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'I live in Tenerife – we've had enough of ignorant tourists keeping us up until 3am'

Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, welcomed a record-breaking number of tourists in 2023.

Data shared by the local Chamber of Commerce revealed more than 6.5 million people arrived on the island in 2023.

Most notably, the number of arrivals – around five million of which were international – was 600,000 higher than that recorded in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the tourism sector worldwide.

While tourism remains a vital sector for the island’s economy, the mass arrivals have become more than a nuisance for many residents.

The large demand for short-term accommodations is one of the factors pushing up the cost of properties and rent, forcing many locals out of their homes and cities.

Particularly in southern Tenerife, some unable to pay rent had to relocate to shanty towns, motorhomes and tents.

Mass tourism is also placing local services and infrastructure under immense strain.

Moreover, as local municipalities are introducing stringent water restrictions amid a drought emergency, residents fear masses of tourists may worsen the situation on the island.

These, however, aren’t the only challenging aspects of overtourism.

Josua Garcia-Garcia, 33, who works in a bar in Playas de las Americas, lamented the disregard for rules and lack of manners displayed by some visitors.

He told the Olive Press: “It can be a nightmare when the tourists come, I only get four hours of sleep every night because of the music and noise, which keeps me up until 3am. We need stricter rules for tourists, a lot of them are ignorant of how we are suffering.”

British expat Alex Kelly, 20, who works in the Rejoyce bar in Las Playas de Las Americas, said life in Tenerife has become “tough” in recent years.

Speaking about the eye-watering costs of long-term accommodations, she added: “I’m living with my boyfriend in his parents’ home because we can’t afford to move out.

“I totally get the viewpoint of the anti-tourism people, a lot of young people feel that way, the prices are crazy.”

Despite many acknowledging that mass tourism is an increasing issue for Tenerife, other locals realise it is a necessary evil, as much of the economy of the island is based on it.

The frustration expressed by many locals will be publicly voiced next month.

Organisers of the protest taking place on April 20 – many of whom are groups focused on safeguarding the environment – will protest under the slogan “The Canary Islands have a limit. For a change of the model!

Their aim is to highlight how in their opinion the current tourism model has “overwhelmed” the island.


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