Canarian President champions “3rd generation” tourism as part of touristic modernization plans

Update 30 June: Sr Rivero has repeated his message loud and clear in the Magma Centre, where he appeared yesterday in a local presentation of municipal plans for modernization and improvement of tourism in Adeje and Arona. Present were representatives from both councils and from the hotel and tourism sectors. Sr Rivero said that there was no other economic activity in the Canaries capable of creating employment en masse other than tourism, and for pure self-interest, the islands had to improve their competitivity against the likes of the Caribbean, Turkey and Morocco so as to take advantage of the fact that we have touristic factors here – like climate, natural features, etc. – to be the best in the world.

Referring specifically to the plans unrolled by Adeje and Arona, the President said that with the numbers of unsold apartments here, the construction industry wasn’t going to return to the boom years, and that it would be helped by works intended primarily to help the tourism sector, in that jobs would be created by renovation and refurbishments in touristic areas.  Turning to the regional Government’s own new Ley de Renovación y Cualificación Turística de Canarias, currently in procedural draft stage, and said that it included a range of non-economic incentives to create employment and underpin the sector, not least by obligatory refurbishments of hotels.

These plans had to work, the President said, emphasizing that the challenge of modernization has started and was unstoppable. He stressed: if it doesn’t work, we may as well all emigrate.

Original post 26 June:  The Canarian President, Paulino Rivero, has championed his government’s plans to continue towards a “third generation” of tourism to contribute to the transformation of the Canarian economy. Speaking in Parliament in response to a question about the plans for touristic moderization, Sr Rivero said that one of the biggest challenges facing the Canaries in the coming decade is to make its economic model more competitive, more productive, and more capable of generating employment.

He said that the government had therefore committed to a higher quality tourism that respected the environment, and that “innovative elements” were needed to commit to a territorial equilibrium which modernized the sector without using more land. Finally he defended the plans to strengthen the knowledge-based economy and to  boost the possibilities open to the Canaries in their geographical environment, particularly in West Africa, an extraordinary area of opportunities for Canarian businesses.


  1. Is Snr Rivero really on this planet the world is in its worst economic down turn for decades, the only Country that has not been in trouble is Germany and I belive their touristic figures are down visiting these Islands.

    He talks about being more competitive so why is he trying to stop people who have been coming here for years and are now the only clients with disposable income who do not want to stay in any of his hotels but wish to holiday independantly.

  2. This man lives in cloud cuckoo land!!! absolutely right Mervyn, put in a nutshell !

  3. you have to de code what the government says about things a bit. The reference to making the tourist industry create more employment is a dig at private renting. the sole agent system demands regular maid service and 24 manned reception, so it is a bit make work. this type of government planning the economy usually ends in mass starvation for the population, how can the canaries be more competitive if the government demands a system with higher costs?

  4. Andrew,

    Our small complex has a bi-lingual fully staffed reception, in house maid service, so if he stops us renting we will not need them so his idea will work in reverse with more & more unemployment

  5. agreed mervyn, thats protectionism and government economic planning for you. It never works out as intended, there are always too many changing dynamics in the real world.

    The private renting has evolved naturally and greatly helps the canary economy. If reason and sense came into paulino riveros thinking then the great crackdown would never have been started.

    The man and his government are set on their own dictotorial course, alotca needs to challenge them in the europeon courts, they are not going to see sense themselves on this whole issue or even debate the issue with alotca.

  6. Unfortunately the amount of expense and the amount time it might take to get to a hearing in the European Court ,( and we are apparently talking years her) would mean the damage would done would be almost irreversible. The people responsible would be out of office without any form of compensation to anyone. The properties would become desolate and in disrepair.
    There would thousand reposed by the banks or auctioned by the courts.
    Just look what has happened in some areas mainland Spain, you can pick an apartment in some areas for 10,000.

  7. No wonder Spain’s in a mess.

  8. What a load of utter drivel. The objectives of a tourism strategy are simple and should be measurable, in particular to bring in as much money through tourism as possible. The two elements for this are not only measurable but the data is collected regularly by the government: numbers of guest nights (GN) and daily expenditure per guest whilst on the island.

    This simple equation (GN times €/day) can easily be changed to accommodate sustainable tourism. If guest nights are reduced – by discouraging the “bucket and spade” brigade, say – you need to aim to increase the daily guest expenditure.

    I took it upon myself to benchmark the Canaries with Croatia, Balearias, Turkey, Greece, Malta and Cyprus i.e. competitors whose tourist volumes are easy to measure, as land access for tourists is difficult or impossible. Where the overwhelming volume of visitors arrive by air, in other words, statistics are robust.

    In brief, on the guest night side of the equation, Canaries has performed badly when benchmarked against competing destinations over the last five years. I’m happy to share this research upon request.

  9. but Adam, surely the president and tourismo can try to target the bigger spending tourists , if they think that is going to be best for the economy, without attacking and stopping the private renters? That way they can have it both ways, develop the hotel market on their new improved strategy and at the same time continue to benefit from the spending power of the existing apartment customers.

    In my view it would be fine to pursue a different strategy to get bigger spending tourists, but at the moment the attack on apartments seems to suggest a simple attempt to get apartment customers into hotels. Nothing to do with grander objectives.

  10. Author

    The problem is the likes of the Tenerife Uncovered programme. The Government knows very well that the “bucket and spade brigade” are bad for our image. They don’t think the upmarket lot will come here in droves unless something is done about “lower-end holidays”.

  11. @ Andrew. It is quite clear that the overall stratagy of the Canarian Government is to keep an element of control over tourism, which is their prerogative. You feel the progressive expansion of uncontrolled private letting has worked well, and they don’t. You continually cite Portugal as the system you prefer, based, by the looks of it, of an inspection per property and an annual fee, which in the case of Portugal happens to be around 400 Euro. Would you be so keen if that fee were, say 1,000 Euro – somehow I doubt it.

    Looking at this from the outside there are some issues. The issues however are not centred around the provision of certain services deemed necessary by the Government (pool guards, receptions, security) – these are simply part of the basic services the Government feels are necessary for the well-being of its guests. The issues however do appear to surround some of the problems of the sole Agent system.

    On one hand you continually remind us of the damage being done to the local economy by the current and continuing clamp-down – to owners of bars, restaurants and the taxi drivers. Part of your argument against the clamp-down seems to based on owners being allowed to continue to transport their visitors to and from the airport as part of the service you and your colleagues provide. Doing so is as illegal as your private letting business for a number of very valid reasons, not least the invalidity of insurance policies both for your guests in your apartment and whilst being transported illegaly to and from the airport in your car.

    You support taking this matter to Europe, yet readily admit this could take many years to achieve and as Janet and others have already explained, this has been done before with little success given the Islands special status.

    Surely your efforts would be better directed toward an albeit reluctant acceptance of the present situation, and looking at ways to help evolve it from within. The Government has made it abundantly clear they want to retain control, what is needed therefore is a set of workable proposals whereby, for example, owners are given a regular opportunity to review what their elected agents are offering in terms of returns for owners, and providing a mechanic by which owners can elect a new agent if the terms are better.

    Whilst it is true that the power and strength of the Hotel lobby is significant, never under-estimate the power and strength of the Taxi lobby !!

  12. Andrew, I agree with you! As for controlling tourism, we all know how well government control has worked in USSR, East Germany, Cuba, etc.

    A system of annual inspections does appear to me to be a logical way to proceed. But having 24 hour reception has surely nothing to do with protecting tourists and everything to do with being in the pockets of the hotel groups. People who let out properties should have a 24 hour contact number if needs be and/or be provided with a list of emergency telephone numbers. People who stay in apartments KNOW that they will not have the same level of service as in a hotel; that is self-evident, surely? Furthermore, the 24 reception is often a farce, based on my experiences of staying in tourist complexes in Lanza; try finding the security guard at 2am! Reception in many of these places is rarely 24 hours.

    Finally, average daily spend has fallen over the last five years, particularly in Tenerife and Fuerteventura, so any strategy to bring in higher spending tourists has utterly failed, from what I can see.

  13. sorry Jon, I never have transported customers to our apartment by private car. No doubt some customers use friends instead of taxis , but thats another issue to the letting issue. For the past few years we have been using the titsa bus from the airport to los cristianos. Only 1.80 euro per person( we are a family of 4). My wife does not travel well and prefers the bus pace to the taxi driver velocity.

    I do advocate a system as in portugal to allow controlled private individual letting. The annual charge will have to be decided by the canary government. The fee in portugal is currently 400 euro per year. In my opinion thats a reasonable figure, good revenue for the government and not so high as to put off the customers. what the canary government should do is decide a figure that will not be too high so as to put of the paying customers. At the end of the day it is the welfare of the canary economy that matters most.

  14. As an aside on the issue of bus travel, Lanzarote is the only airport in Spain without buses between the airports and the resorts. Alicante, Malaga, Ibiza, Barcelona, Palma, TF, FUE, GC – no problem. I do wonder how many brown envelopes are involved in the egregious practices of the Cabildo de Lanzarote. for heaven’s sake, there only only 414 taxi drivers in Lanza of which just 69 are permitted to pick up from the airport. Words fail me.

    Sorry to go “off piste” but this is an issue about customer choice, much like choosing accommodation.

  15. Adams earlier post about self catering apartments not needing to have the requirement of a 24 reception is spot on. We all know that we can book private properties anywhere in the world to enjoy. These may be cottages in ireland, france, Italy , absolutley anywhere and everywhere. So quite why the canary government insists on all its apartment complex’s having a 24 hour reception I do not know? We all equally know that before the crackdown began thousands and thousands of apartments had been rented out individually without receptions for many years throughout the canaries. So with all these private rented apartments attracting thousands of satisfied customers to the canaries over many years, why then does the canary government want a system of sole agency management with hotel style add ons?

  16. The only worry i had when i bought my Apartment was that the volcano might erupt, i think the last time was 1914, but it appears that the Canarian Government are going to have the same affect as the volcano, this will be to wipe out Tourism, the only difference is they will be survivors, thats the Canarian people, they will be left with no work and no prospects, the whole reason we all bought on the Island was because we were all fed up of sub standard accomodation on package deals, once private renters discovered the better quality accomodation that we supplied they began to jump ship, so in reality we all improved the qaulity not any Government, someone mentioned Tenerife uncovered in another post, well all know these people who fall out of bars in Las Americas are on package deals, some in all inclusive Hotels and some in bog standard Apartments, these are run by the worlds largest holiday firms, it seems that the people who have brought money onto the Islands are the ones that are getting punished.

  17. Author

    The Government would argue, of course, that the illegal “better quality” accommodation has meant that there has been no incentive for owners to upgrade this substandard accommodation because it has still got the cheap and (not so) cheerful type of holidaymaker who creates the bad image while the better class of tourist has “jumped ship” to illegal residential lets.

    This is one of the measures that seems likely to feature strongly in the new legislation coming out now, that substandard (legally touristic) accommodation will have to upgrade. And then there won’t be a need for illegal residential properties to be offered, and it will command a higher price, and a higher class of tourist …

  18. Andrew

    Playing devil’s advocate somewhat I know, but there is a world of difference between a holiday cottage in Wales or the west country not having a reception and a complex of 100 or more apartments having neither a reception (or some form of security) and a life-guard on duty when there is a pool and loads of children running around having fun.

    More so, sharing the costs amongst 100 or more apartments (and providing local emplyment) is not such a bad thing surely??

    Seems to me though that the root of the problem is in the inability of owners to have much if any say in the way their agent operates and the returns you as an owner might see.

    The Government has made it very clear that private, and therefore uncontrolled, letting is not on their agenda. But it does seem they do recognise there are issues and are considering their options. So a sensible proposal on how the law could be modified to recognise the benefits of owners buying property, protecting their rights to have more say in the terms and conditions their agent offers, and write into law regular reviews of agents and make it easier for them to be replaced, whilst respecting the Governments overall policy ought to be in with a chance of success without getting their backs up.

    In other words, a “soft-start” to long term plan to alter the position is far more likely to achieve something, than an all out war.

  19. Jon, sorry if you cant see the comparison but on our complex of 80 apartments we have no reception, no security and guests travel to the place with keys from the uk , let themselves in and all have a wonderful time. They have tenerife based apartment managers to contact if there are any maintenace issues to be sorted. All of us individuals are all offering a service to our guests, self catering accomodation, and yes Jon we feel that this is no different a service than a cottage in wales, a villa in Tuscany or a gliiet in brittany. We all are part of a community of owners which is responsible for our common issues on our complex , but we really dont need to set up like a nearly hotel , with a 24 hour reception and maid service etc. We dont need to have that type of system any more than the renters I have mentioned around the world.
    The sole agent system of monopoly expolitation is a unique canary invention. It is completely unnecesary in our modern internet age, and should be abandoned. The support the canary government gives their peculiar system is only because the canary hotel mafia demand restictions on what they see as competition from the self catering sector. They dont want to compete with genuine self catering apartments that operate free of unnecsary hotel ad ons.

  20. “substandard (legally touristic) accommodation will have to upgrade. And then there won’t be a need for illegal residential properties to be offered, and it will command a higher price, and a higher class of tourist …”

    Frankly, Janet, this policy simply will not work and shows a complete misunderstanding of the tourism market. Imagine if all airlines were forced to offer business class seats only: you can imagine the impact. This seems to be what the idiots are proposing. The attractiveness of any destination arises in part from the range of accommodation types available: here in Denia, you can stay in a 4-5 star hotel, a cheap apartment inland, a villa with private pool perched on Montgó with views overlooking the Bay of Valencia, etc etc. In other words, supply and demand generally balance out.

    Andrew, on the sole agency system:at best this system shows a failure of civil servants to grasp the most basic of economic theory or is a case of – yes, let’s use the word – outright corruption.

  21. Adam are you a member on the following forum If not could you register and contact me – I would be interested in your research and on that site you can mail it to me rather than posting it.

    Andrew agree – how in this day and age can you have a law that encourages monopolies to exist?

  22. I can quite understand the government’s desire to appeal to a ‘higher class’ of tourist visiting the isands. In 2007 we had the President of Ireland, Mary McAlese, and her family spending 2 weeks in a villa on Fuerteventura Golf Resort, together with her security team and 24hr Guardia Civil parked outside. It is obvious that it is this type of visitor that the Cabildo wish to deprive of the opportunity of renting a private villa and oblige them to stay in an ‘All-Inclusive’ hotel, complete with wrist-bands, with the rest of the bucket and spade brigade.

  23. thats the sad part of the governments crazy plan. Their one size fits all approach . If they wanted to promote more rich high spenders then good, but surely they could do that without destroying their existing markets? When you look at the up market areas of tenerife eg, fanabe, the zone around the amearicas shopping centre pdla, they already have some up market zones. If these zones are actually earning more spending for the canary economy , well that certainly would create more employment. The thing is though, is the government just talking daft to think that they could transform the entire canaries to that model? Are they being totally unrealistic ? In my opinion a diverse business model would be more sensible, cater for a wide variety of customer preferences.

    The problem we have is that the government is in the pockets of the hotels, the letting laws and tourism strategy is based on what the hotels would like to see happen. It appears that what they want to see is the good old days of mass package holiday customers being bussed to their hotels, and high spending 5 star customers at that. In the real world any government that hopes to plan and control the economy is going to be disappointed, the real world changing dynamics will always mess things up.

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