Tenerife pleads ‘hands off our island!’ as tourism protests slammed as ‘unfair and unjust’ | Travel News | Travel

The popular holiday island of Tenerife has called for people to stop knocking its reputation, saying it is unfair and unjustified.

Both Tenerife and Gran Canaria have been the target of demonstrations in recent weeks, with some hotspots seeing graffiti telling tourists to go home.

A number of groups have now called a demonstration for April 20th to voice what they regard as overtourism spoiling the islands.

Now, Tenerife’s government has hit back at the critics and says “tourismphobia” isn’t justified. It has also been suggested that “competing destinations are interested in the island having a bad name.”

Vice president and advisor of tourism of the island corporation, Lope Afonso launched his defence of Tenerife after being questioned at a press conference about the demonstration called on April 20 in the two Canary capitals by different social entities that demand a change in the economic model.

He said the the criticism was unfair and called for a more calm analysis because there are other factors that influence, for example, the housing situation. This included the fact that owners are more interested in vacation rentals than long-term rentals because the legal framework does not favour their ability to recover the property easily in the latter case.

He also stressed that there are fewer tourist beds on the island after the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Afonso said the unfair criticism and international media reports could influence a change in the tourist profile, which has managed to focus on the visitor with the highest spending at the destination.

He called for the attacks to stop and for “truthful information and reasonable arguments.”

He warned that this type of action was neither convenient nor fair and felt its dissemination in international media was also influenced by other competing destinations, which are interested in Tenerife “having a bad reputation.”

About 20 groups have called the demonstrations in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz, Tenerife on April 20 under the banner “The Canary Islands have a limit.”

They say it will be an “historic” occasion never seen before and will show support for the conservation of natural spaces, the ecotax, the tourism and vacation moratorium and the regulation of home purchases by non-residents.

One of the organisers said: “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.

“Road journeys that used to last a few minutes now last 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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