Tenerife not the only island looking to slow down as it moves forwards

It’s not just here that it’s happening. Noted travel writer Paul Richardson has published THIS piece in Condé Nast Traveller where he describes how Mallorca is also “fuelled by nostalgia for the quiet, easygoing past and the current yearning for slow and sustainable travel.” As he says, mass tourism brought not just money to the island but trouble because “while its popularity soared, the Mallorquín culture was becoming ever more marginal”. Like here, there are people starting to do this, moving away from an old model that no longer seems fit for its purpose.

Before the inevitable reaction of “it’ll never happen”, “they’ve been talking about this for years”, “they need the cheap and easy money from cheap and cheerful travel”, read the article. It’s not what some want to hear, but it is happening, and it’s not just happening here. It’s a new world, and as Richardson says “Revolutions aren’t always full of sound and fury and shouted slogans. Sometimes they’re about a diverse group of people all quietly heading in the same direction. The movement on Mallorca is taking place simultaneously on several fronts” and there, as here, “the latest phase of the fightback is firmly underway”.  

Apart from anything else, it’s a lovely article with some beautiful images.


  1. Sorry I don’t wish to be confrontational, but your post does rather strike me as a bit, not in my back yard. Who do you restrict it to, how do you restrict it? The only real measure of control is ramping up the cost so only the rich can afford? That’s a massively capitalist idea to put forward and believe me I make that comment as no socialist.

    So does the average working man deserve to be able to visit Tenerife for his annual holiday and where do all the canarians go for work when the hotels, bars and restaurants close down permanently? Simple questions, not so easy answers.

    It’s not just tourism though that has grown on Tenerife, it is also the whole permanent ageing population. Maybe they have allowed too many foreigners to live permanently on the islands, so perhaps that should be considered as something to address in the future?

    If yours is simply a “green” argument then whilst I don’t entirely agree I do understand it and maybe neither jobs or holidays are that important and we should all accept that only those who are rich or who got in there early should be entitled to visit or live in a nice climate.

    Finally, if you want to help the local businesses then everyone should be lobbying to get rid of all inclusive hotels, not the people who bring money to the island. I think we all know hotels such as these add nothing to a cultural visit.

    1. Author

      I’m afraid I don’t see the connection between “deserve” and “holiday”. We are all restricted to what is available and what we are able to afford. Yes, it is a green argument … it is the only argument in town these days.

  2. Hi Richard. In my post I tried to express my thoughts on how the Island I live on, and I thank the Canarian people for allowing that, could and should move away from an unsustainable ‘ Blackpool in the sun’ destination and move towards a ‘new model’, a less mass market destination where tourists can experience and enjoy something more unique and ‘special’. That does not infer that income from said new model would mean a decrease in tourisim revenues. In fact the opposite is possible if not likely. Additionally, we all seem to support a greener and more sustainable lifestyle in order to ‘protect’ the planet (although I doubt the true support for this when people actually come to appreciate what that means in terms of real changes to their way of life). That ideal in itself demands less mass tourism, less flying and a complete change to how we do things (badly) today. So fewer tourists? Yes, more than likely. Less income? No, not necessarily. Does that mean that people (tourists) will need to pay more for the experience? Yes. Will that mean fewer holidays abroad, less flights, fewer aircraft etc? I hope so else the concept of a greener and more sustainable lifestyle goes out of the window.

    It’s not a simple way forward and we are all to quick to point the finger when it comes to ‘not enough being done to protect the planet’. Especially our leaders and politicians. Well, here’s our chance to do our very small bit towards that goal without screwing up our economy (here).

  3. Yes, interesting article but who pays for this idyllic lifestyle? You don’t just turn up with a couple of pound in your pocket and say, I’m here to work the land and live like the old days. It just doesn’t work like that, these are ideas for those already self sustaining who can afford a totally different lifestyle. So in effect all he is recommending is for the islands to be returned to how they were before tourism took off and created the wealth which many Mallorcans, Canarians and other islanders have enjoyed the benefits of for so long.

    I presume you are British, retired and/or self sustaining Ray? Wanting a nice peaceful quiet place to live in someone else’s country is all well and good, but try explaining your preferences to locals who have no jobs, no money and zero prospects. There are a lot of very poor people in the canaries and getting rid of tourism on top of covid is not going to help their current position.

    So in short, nice article but the reality is none of these islands can survive without tourism or a huge chunk of money from the EU.

    1. Author

      And yet again the disconnect … who is talking about getting rid of tourism? Why is the answer always “you need it”? Yes, we do. Just not in massive numbers. Why is this so difficult to understand for people whose only concern is their own holiday? (Rhetorical question, answer’s in the question).

      The whole idea is about limiting not getting rid of tourism! These islands, like the Balearics, were developed for numbers travelling fifty or so years ago. Now we have very very many more times that number, or we had pre-covid, and the infrastructure cannot support them. We either spend an absolute fortune in making these places suitable for cheap mass market tourism numbers and kill the planet in the process by encouraging unsustainable travel, or we cut our coat according to our cloth. We can’t “afford” huge numbers so we have to have fewer but who can “afford” to come here and spend more.

      It has nothing to do with not wanting “plebs” because it is a numbers thing not a class thing, nor with wanting peace and quiet and no tourists because we need businesses to survive here as well!

  4. A very intersting piece Janet. It certainly goes a long way to help project an image/vision of how this island could develope … Into a tranquil Canarian excape for tourism rather than a karaoke, sports bar, 1 euro a pint, chips and salad, noisy, congested Blackpool in the sun.

    Something I know many residents would welcome, including me. I just don’t get the feeling that all of those that are in a position to deliver such a vision are actually on board/want the change.

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