The Canary Islands have been a long-time favourite destination of Brits looking to escape the grizzly grey weather and embrace a spot of year-round sun. With sweeping sand dunes, glittering waters and a range of entertainment and amenities, they say there’s a Canary Island to suit all manner of tastes. However, if you’ve been toying with the idea of planning a visit, now’s the time – the Canary Islands may introduce a tourist tax for the first time ever and even place a limit on holiday home rentals.
The popular Spanish archipelago is located just off the coast of north-western Africa and consist of rugged, volcanic islands, famous for their white and black sand beaches. While three of the seven islands – Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria – are known for their seafront resorts, there’s much more to the islands. The Canaries are, in fact, abundant in natural wonders, from subtropical national parks to dramatic lava fields, ideal for the adventurous explorer to discover.
The government has been urged to follow in the footsteps of the Balearics – including Majorca and Ibiza – where a Sustainable Tourism Tax has been in effect since July 2016. With the tourism tax and a cap on the number of holiday homes in place, officials believe this will help protect the environment of the Canaries as well as prevent the islands becoming saturated with tourism.
The tax in the Balearics is thought to have raised around €30m between July and December in 2016, according to a report by the Telegraph – 88% of which was used to finance 46 environmental initiatives while the rest was used to promote sustainable holidays and train tourism workers.
This popular island chain is thought to have played host to more than 16m visitors in 2017, yet unemployment is at 21% – the proposed tourist tax could be used in a similar manner to benefit the local community.
If you wouldn’t mind saving a few quid, we’d suggest making the most of the fact that the Canaries are one of the few holiday destinations in Europe that isn’t charging tourist tax. Who knows how long this will last?
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that if the tax does come into action and is put to good use amongst the local community and environment, it can only be a plus for preserving the islands for future trips. Plus, as holiday homes make up less than 10% of the tourism market in the Canary Islands, it’s more likely the clampdown will focus on ‘illegal renting’ and simply protect the number of affordable, long term rentals for residents in tourist areas.
Let’s be honest, as long as the Canaries offer sunshine and remain safe and accessible, British travellers will probably find it hard to resist their call. Why not book your trip today to find out what all the fuss is about?
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