Las Palmas De Gran Canaria (EFE).- Lanzarote, with a census of just 151,000 inhabitants, received 2.5 million tourists until November 2022, that is, 17 times its population. Now, the Island Council has advanced the idea of declaring itself a “tourist-saturated area”, something for which they assure there is “a broad social consensus”.
At FITUR, the president of the island corporation, Dolores Corujo (PSOE), spoke that this status is not an objective, but a previous step to start a phase of tourism decrease that they understand is necessary “to guarantee the future of coming generations”. .
30 years ago, Lanzarote already established a model that did not contemplate the creation of more beds, but of “higher quality and with a unique complementary offer that sets us apart in the world.”
«This year we went to FITUR to present the change in the tourism model that we want for Lanzarote, on which we have been working throughout this mandate, despite setbacks and limitations derived from the pandemic. There we certified the return to full tourist normality and once again highlighted our firm commitment to sustainability and excellence,” Corujo said at a press conference to balance the fair.
LESS TOURISTS, IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT DIVERSIFYING
There he insisted that this position means aspiring to receive fewer tourists, “with greater spending in the destination so that they generate greater wealth in the economy as a whole.”
The difficulties they face a priori, according to Corujo, is that more than half of the island’s visitors come from the United Kingdom, so it would be necessary “a diversification strategy to reduce dependence on the British market.”
In this sense, he expressed that growth is expected in the French, Italian, Dutch and peninsular markets, which they hope will have a direct impact on the increase in tourist spending at the destination.
NEED FOR MORE INFRASTRUCTURE AND BETTER SERVICES
For his part, the president of the Federation of Hospitality and Tourism of Las Palmas (FEHT), José María Mañaricúa, has assured in statements to EFE that this will on the part of the Cabildo, to improve spending at the destination of tourists, ” It is shared”.
“Every business aspires to improve its income. To attract a tourist with higher spending, it will be necessary to make a clear commitment to public infrastructure, improve beach services, with differentiated services as in other areas of Spain such as the Balearic Islands or Andalusia, for example, “reflected Mañaricúa.
In this sense, the businessman has said that “a declaration of intent is not enough” but that a strategy must be developed to improve the experience of clients on beaches, culture and gastronomy.
According to this business spokesman, “the people of Lanzarote should be the ones who define the economic model of their island and, therefore, what they decide in this regard must be respected”, but he has stressed the need for the island to develop other sectors of the economy if they want to reduce the weight of tourism.
«There is hardly any industrial land and aquaculture is not being well received either. If the decision is not to grow tourism and at the same time there is no industrial land planning and other models are rejected, all the parties will have to ask themselves what future model they want to develop”, Mañaricúa expressed.
Regarding the possibility of improving the hotel facilities in Lanzarote so that they can go in line with the desire for greater spending by tourists, and therefore move towards 4 and 5 star hotels, he recalled that on the island Not one more bed can be made and that “it is not so easy” to improve hotels that are 20 or 30 years old, many of them with an “already determined” structure and size.
«It is one thing to renovate a hotel and another to give it greater value. It can be analyzed but it is not easy », she has insisted.
Regarding the Cabildo’s claim to be “more sustainable” with this initiative, Mañaricúa has pointed out that in the Canary Islands the tourist land corresponds only to 3% while generating “60% of employment”, which, in his opinion, ” talks about the sustainability of the tourism sector”.
Lastly, when asked about the stress on housing and rentals in some tourist areas, he slipped that although Lanzarote has not grown in hotel beds in recent years, it has grown in homes and residential areas for the tourism sector. EFE