Published On: Mon, Apr 15th, 2024

Tenerife holiday warning as anti-tourist graffiti sprayed on car before protest | World | News

A rental car has been pictured with ‘Go Home’ graffiti on it in Tenerife ahead of protests this Saturday over the effects of mass tourism. Slogans were plastered on walls and benches earlier this month in the resort of Palm Mar in the south of the island.

The messages left in English included: “My misery your paradise’ and ‘Average salary in Canary Islands is 1,200 euros.’”
Overnight a photo of a hire car with the words ‘Go Home’ scrawled down the right hand side of the vehicle,  was published by island press.

Tenerife daily El Dia said the car belonged to regional rental car company Cicar, which has more than 40 offices across the Canary Islands, and described it as “another act of tourism-phobia”.

One Tenerife-based social media user, referring to foreign tourists with the colloquial Spanish word ‘guiris’, responded by claiming: “Cicar’s cars always come with fully comprehensive insurance.

“I wish I could rent a car in Lanzarote with this on it. At least this way I’d go around the island with the message, ‘Go home, f##king guiris.”

Another rebuked him by writing on X, formerly Twitter: “Cicar is a Canarian firm that puts food on the table of Canarian workers.

“These ‘go home’ people are a bunch of simpletons who don’t work or intend working.”

A sympathiser added: “Whoever has done this is an idiot. You don’t know if the person renting the car is a tourist or not.

“Car rental companies rent their cars to everyone. Remember that before you do stupid things like this.”

The campaigners behind the April 20 protests, which will take place in Gran Canaria and Lanzarote as well as Tenerife, have been quick to distance themselves from the anti-tourist graffiti. Last week they accused regional politicians of ‘dirty tricks’ for accusing them of tourism-phobia.

Half a dozen Canarians started an “indefinite” hunger strike on Friday by a church in the town of La Laguna in the north of Tenerife. They are all members of a platform called Canarias Se Agota, which literally translates into English as ‘The Canary Islands are Exhausted.’

The hunger strikers want the authorities to paralyse two tourist projects, one involving the construction of a five-star hotel by one of Tenerife’s last virgin beaches called La Tejita.

They also want local and regional politicians to change the tourist model to protect the island from the worst excesses of mass tourism including sea pollution, traffic gridlock and lack of cheap affordable housing linked to the pushing-up of property prices because of Airbnb-style holiday lets.

Victor Martin, a spokesman for Canarias Se Agota who won’t be stopping eating but is fronting the protest, said: “The hunger strike is indefinite and will continue until the two macro projects we’re fighting against are stopped for ever and the regional agreement agrees in writing to sit down and talk to us about a tourist moratorium.

“A tragedy could occur and someone could die if the government don’t listen.”

Alfonso Boullon, a spokesman for the organisation Salvar La Tejita which is aligned to Canarias Se Agota, added just before the hunger strike started: “This hunger strike is designed to push for a change of social and economic model in the Canary Islands, which is fundamentally affected by tourism which the islands’ economy is based around.

“It’s not an anti-tourist protest, it’s a protest aimed at reformulating the model that has led us to where we are today. It’s a model that is totally unsustainable, it exhausts resources and the environment.

“We want a moratorium on the number of tourist beds available so they don’t increase and the paralysation of the tourist complexes Hotel La Tejita and Cuna del Alma as a show of commitment towards a real will for change.”

Hotel La Tejita is a hotel project for over 800 guests in the south of the island which campaigners are trying to get stopped because they say it will be built partly over protected sand dunes and public coastal domain.

Cuna del Alma, the other project which has angered activists, is a Belgian-funded venture to build a hotel and 3,600 tourist chalets at El Puertito in the municipality of Adeje which is also in southern Tenerife.

Protest groups say the project would destroy large areas of habitats of endangered and protected species.

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