The popular Spanish holiday destination of Lanzarote is standing firm in its attempt to ‘saturate’ the island with too many tourists and become less dependent on British visitors.
Island president María Dolores Corujo says the authority does not want to change its mind amid claims the new approach is already damaging Lanzarote’s image and that other islands are struggling with the approach.
She also accused opposition councilors of the Partido Popular of scaremongering and participating in a “disinformation campaign”.
“We will continue to promote the debate on the limits of growth, even if they try to silence us with fears of damage to Lanzarote’s image,” she insisted.
Ms Corujo’s comments also came as the director of the UK’s Spanish tourist office insisted the country would not ‘discriminate by type of visitor’.
The popular Spanish holiday destination of Lanzarote (pictured, file photo) is standing firm in its bid to ‘saturate’ the island with too many tourists and become less dependent on British visitors, despite some fears the plan could harm the island’s image. harm
Manuel Butler told MailOnline that while Spain’s travel industries need to work together to tackle the challenges of mass tourism, the country’s main focus has been on “becoming a more sustainable and competitive tourism destination.”
Lanzarote’s island government has not yet released details on how the desaturation will be carried out, but a major holiday hotspot on the island, which is part of the Canary Islands off the coast of north-west Africa, has already started preparing its own plans .
Famara on the northwest coast of Lanzarote is a huge tourist hotspot due to its scenic beauty and sandy beach that attracts surfers from all over the world.
But locals say it’s a classic example of saturation, while environmentalists describe it as a “red dot on overtourism” on the island map.
Residents, entrepreneurs, ecologists, clubs and associations have just held the first of a series of meetings to “propose solutions to the overcrowding of parts of the beach” and the city at large.
They were accompanied by the island’s environment minister, Elena Solís.
In discussing the current situation at the resort, the meeting agreed that “Famara is saturated, there are too many people, cars and garbage.”
They also agreed that there were too many vehicles, including caravans and campers, and too many cars driving around looking for parking spaces.
They also cited “rude behaviour” and the lack of a tourism strategy at the shops, restaurants and surf schools.
Olaya Gracia, from Ecologistas en Acción (Ecologists in Action), said that everyone was aware that there was a problem and that it was not about ‘going against each other’, but about putting things in common.
And Carmen Portella, of the Desert Watch organization, said: “The situation is unsustainable and getting worse.” And she added: “You have to sacrifice people, not nature, it has already been sacrificed enough.”
Ideas that could be considered at future meetings include limiting access to the beach road and greater protection of the natural park area.
Lanzarote’s president, Dolores Corujo, sparked much controversy last month when she stated that the island was saturated and wanted to change its approach to tourism.
María Dolores Corujo, president of the island of Lanzarote (pictured second right) says the authority does not want to change its mind amid claims the new approach is already damaging Lanzarote’s image and that other islands are struggling with the approach
Lanzarote’s island government has not yet released details on how the desaturation will be carried out, but Famara (pictured, file photo) – a holiday hotspot on the island which is part of the Canary Islands off the coast of north-west Africa – has already begun work preparing his own plans
This attitude, she said, would mean that we aim to receive fewer tourists, “with more spending at the destination, so that they generate more wealth in the economy as a whole” — in other words, attract more luxury tourists.
With more than half of the island’s visitors coming from the UK, it would be necessary to ‘follow a diversification strategy to reduce reliance on the UK market’.
Growth was therefore expected in the French, Italian, Dutch and peninsular markets, which would have a direct impact on the increase in tourism spending at the destination. Many people thought Lanzarote was tired of having so many British tourists who don’t spend as much as other nationalities.
Opposition councilors have criticized the island’s government, dubbed the Cabildo, saying the president’s comments damage Lanzarote’s tourism image.
Others say ‘nothing will happen’, as has been said before.
A member of the Podemos Canarias political party said Dolores Corujo was unlikely to be interested in the outrage her remarks would cause, describing it as “an announcement that could change the way our people make a living forever.”
But the island president says opposition parties such as the Popular Party are ‘sowing fear that doesn’t exist’, including within the British market.
And she said the desaturation plans should be welcomed, not opposed, as they would enhance, not detract from, the island’s tourism offerings.
“Lanzarote’s major challenges are to limit tourism growth as a step ahead of a process of decline that will allow accommodation supply to be reduced while preserving and even improving the income of those who visit the island,” he said. she.
‘The Balearic Islands, the Costa del Sol or Barcelona are constantly in the news for their attempts to limit the growth in the number of vehicles associated with tourism, rationalize the arrival of cruise ships or control the growth of holiday rentals without causing any reputational crisis in the issuing markets.
On the contrary, when a destination makes an effort to ensure its preservation, it is always good news for those who visit it,” says Dolores Corujo.
“We will continue to promote the debate on the limits of growth, even if they try to silence us for fear of damage to Lanzarote’s image and whoever that is, the only viable model must be based on social and environmental sustainability .’
Meanwhile, Manuel Butler, director of the UK’s Spanish Tourist, told MailOnline: ‘Spain is a socially inclusive destination and we do not discriminate by type of visitor. It is true that our travel industries must work together to tackle the challenges of mass tourism, not only in Spain but around the world, to achieve a model that is more responsible and reduces the environmental footprint.
“For Spain, our strategy is aimed at becoming a more sustainable and competitive tourism destination that addresses seasonal and geographic challenges, supports local industries and jobs, and helps preserve local heritage and culture.
“It is true that a few destinations in Spain are taking steps to encourage more responsible tourism behaviour, but at the end of the day we pride ourselves on being a welcoming country that is open to visitors from all different backgrounds and walks of life.”
It was reported on Monday that an attempt to turn away ‘budget’ British tourists in search of ‘posh’ holidaymakers is causing misery for residents of Majorca and Ibiza, who are now forced to live in vans due to rising prices.
Famara (photo, file image) on Lanzarote’s northwest coast is a huge tourist hotspot for its scenic beauty and sandy beach that attracts surfers from all over the world. But locals say it’s a classic example of saturation, with environmentalists describing it as a “red dot on overtourism” on the island map
Locals in the Balearic Islands said they wondered how they would ‘survive’ and afford to rent or buy properties amid rising prices caused by a shift towards luxury tourists who can afford more expensive properties.
“People are now looking at how to survive,” said Rona Pineda, 32, who shares a two-bedroom apartment with a couple in Majorca. Bloomberg. ‘If you have a normal salary, it is very difficult to find a place to live these days.’
The comments came after Majorca’s director of tourism, Lucia Escribano, stated last year that her industry chiefs are ‘not interested in hosting budget tourists from the UK’ – as the island tries to transform itself from a destination for cheap drinks and beach parties by limiting the number of British tourists.
Escribano recently said she had been misquoted, with tourism bosses in Palma insisting they were looking forward to welcoming a record number of Britons.