’re asking that they change this model that allows for unlimited growth of tourism.” They are calling for a halt to the work on two new hotels on Tenerife, the largest and most developed of the archipelago’s seven islands. And they also want residents to be given a greater say in what they see as uncontrolled development which is harming the environment.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2024

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