THE CANARY Islands in Spain are a popular holiday destination. Millions of tourists come to these islands every year. However, it is said that this archipelago will collapse if the number of tourists is not reduced. Overtourism has put the Canary Islands and their infrastructure at risk, city planners say.

Environmental group Ben Magec-Ecologistas en Accion reports that the islands exceed the region’s carrying capacity by seven times.

“The Canary Islands region has been overexploited. We have exceeded the region’s carrying capacity by seven times, resulting in a systemic collapse scenario due to the structure of urban development,” according to the report.

A total of 48.4 million tourists will travel through the island’s airports in 2023. The number includes round trips, as well as inter-island traffic, according to local reports. As a result, there was an uncontrolled increase in the non-resident population from Europe, resulting in overpopulation. The impact is a lot of waste and excessive exploitation of natural resources.

“Waste generation and resource exploitation lead to almost irreversible degradation of our natural ecosystems,” according to the report.

Even the government in the Canary Islands denies the data put forward by this group. They revealed that between January and November 2023, they received 14.6 million tourists. The difference is stark compared to the 48.4 million tourists mentioned in the report.

They said this figure is still far below the average, which means the infrastructure is more than sufficient to accommodate the number of tourists. Between 2017 and 2020, the number of visitors was actually higher at around 16 million.

Although local residents began to refuse the entry of visitors because they were worried that the number of visitors was increasing too high for local infrastructure to be unable to accommodate them. Most of the food is imported, while the islands have difficulty dealing with the large amounts of waste generated by visitors.

Lanzarote, one of the islands of the archipelago, has biodiversity due to the presence of volcanoes. Timanfaya National Park, on the island, is home to 180 plant species and is home to Atlantic lizards and East Canarian geckos.

In Tenerife, protesters have even started demanding an environmental tax on tourists. The slogan “tourists go home” became popular in the Canary Islands as locals hit back at holiday-goers crowding the streets there. There was even graffiti seen on one of the island’s most beautiful beaches, La Tejita, asking tourists to go home. [sources/photo special]