Thousands protest over mass tourism in Spain's Canary Islands

Thousands of protesters have taken part in demonstrations against mass tourism in Spain's Canary Islands.

The archipelago, which includes Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria, is a popular destination for British tourists, but the islands are struggling to cope with the influx of visitors.

in 2023 around 14 million foreigners visited the islands in the Atlantic which have a population of just 2.2 million.

Despite decades of mass tourism, the Canary Islands remain poor compared to other regions of Spain and the average salary of workers is one of the lowest in the country.

Residents living in the holiday destination say too much tourism is damaging the environment, driving down wages and squeezing locals out of the housing market.

Some local people say they have been forced to sleep in their cars or even in caves.

People gather during a mass demonstration against over tourism in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. Credit: AP

A number of provinces have taken matters into their own hands and are providing guidance - and in some case strict rules - for tourists visiting over the summer, as they try and tackle overcrowding and the problems that come with it.

Tourism represents nearly 12% of Spain’s economy but there has been growing pressure from locals for governments to put measures in place to reduce the number of visitors.

Protestors in Tenerife started a hunger strike on April 12 as part of a wider campaign demanding the Canary Islands government tackle the effects of excess tourism in the region.

Hundreds of people linked arms to form a human chain to demonstrate against the building of an additional hotel and beach resort, as well as future projects aimed at attracting more tourists.

The wider movement is called Canarias Se Agota, which means 'The Canaries Have Had Enough'.

In an Instagram post the organisation said the Canary Islands are "exhausted" because of the "excessive tourism" and the "lack of attention to the basic needs of the population".

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