'I moved to the UK from Gran Canaria and can't bear to see tourism destroying my home'

tourism is “unsustainable” and is destroying the territory, a former islander now living in the UK has said. The sheer number of foreign guests, while marketed as an economic boon for the area, does not provide a net positive, according to locals.

One native Gran Canarian has told how she has seen the destruction wrought on her home by , which has struck the islands on multiple levels.

Canary Islanders have been left with a looming environmental disaster, with the current tourism model having made “poverty and social inequality”, according to locals.

This new insight comes as Canary Islands protesters plan to march in London tomorrow (April 20) against overtourism in their homes, in solidarity with those demonstrating on the islands this weekend – including in Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria.

A -based group has said that, while they bear no ill-will towards tourists, but officials shifting their focus to accommodating as many tourists as possible has destroyed the islands.

Speaking to, Monica, a violinist from Gran Canaria currently living in London, has told how the Canary Islands mass-tourism model is “unsustainable” and “destroys” the local environment.

Monica moved to London nearly a decade ago after a 2006 visit during which she fell in love with the UK but remains acutely aware of the effects tourism has had on her home.

She is among 30 members of Canarians in the UK, a group formed by islanders challenging the islands’ tourism model and communicating what is happening to Britons, who are among the most frequent visitors.

She spoke out against the island chain’s existing approach to attracting visitors, saying the current model is “unsustainable” and causes irreversible damage.

She said: “It destroys the environment and protected natural spaces, it is leading to drought through the overexploitation of limited water resources, it raises house prices on the islands beyond the affordability of residents, and creates poverty and social inequality among the local population.”

Monica added that, given the islands are comparatively small strips of land, they can’t accommodate the vast number of visitors, and locals are struggling.

She said: “We cannot forget that we are islands and therefore, have limited capacity in terms of space and infrastructure.

“Last year, 16 million tourists visited the islands, compared with only two million local residents.”

“Accommodating this amount of tourists has required a huge number of construction projects and places a massive strain on the environment and limited resources of the islands.”

The violinist added that the damage done by local tourism is irreversible but that incoming mega-projects must be stopped from causing further destruction.

She added: “Unfortunately, the damage done by the current model cannot be reversed, but we can make a change going forward and stop more planned mega-projects, most of them illegal, from being built. 

“Contrary to popular belief, the current tourism model does not help the local population.”

“Most of the hotels, bars, restaurants and shops are owned by overseas companies, so we see an increase in tourism and infrastructure in the islands every year, but this doesn’t benefit the local population.

“In fact, the average salary in the Canary Islands remains the second lowest in Spain.

“Housing prices have increased to the point that local residents cannot afford it.”

Canarians in the UK is planning a protest in London this weekend, with the group set to descend on the city centre near the London Eye at 12pm on Saturday, April 20. Protests will be taking place in Tenerife, among other Canary Islands, at the same time.


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