HomeTravelIrish bar owners in Tenerife share latest update following tourist protests

Irish bar owners in Tenerife share latest update following tourist protests

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FOLLOWING protests in Tenerife this weekend, Irish bar owners on the island have a stark message for tourists.

Thousands of locals from the Canary Islands have taken to the streets to protest this week amid demands that “tourists go home”.

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Protests took place on SaturdayCredit: Alamy Live News
Tourists flock to the Canary Islands every year

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Tourists flock to the Canary Islands every yearCredit: Alamy Live News
The area is very popular with Irish holidaymakers

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The area is very popular with Irish holidaymakersCredit: Alamy

The islands, located off the coast of northwestern Africa, are a major holiday hotspot for Irish and British sun-seekers all year round.

However, as of this month, many have been left wondering whether they should cancel their travelling plans after Tenerife locals turned out in their thousands for the anti-tourist protest over the weekend.

The chaos began earlier this month when Canary Islands regional president Fernando Clavijo said he was worried about graffiti appearing on the island, including, “tourists go home.”

It was then reported that campaigners were set to take to the streets on April 20 with the slogan, ‘the Canary Islands have a limit’.

Speaking to The Irish Sun, two Irish bar owners in Tenerife have shared a much more hopeful message to holiday makers heading to the island.

Despite the reports of the huge protests, Irish tourists are still being encouraged to come to Tenerife as normal.

Gerry Higgins of The Claddagh Irish Music Bar said:  “The marches took place in the in capital Santa Cruz in the north of the island and is 80km or so from the south main tourist resorts.

“Media reports here said roughly 120 thousand people came together to protest about low pay and high rents, to stop the building new hotels and new apartments for tourists also environmental issues.

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“We haven’t seen any changes here over the weekend, we had no marches in the south, nobody is talking about it, people just enjoying the Sunshine and their holiday in general.”

The majority of those heading to Tenerife on holiday go to the southern part of the island due to the vast beaches and resorts there.

Tenerife locals spread graffiti telling Brits to go home

And despite tourism being the main driver of the economy here, locals are fed up with the rising cost of living.

Fergal Flaherty of Hole In The Wall in Tenerife said: “The protests were in the north of the island, which is about an hours drive from where we are.

“It’s not against the tourists, as I’ve said before, personally, it’s against the growth of new villages and new resorts being built within the next number of years.

“Plans to build places when they can’t cope with the infrastructure they have to deal with the growth and also it’s causing a rise in property, a rise in rent.

‘Struggling with costs’

“The locals living here have just had enough, they’re struggling to deal with the cost of living because of the popularity of the island.

“In regard to the protests, has it affected tourists, has it threatened tourists, has it been intimidating? Absolutely not.

“The problem they have is with the government, not with the tourists.”

The Canary Tourist Board told the Irish Sun that they are urging holidaymakers not to cancel their plans to visit and are encouraging people to still consider the Canary Islands as a holiday destination.

‘Absolutely normal’

They said: “In terms of tourists, the situation they see on the eight islands is absolutely normal.

“We are aware that there has been some isolated and specific event, but this has not altered at any time the enjoyment of the holidays of those who visit us.

“It should not be forgotten that the organisers of the 20th demonstrations themselves have explained that they are not positioning themselves against tourists who arrive on the islands, but defending a change in the tourism model that the Government of the Canary Islands has been implementing for three years now.

“The Canarian people have turned the tourist destination of the Canary Islands into one of the best in the world due to the unique and complete value concept we have built in the last decade, especially after the pandemic.”

They also noted that in July of 2020, there were zero tourists in the Canary Islands, but they saw 16.2 million in December 2023.

The tourism industry has also seen a substantial growth in recent years, with it generating €14.9 million in 2019 and €19.5 million in 2023.

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