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Canary Islands. Residents go on hunger strike to protest against excessive tourism

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The inhabitants of the Canary Islands are fed up with excessive tourism. On Friday, a hunger strike began on the islands to draw attention to the problems of price increases and environmental destruction. These phenomena, according to residents, are a consequence of the growing number of people visiting the Canary Islands every year.

The Canary Islands are an extremely popular holiday destination – according to the local organization Fundación Canarina, they have been visited by an average of 16 million people a year over the last decade. However, local residents of the islands claim that such a heavy tourist load is becoming unbearable.

SEE ALSO: They will go on a Greek holiday for free. The first program of this type in the world

Protests in a tourist paradise

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According to CNN, the Canarias Se Agota group formed on the islands called for a hunger strike on Thursday. In a Facebook post, she states that the Canary Islands “are exhausted” and that the authorities are “ignoring demands that will protect our present and future.” “Every person who joins this human chain will send a strong message to the government: the Canary Islands does not want to continue to sacrifice its future,” it stressed.

Other local groups are also encouraging the protest. Asociación Tinerfeña de Amigos de la Naturaleza (ATAN) argues that islanders are experiencing “environmental and social collapse”, and the group Ecologists in Action emphasizes that “totally unsustainable tourism” is responsible for these problems. According to them, it leads to local people being pushed out of the housing market by constantly building new holiday homes.

Residents also accuse local authorities of consenting to large tourist investments, which deepen existing problems, such as water shortages. Opponents of excessive tourism remind us that swimming pools and golf courses use huge amounts of it. Meanwhile, rainfall on the islands is decreasing and drought periods are lengthening due to climate change. For this reason, these groups are announcing a mass protest this Saturday, including: in Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and La Palma.

On Friday, as announced, the hunger strike began. However, local activists did not provide information on how many people were taking part.

Gran Canaria, Canary IslandsShutterstock

Hunger strike in the Canary Islands

– I earn about 900 euros, I live with my partner, but the rent costs us 800 euros a month. And this is Santa Cruz, which is not even one of the most expensive places on the island – says a resident of Tenerife, one of the protesters, Ruben Zerpa from Canarias Se Agota, to the British newspaper “i”. – Tenerife is a small island with limited resources. The roads are congested with traffic, there are water mains failures and the hotels are full, he said. Ivan Cerdena Molina, in an interview with The Olive Press, said that some local residents have to sleep in their cars due to high housing prices.

Representatives of local authorities also spoke on this matter, proposing a dialogue between politicians, experts and citizens. “The aim is to create a committee of experts to establish common guidelines,” Jéssica de León, Minister of Tourism and Employment of the Government of the Canary Islands, said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: This city introduces fees for one-day tourists

Overtourism

Other European regions popular among tourists face a similar problem to the Canary Islands. Local residents complain about noise, pollution, heavy traffic and lower quality of life. Many European cities have decided, for example, to introduce additional fees for tourists or raise taxes to minimize their impact on the environment.

SEE ALSO: Residents are leaving Dubrovnik. In response, the city authorities buy apartments that were for rent

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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