Furious Tenerife locals protest as 6.2m visitors swarm island | World | News

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Tenerife is collapsing under the strain of record breaking tourism, according to locals.

Furious residents are set to take to the streets to protest against the soaring levels of tourists visiting the island, which is part of the Spanish Canaries, as sewerage pours into the sea and traffic chaos erupts. 

The island has broken all its records for tourist arrivals according to the latest figures with data from the Tenerife Island Situation Bulletin – prepared by the Chamber of Commerce of Santa Cruz de Tenerife – revealing more than 6.5 million people visited the island in 2023.

This is the highest number of visitors in its history and 7.1 percent more than the previous year. The predictions for Easter and 2024 as a whole is that the number of tourists will soar even higher.

The most iconic places on the island – including Anaga and Mount Teide – are experiencing situations of “collapse” due to the massive influx of visitors and “tourismphobia” is beginning to take hold, according to local publication Canary Islands Now.

The protesters are set to take to the streets to fight against further development of the island for tourists in a huge demonstration on April 20 from Plaza Weyler in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

The groups will use the motto “the Canary Islands have a limit. For a change of model!” and they will demand better conservation of the natural spaces of the Canary Islands, the implementation of a tourist tax as well as a regulation of the purchase of homes by foreigners.

One of the groups taking part is ATAN – Tenerife Friends of Nature Association – which says that the impact of tourism is that of transport chaos and a water emergency whilst poverty on the island gets worse.

In a statement, the group said: ”The situation is alarming. 

“Despite the record increase in tourists, poverty continues to rise. 

“The islands’ biodiversity and natural spaces are suffering unprecedented deterioration, while finding housing has become an increasingly difficult task.”

The association added: “Road journeys that used to take just a few minutes now take up to an hour and a half, contributing to widespread transport chaos. 

“Furthermore, the declaration of a water emergency in Tenerife and the daily discharge of more than 50 million litres of sewage into the sea in Tenerife alone are unmistakable signs of an unsustainable and unbearable model.”

However, not everyone agrees that tourism is a blight on Tenerife and the Canary Islands.

José Carlos Francisco, president of the economic and social council said: “I am a staunch defender of tourism as an economic activity and convinced that the Canary Islands without tourism would be an enormously poor region. 

“Of course, success creates problems that must be managed, but the way to manage these problems cannot be to take away tourism, because then the difficulties would be immensely greater.”

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