British Tourists Flee Canary Islands Amidst Brexit Rule Change and Local Tourism Protests

British tourists abandon Canary Islands homes due to EU's 90-day limit post-Brexit, as locals protest over-tourism's impact on housing and environment, calling for sustainable tourism policies.

Mazhar Abbas
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British Tourists Flee Canary Islands Amidst Brexit Rule Change and Local Tourism Protests

British Tourists Leave Canary Islands Amid EU Rule Change Limiting Non-Essential Travel

Thousands of British tourists are reportedly abandoning their holiday homes in the Canary Islands, including popular destinations like Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, and Tenerife, due to a new European Union rule change implemented after Brexit. The regulation now limits UK citizens to spending only 90 days at a time in Spain, leading to frustration among British travelers who had relocated to the sunny archipelago.

The exodus of UK nationals from the Canary Islands comes as locals protest against the surge in tourism, demanding a temporary cap on tourist arrivals to curb the rise in short-term holiday rentals and hotel construction, which they argue is escalating housing costs for residents. Demonstrators have put up signs reading "closed due to over-tourism" in parts of Lanzarote, with campaigners arguing that the islands cannot cope with the influx of visitors, leading to issues like housing shortages, congestion of health services, waste management problems, and loss of biodiversity.

Why this matters: The departure of British tourists from the Canary Islands highlights the ongoing impact of Brexit on travel and tourism, as well as the growing tensions between locals and visitors in popular holiday destinations. The situation emphasizes the need for sustainable tourism practices that balance the economic benefits of tourism with the well-being of local communities and the environment.

Ángel Víctor Torres, the president of the Canary Islands, has urged protesters to show "common sense and calm," acknowledging the importance of UK tourists who bring in millions every spring and summer. However, he also conceded that tighter controls are necessary, as the region welcomes a significantly larger number of holidaymakers each year compared to its two million residents.

Spain Debates Tourism Limits: Spanish officials have discussed scrapping the 90-day limit for UK visitors, but they state that the solution must come from the EU. Meanwhile, residents have called for authorities to implement a tourism tax and stricter restrictions to control the number of visitors. One demonstrator said the message is "not against the tourist but against a tourism model that doesn't benefit this land and needs to be changed."

Key Takeaways

  • Thousands of British tourists leaving Canary Islands due to new EU 90-day rule
  • Locals protest surge in tourism, demand cap on arrivals to curb housing costs
  • Brexit's impact on travel and tourism, tensions between locals and visitors
  • Canary Islands president urges calm, acknowledges need for tighter tourism controls
  • Residents call for tourism tax, stricter restrictions to manage visitor numbers