Protest in the Canary Islands in Spain against mass tourism

STORY: Holding signs reading “People live here” and “We don’t want to see our island die,” protesters said changes must be made to the tourism sector, which is responsible for 35% of gross domestic product (GDP) on the Canary Islands archipelago.

“We can’t handle all this, it’s too much, too much for such a small island,” protester Sara Ines Marrero said of the mass tourism model. “We are also fighting for decent housing, to not have to pay exorbitant rents just to be able to live on our own land,” she added.

The organizations say local authorities should temporarily limit visitor numbers to ease pressure on the island’s environment, infrastructure and housing stock, and restrict real estate purchases by foreigners.

The demonstrators included six people on hunger strike who attended the rally in wheelchairs.

The collective, based in La Laguna, is opposing a hotel construction project on La Tejita beach, south of the island of Tenerife. Saturday was their tenth day of hunger strike.

The authorities on the islands are concerned about the consequences for the local population. A bill expected to be passed this year that will tighten rules on short-term rentals follows complaints from residents who have been priced out of the housing market.

Foreign visitors to the Canary Islands, an archipelago with a population of 2.2 million, reached 13.9 million in 2023, up 13.1% from 2022, according to official data