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Spain: Activists commence hunger strike against new tourism development in the Canary islands

Added 2024-04-13


After a proposal to block a new resort development in Tenerife presented by the Podemos party to the Spanish parliament failed to receive enough votes, members of a group called The Canary Islands Have Had Enough (Canarias se Agota) commenced a hunger strike. The Cuna del Alma project, is a new 400-villa coastal development in an unspoiled  part of south Tenerife. Demonstrations are also planned for April 20, 2024 against the development considered illegal by the activists. In what some may see as adding insult to injury, the developers have included an "eco-manifesto" section in their website, claiming that they are all for "a tourism model that applies itself in harmony with its surroundings. Respectful with its environment, sustainable, to be enjoyed by present and future generations". This reminds us of the classic trojan horse method of "green" tourism (effectively "green" real estate), where construction is green enough, and even LEED-certified (!) to meet environmental approvals and zoning laws, while the whole idea of constructing at that specific location is not at all green, as Ecology is about much more than building materials. Canary Island visitors are six times the number of permanent residents, while tourism provides four in ten jobs. At the same time this tourism dependency has not eradicated poverty with the Canary Islands being one of the poorest regions of Spain. So this is a catch-22 situation, where more tourism undermines existing tourism. The Mapuche people in Chile have used hunger strikes to protest tourism-linked dispossession but this could be the first tourism-related hunger strike in Europe and probably not the last.


Tenerife, Canary Islands