19th Mar 2023 @ 11:09 am

This is the full, translated text of the article by the President of Lanzarote’s Cabildo, María Dolores Corujo, in which she addresses the misrepresentations of her recent statements in the British and local media, and reiterates the outlines of Lanzarote’s long-term tourism strategy.

A false controversy about British tourism

By María Dolores Corujo, President of the Cabildo of Lanzarote.

Originally published in Canarias7, 19th March, 2023

You can’t clarify something that hasn’t been said. It is absolutely untrue that on the island of Lanzarote we do not want British tourism or that we want to reduce the number of Brtish tourists. So I’ll say it once and for all: British tourism has always been, is and will always be welcome in Lanzarote.

In Lanzarote we are also lucky to have an excellent long-time resident British community, a community that is sensitive to the environment and involved in caring for and defending sustainable development of the island. We share our island character with the British and that makes the limitations of an insular, fragile and small territory like ours very well understood.

Having said this, I am saddened by the false controversy that has been unleashed concerning British tourism, which has been fueled by misinformation. The assessment I made of the future of the tourism sector on the island after  returning from the International Tourism Fair in Madrid has been taken out of context by some, and deliberately misrepresented by others. I feel obliged to point out that here on Lanzarote, the controversy has been fueled by a media outlet owned by a hotelier with a court order to demolish one of his establishments.

Having said that, all tourist destinations attend trade fairs to display their attractions and capture new markets in an attempt to diversify the tourism they receive. Lanzarote has also been doing this for years, because common sense and the basic laws of economy advise us not to depend on a single source country, especially in times of uncertainty such as those we are experiencing due to the war in Ukraine. But that does not mean that we do not want  British tourists, who visit us the most – quite the opposite.

Having clarified the above, what the Cabildo of Lanzarote and I as president have said and continue to say is that it is not possible to continue increasing our number of tourist places because the tourist-carrying capacity of the island is exhausted. This is nothing new: the same conclusion was reached by the Cabildo in 2003 and is shared by the vast majority of the population and the business community.

Placing our reliance on an increase in tourist places leads to overcrowding of the destination  that not only worsens the quality of life of residents, but the tourist experience itself. For this reason, we want to declare the tourist-carrying capacity of the island officially exhausted and, at the same time, commit to a reasonable  and permanent model of development based on quality and the elements that differentiate us as a unique tourist destination in the world. One example of this is our public network of Art, Culture and Tourism Centers.

As a result, ‘tourism development’ must not be confused with ‘increase in tourist beds’. Lanzarote receives more than 3 million tourists a year and does not need any more accommodation places; instead it needs to guide tourism development towards a qualitative and innovative growth of the complementary leisure offer that involves new products and experiences for tourists, all of which are respectful to the environment.

The article, in Spanish, can be found here: https://www.canarias7.es/opinion/firmas/falsa-polemica-turismo-20230319212602-nt.html.

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