'The Canaries have a limit!' Thousands protest in Tenerife in rage over mass tourism

'The Canaries have a limit!' Thousands protest in Tenerife in rage over mass tourism

Watch: 'Classy people are not going to go to Tenerife!' - boozy British tourists slammed by protesters

GB News
James Saunders

By James Saunders

Published: 20/04/2024

- 14:55

'It's not tourist-phobia... it's Canarycide', read one banner, while other protesters displayed communist placards and images of guns

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Tenerife to protest today in a demonstration against mass tourism - which they say is "killing the Canary Islands."

Around 50,000 people have assembled in Tenerife's capital Santa Cruz to march under the banner "Canarias tiene un límite (The Canaries have a limit)", with demonstrators chanting against the effects of the islands' tourist industry like the pricing-out of residents and damage to the environment.

The protests have been backed by a range of environmental campaign groups including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth; as well as the Canary Islands, Spaniards have also protested in Madrid, and are set to rally in London, in an attempt to raise awareness in the Spanish government and among prospective British tourists.

The march through Santa Cruz has also attracted demonstrators from hard-left groups; communist banners were seen in crowds in the city, while left-wing 'ultras' from local football club CD Tenerife have also joined the marches.

Protesters in Tenerife

Tens of thousands marched through streets in popular hotspot Tenerife today in protest against the impacts of mass tourism


Amidst the demonstrations, locals have spoken to media to detail their experiences with the islands' tourist industry - almost six million Britons travelled to the archipelago in the last year alone, which some have claimed is "eroding" their culture.

Some protesters were seen sporting extreme slogans; a number of those at the rally were pictured wearing t-shirts with pictures of an AK-47 rifle and the phrase "defend Canarias", while another was seen wearing a shirt with a large print of a middle finger alongside the words "f**k off!".

While anti-tourist sentiment is rife among the marches - with activists spotted holding up placards decrying holiday homes as "domestic terrorism", some protesters have dialled back the rhetoric. One banner read: "It's not tourist-phobia... it's Canarycide."

Other locals have insisted that they still want tourists, but want to change the industry in order to protect the islands - one told the Express: "This island is beautiful and if we don’t protect it there will be nothing for the tourists to see."


Tenerife protesters

Activists in capital Santa Cruz raised banners, one of which read: "It's not tourist-phobia... it's Canarycide."


One of the protest's organisers said the public had lost faith in mass tourism, telling the outlet: "The model is over, according to the population - it has been discredited.

"It is time to start a new model. It is obvious from the number of people who came the people want change."

Across the islands, tensions have been simmering over recent weeks, with graffiti appearing in popular hotspots telling visitors to "go home".

Though local officials have defended tourists - the island's regional tourism chief, Jessica de León has insisted that tourists are still welcome, telling the Telegraph: "It is still safe to visit the Canary Islands, and we are delighted to welcome you."

De León added that she understood locals' frustration, but argued it was "unfair to blame tourism".

While Fernando Clavijo, the Canary Islands' president, said that some activists "smack of tourist-phobia".

He continued: "People who come here to visit and spend their money must not be criticised or insulted... We are playing with our main source of income."

Numbers from Spain’s National Statistics Institute show that 33.8% of people in the Canaries are at risk of poverty or social exclusion - the highest proportion among any of the country's regions except Andalusia.

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