Tenerife Go On Hunger Strike to Protest ‘Unsustainable’ Tourist

Tenerife activists are taking a stand against the impact of mass tourism on island culture by going on an indefinite hunger strike. Several groups, including environmental organizations, are associated with the demonstration spearheaded by Canarias Se Agota (which translates as “The Canary Islands Are Exhausted” in English). 

Tenerife protesters are going on hunger strike to draw attention to two tourist projects: one is a five-star hotel being built on one of the island’s last pristine beaches, La Tejita, and the other is a proposal by regional and local politicians to alter the tourist model to shield the island from the negative impacts of mass tourism, like pollution, traffic congestion, and a shortage of affordable housing associated with short-term rentals like Airbnb.

The identities of the hunger strikers have been withheld, and they are not to be interviewed as long as the extreme demonstration outside the church of the same name persists in Plaza de la Concepcion. After anti-tourist graffiti began popping up in some regions of Tenerife, the extreme campaign—thought to be the first of its kind in Spain—began. Politicians have been accused of engaging in “dirty tricks” by campaigners who have accused them of being tourist-phobic and have distanced themselves from the graffiti.

Placing English messages on walls and benches in the Palm Mar area of southern Tenerife, the sentiments were that the worker’s misery is the tourist’s paradise. Some graffiti expressed that the average wage in the Canary Islands is 1,200 euros. 

An English comment was left next to the ubiquitous ‘Tourists go home’ remark, in what seems to be a reaction from the UK– “F**k off,” adding that they pay their wages.

In nine days, protesters will stage simultaneous marches on five islands in the archipelago, including Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, and Tenerife, to convey the hunger strikers’ message to regional lawmakers. 

Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife, will host the march.