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Furious Tenerife locals demand tourism cash is used properly | World | News

Furious locals living on the holiday island of Tenerife have demanded that money made from its booming tourism trade be used properly as thousands of tourists flock to the island.

They have called for a more equitable distribution of wealth so that locals receive some benefits from the thousands of holidaymakers – including many Brits – that come to the Canary Islands every year.

President of the Telesforo Bravo-Juan Coello Foundation Jaime Coello told Canarias7 that the “Canary Islands have a limit” and that the people were “fed up by a failed tourism and land-use planning model”.

Campaigners are due to take to the streets of the island on April 20 as part of their campaign for changes to how the island handles the relationship between tourists and local residents.

The demonstration will be made up of tens of organisations and citizen groups who believe that money from tourism should be spent properly on local infrastructure.

A spokesperson for the Salvar La Tejita association Ruben Perez said they were demanding “sustainable development” and a “complete reorientation of the tourist activity and model” in Tenerife.

The organisers are also calling for the “redistribution of tourist wealth” which they claim has caused “an increase in the impoverishment and social exclusion of the island’s inhabitants”. Furthermore, they said that most of the money spent stays in the tourist’s original country.

Protests are due to occur not just in Tenerife, but in other Canary Islands such as Gran Canaria, La Palma, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote.

Mr Coello added that while there is discontent about the impact of tourists on Tenerife any change should come from the top down. He explained: “Both the president of the Canary Islands and those of the Chamber of Deputies are wrong in their diagnosis. They are the ones who should be the protagonists of this change of model.”

The latest disruption to Tenerife comes hours after holidaymakers were warned to expect a different atmosphere if they planned to travel to the island after April 20.

Following the announcement of the protest, the President of the island Fernando Clavijo has called for “common sense” and reminded the public just how important tourism is to the island.

He said that tourists “come to enjoy themselves, to spend a few days and to leave their money in the Canary Islands”.

Antonia Morales, president of the Federation of Neighbourhood Associations of the Canary Islands added: “The situation is alarming. Despite the record increase in tourists, poverty continues to rise.

“The biodiversity and natural spaces of the islands are suffering unprecedented deterioration, while the search for housing has become an increasingly difficult task.”

The association added: “Journeys by road that used to last a few minutes can easily now take up to an hour and a half, contributing to general transportation 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 unequivocal signs of an unsustainable and unbearable model.”


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