Canary Islands tourism grows despite protests | World | News

The Canary Islands have welcomed a staggering 6,493,340 million tourists up to May, marking a 10.68 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

Spain is on track for a record-breaking tourist season, with over 33 million international tourists visiting up to May, a 13.6 percent increase compared to the same period in 2023.

The UK remains the top source of tourists for Spain, with over 6.3 million visitors from January to May marking a 10.6 percent jump.

In May alone, Spain welcomed 9.3 million international tourists, an 11.5 percent rise from May 2023, with spending reaching €11,687 million, a hefty 19.7 percent increase from the same month last year.

The UK led the pack in May, sending over 1.9 million tourists, a 5.7 percent increase from May 2023. French tourist numbers hit 1.3 million, up by 11.7 percent, while German visitors totalled 1.2 million, a 9.3 percent hike.

It comes after thousands of locals flooded the streets in protest against mass tourism in popular holiday towns. 

Locals from the Canary Islands protested against a tourism model they say has plundered the environment, priced them out of housing and forced them into precarious work.

Last month, demonstrators marched through Menorca and Mallorca against tourist “massification” across Spain’s island regions.

Carme Reines, from a collective which organised the protest in Palma de Mallorca, said: “We want the authorities to stop people who have not lived here more than five years from buying properties and to put more controls on holiday accommodation.”

Over recent weeks, more protests have been seen staged by residents from Barcelona, the Canary Islands and Malaga. 

Despite the locals’ concerns, Industry and Tourism Minister Jordi Hereu recently said: “Spain is an attractive destination for international tourists, as reflected in the data on visitor arrivals in May. But the most remarkable thing is the increase in average spending per visitor, which is growing above inflation and contributing to the modernisation, sustainability and quality of employment in the sector.”

The minister emphasised the surge in tourism to Spain’s inland areas in May, outpacing that of the Mediterranean and islands.

“The government will continue to work on sustainability, de-centralisation and de-personalisation to keep Spain at the top of the list of international tourists’ preferences,” Hereu asserted.

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