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Lanzarote is one of Spain’s most popular holiday destinations, particularly when it comes to winter. But, the island has announced its plans to limit the number of tourists.
Island leaders have said the island is “saturated” and they want to reduce their dependence on British tourists.
The island has just 151,000 inhabitants but welcomed 2.5 million tourists last year, around 17 times the population.
The Island Council has said it’s now a “tourist saturated area” and announced plans to reduce the number of tourists.
Lanzarote’s president, Dolores Curujo, said: “This year, we went to the travel trade fair to present the change in the tourism model that we want for Lanzarote, on which we have been working, despite setbacks and limitations caused by the pandemic.”
She said the island had a firm commitment to “sustainability and excellence” when it came to tourism.
Curujo said that Lanzarote now wanted fewer tourists but ones that would spend more on the island.
Currently, more than half of the island’s tourists come from the UK and Curujo said Lanzarote needed to diversify its market.
She said: “More than half of our visitors come from the United Kingdom, so we continue to work on our diversification strategy to reduce dependence on the British market.
“That growth is expected in French, Italian, Netherlands or mainland Spain markets and we hope that it will continue to have a direct impact on the increase in tourist spending in the destination.”
She added that decreasing the number of tourists was essential if they wanted to preserve the island for “future generations”.
Lanzarote will be putting the focus on higher quality accommodation and aiming to attract wealthier tourists.
It is thought that this would mean the island won’t lose out on income even if the number of overall visitors falls.
However, tourism leaders are less happy with the plans and have said massive investment will be needed to raise the quality of the island’s tourism.
There are also concerns that Lanzarote doesn’t have other industries that could balance out any loss of income from tourism.
A business leader said: “There is hardly any industrial land and aquaculture is not 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.”
Hotels would also need money if they are expected to raise the quality of their accommodation or facilities.
Lanzarote’s island council has yet to announce how it plans to reduce visitor numbers in the coming years.
The island is one of the region’s most popular destinations, following Tenerife and Gran Canaria.
It’s particularly popular with British tourists during the winter months due to its proximity to the Equator and warm weather.
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.
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