New up-market tourism strategy for 2012-2016

Update 29 May: The “recharge your batteries” campaign now has its own multi-lingual Shine Again website. Have a look HERE at the English version (HERE for the Spanish) … it even gives a chance to win a holiday to one of the Canary Islands!

Update 27 May: And now to the national market, “to recharge your batteries” …


Update 25 April: The upmarket trend continues. The luxury travel magazine Condé Nast Traveller has released its own guide to Tenerife. Check out its website HERE.


Update 15 March: Adeje joins the upmarket video trend, with golf, spas, fine dining, Siam Park, dolphins, nature walks, culture … not a Brit bar in sight. The above Costa Adeje promotional video was unveiled this morning in the Magma Centre.

Update 27 February 2013: The upmarket push continues, with Puerto de la Cruz passing new municipal regulations that will outlaw plastic terrace furniture in restaurants, hotels and bars, and require the leisure sector across the board to provide furniture made from  aluminium, wrought iron, or wood. There is to be a colour branding exercise in the town too, with toldos and umbrellas being required to match – either natural colour or burgundy.

Councillors for Urbanismo y Desarrollo Económico, Sebastián Ledesma (PP) and Lope Afonso (PP), yesterday presented the details of the new bylaw which, they said, would require all establishments with a terrace to seek a new municipal authorization, in the granting of which the technicians will also determine the number of square metres authorized for each terrace. The rules officially came into force last November, but the Ayuntamiento has until now given a period of grace for adaptation.

edit: And within minutes of posting the above, I came across THIS from the Telegraph on hiking in Tenerife. Niche holidays are the way the government wants to go, and the policy seems to be working!


Update 23 October: And now it’s Arona’s turn. Following Guía de Isora’s video below, Arona has released the above film. Once again, watch it with half a mind on what the Government wants to stress; once again we have spas and golf, retirees, special interest holidays, and now nature, walking, diving, culture, upmarket shopping … this is becoming a well and truly established theme now. And not a “full English” or a cheap pint in sight.


Update 25 September: As a clear example of what’s in the minds of the politicians when they talk about “up-market tourism strategy”, have a look at the above video, focusing on Guía de Isora. While you’re watching it, remember what the Government wants to stress: spas and golf, retirees, special interest holidays like golf and cycling, eco-tourism … . This is what they’re after.

Update 3 July:  As evidence of the Government’s mindset on upmarket tourism, it has today released statistics showing that golfers spend  an average of €161.66 daily, 35% more than other types of visitor. Ricardo FPA, viceconsejero de Turismo, released the figures at the opening of the Asociación Internacional de Touroperadores de Golf convention, being held this week in south Gran Canaria, where he stressed that the Canaries is being converted into the international capital for golf.

Original post 12 June:  In a clear statement that Turismo wants the Canaries to go up-market, the new tourism promotion strategy for 2012-2016 that has been unveiled today by the viceconsejero de Turismo del Gobierno canario, Ricardo Fernández de la Puente, will take the islands back to their roots, namely the scientific and irrefutable fact that they have “the best climate in the world”. The central strategic themes of the new plan are to promote culture and a touristic awareness in residents, to improve information and touristic knowledge, to encourage training and increase co-operation in touristic administration.

The strategic plan points out that the Canaries are losing out to the competition but that the causes are not just based in current problems, but are due to the increase in rival destinations, the limitations of air connectivity, and the need for an overhaul of the islands’ image, including becoming increasingly specialized with a particular identity. Sr Fernández said that the Canaries therefore needed to consolidate a recognizable image. This image was based, he said, in the climate, “the best in the world”, and it needed to be linked to and complemented by specialist offers, e.g. marriages and honeymoons, diving, cycling, conventions, cruises, golf, and environmental and thematic offers, among others.

The key markets that this message will be taken to are Germany, Britain, Spain, Norway, Belgium and Ireland, where the intention is to overhaul and upgrade the islands’ image. Other markets where special attention will also be paid are Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Finland and the Czech Republic. The message for all will be that the Canaries is a place for families and senior citizens to come for rest, relaxation and awareness.


  1. If I were sitting in on the meeting where this strategy was discussed and decided, this is the unwelcome advice that I would have offered:

    1. If you successfully get the “best climate in the world” message through to the masses, you will be attracting just the same people that the islands attract now. It’s well known to be a very pleasant climate!

    2. Any marketing message that you try to promote is a whisper compared to the roar of the internet. The key to attracting guests in 2013, 2014 etc is positive reviews on TripAdvisor

    3. “specialist offers” require new and imaginative businesses to start up and thrive. How can that happen under a regime of tight controls and punitive tourism laws?

    4. You could do things that really improve the image of the islands, for example get the timeshare touts and other street pests under control.

  2. The best climate in the world is only relevant if you live here. In any two weeks experienced by a visitor, there will be even better weather somewhere in the world.

    If they kill off the current revenue stream (850 properties on Ownersdirect in Lanzarote, for example) the infrastructure will die before they attract sufficient “up market” visitors. Then, apart from the facilities provided by the hotels, taking revenue to their offshore owners, there will be nothing. Add to that the great increase in unemployment, and the fact that many of the hotels themselves are “illegal” then you have to wonder what the real agenda is.

  3. Just because the Canary Islands have the best climate in the world doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be reminding people of it as often as possible.

    Marketing isn’t just about the message, it’s about the frequency of the message.

    There is also nothing wrong with attracting the same “type of tourist” that we always have. They have supported the economy here since the 1960s and are very welcome. The weather and beaches mean that the Canary Islands will always be a sun and sand destination.

    Lets concentrate on making them the best sun and sand destination on the market, rather than entertain pie in the sky dreams of changing things completely.

    Golf, hiking, thematic and cruise tourism are excellent, high value niches that we should encourage as much as possible. However, they will never replace the Canary Islands’ core offer: We are a great place to come on holiday and relax in the sun for a couple of weeks. We need to best place!

  4. Are there any villa owners put there prepared to share the demographics of their guests?
    My wife and I are dentists we choose a villa holiday because it provides my disabled son with privacy and a private pool. We obviously don’ fit with the profile of a welcomed canary island guest.

  5. Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.

    To run a campaign that attempts to attract visitors to these 7 islands, whatever the message, is admirable; provided they are not disappointed when they arrive. But to do this to the exclusion of all other campaigns is foolhardy.

    More so, to run another campaign that actively rejects visitors who have a desire to come for reasons other than the official image portrayed, by removing their preferred accommodation and the knock on effect of removing the facilities that they enjoy, is positively reckless as it plays with the lives and employment of the people of these islands.

    In addition, I completely fail to see how a single, exclusive, vision of tourism can or will apply to each of the 7 islands. They are all quite different and to lump them all together by banning everything except a single theme will be quite detrimental to these wonderful places.

  6. So agree with all three postings!
    On our island we have areas full of touts, appalling sewerage smells, skeletal buildings covered in graffiti, women begging outside supermarkets, insufficient parking and areas covered with litter, really upmarket!!!!!!

  7. I agree with everyones comments. I can only speak for south Tenerife but until the street sellers, beggers and touts are dealt with, the islands reputation will never improve. I’ve just come back from a visit to Croatia and it was such a relief to be able to walk around a town without restaurant owners trying to drag me in. We could look at menus and make our own mind up without any pressure. I wish I could do the same in Los Christianos.

  8. I lived there for a year recently, best weather in the world? Well if you can call it that with 4 months continuous cloud which I experience, I would not call that the best weather I have ever encountered & the short winter was cold & the houses were cold & draughty because of no insulation.
    The touts & beggars were a nuisance & I was victim of a scam, where a low- life tampered with my car (disabling the ignition) parked in Mercadona car park whilst I was shopping. The same scum bag managed to get my car started by pretending to replace a faulty fuse, & charged me €60! Did not like the fact I was disadvantaged by not knowing the Canarian language, I was disadvantaged by being an English speaker yet Germans were catered for with menus & Canarians who had taken the trouble to learn German.
    English is the most popular language so why don’t they learn it.

  9. Did anybody in Turismo mention to “Mr Siam Park” the strategic plan for 2012 – 2016 to take the islands back to their roots, namely scientific and “best climate in the world” whilst promoting culture? How stupid of him to spend so many millions on the biggest water park in europe only to attract these apparent undesirables to “a place for families and senior citizens to come for rest, relaxation and awareness” !!!

  10. Janet, do you have an e-mail address for this man…viceconsejero de Turismo del Gobierno canario, Ricardo Fernández de la Puente?
    If so, please let everyone know and he can begin receiving hundreds of emails every day telling him that he is destroying businesses and lives.

  11. Taken from Island Connections website…..he seems to have changed his tune a little, then…?

    03.12.2010 –
    Ricardo Fernández de la Puente Armas, who worked for 10 years as manager of the regional hotels federation, Ashotel, continued “we are a massive destination, with a huge amount of beds on offer, and we should be looking to attract every kind of tourist who wants to come to the Canaries”. Whether people are looking for a stay in a luxury hotel, families looking for four star accommodation, others who want rural tourism, or alternative kinds of accommodation, “it’s important to stress that there isn’t just one kind of tourist….” These islands, he says, have enough diversity to please everyone.

  12. Author

    Yes, they’ve tightened up and changed perspective several times over the last few years, and this new “promotional strategy” is what they see as the way forward to 2016. Of course there are still some similarities, in that they don’t want to drive every single last apartment tourist away, but that’s not what they want Tenerife to be known for. The marketing will now be for specific sectors in line with their vision for Tenerife to go upmarket to compete with other top notch resorts that are getting the tourist business.

    As to a direct email address, no. The main telephone number, though is 922 473 500. Address is Viceconsejería de Turismo, Calle La Marina 57, 38071 Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

    edit: as an afterthought, the Viceconsejería has a facebook page HERE … where one can comment. It’s in Spanish, and it’s probably monitored and posted on by clerks, but it’s one way for direct comments …

  13. thanks Stewart for your post about the clip in island connections
    maybe ”Ricky boy” is still on a retainer from ashotel!!makes sense
    he,s routing for AI hotels.

  14. Author

    Please bear in mind that that IC piece relates to tourism policy two years ago. Things change, and they definitely have changed since then.

  15. I cannot see much wrong with the sentiments expressed in the vision for tourism but the question is, what methodology will be used to attain that vision. There can be no doubt that promoting five star all inclusive Hotels at the forefront of this is very short sighted. If we want visitors to explore the Islands and culture then there has to be a place for good quality self catering accommodation. Inspection and regulation will not be a problem to most owners of property and if this increases tax paying compliance, then all the better.
    If Tourismo are recognising that the sole agency system is unfair, unreasonable and protectionist, then we at least see some positive change to this. At least ALOTCA have prised open the gates of discussion on the whole issue!

  16. surely everyone must agree a vision aiming at promoting the high end
    in tourism must include private independent villas what hotel or good
    quality apartments can offer a private heated swimming pool heated
    to 29 deg.cent.even in the winter months.most complexes I know have
    fantastic pools but from Oct-May there always empty you do hear the
    odd ”ooh arrh!! as people dip there toes in.

  17. Another tactic has been mentioned.

    How about a video being made promoting all the things Tourismo want, the spa and golf, diving, eating out in plush bars/restaurants, visiting the upmarket marinas, holidays being enjoyed by honeymoon couples, elderly needing rest and recuperation, choosy families etc

    So, we film a ‘honeymoon couple’ perhaps or a retired couple ( or both) staying in a luxury private villa enjoying the sunsets in total peace and quiet away from a hotel environment, using the heated pool in the moonlight, the perfect holiday,
    THEN, we put in LARGE wording ‘ BUT NOT in the Canary Islands, BANNED by the government’

    Put on You tube, Facebook, Twitter and sent to TV stations and other sources of publicity, do you think this would embarrass and perhaps even change the attitude of Tourismo????

  18. A “not in the Canary Islands” video is not a bad idea but before going worldwide I would first like to know if each of the 7 islands actually backs the Government policy. If they don’t then would they not be able to influence the Turismo? Is anyone in a position to find out?

  19. Really don’t know Interested Party, but my Bank Manager thinks most ‘owners’ are tax evading foreigners if that helps! the trouble is there have been fines on ALL the islands and as the Government rules ALL the islands they will have no choice but to comply, or that is how I see it, I may be wrong.

  20. I like the ideas of “concerned Owner” regarding a video, however it should not only show the benefits of visiting Tenerife and what it has to offer, and the grander the better , but also show what would happen if over half the tourists currently visiting disappeared if the Tourismo had its way i.e empty beaches, promenades, shopping areas,bars, restaurants,attractions,even half empty hotels and quiet or closed attractions as well as the increasing dole queues. I would imagine the Tourismo would be quite alarmed over the showing of a disturbing film on YouTube and Facebook showing the reality of likely results of their policies.

  21. Concerned Owner.

    I like that idea very much, if the video is done in the right manner and include boarded up locales etc like John mentioned this could be a very powerful tool. Im sure there is enough owners out there to chip in and get enough money to do this in a professional manner. You have 100 euros of mine straight away.

    Its a great way of getting the message over.

    Another answer to your question is to issue a licences to owners, but only given once all taxes are up to date. This would generate all uncollected taxes quite quickly.

  22. There is a company called that are very good at creating videos. I think they could come up with a suitable video. Importantly they can do it using stills which means it would be easier to produce and of a high quality and cost a lot less. Have a look.
    A good voice over will be required.

    Does anybody any celebrities who have villas on the island who may well wish to protect their own investments? They may be prepared to do the voice overs

  23. I forgot to mention that is in Tenerife and specialise in photographing Real estate. As I said before take a look

  24. really good idea, the internet with you tube , face book etc , are strong tools for this campaign. All our postings on here go world wide and are getting the message across. The sucess of the private renting was largely down to the internet ads, now sadley denied and such a stupid loss of vital business to the canary economy at this time of world wide recession and economic crissis. It is very fitting that the power of the internet be used to help the fight to overturn all the crazy letting laws.

  25. I think that to most people the Tourismo Minister on reflection of his actions over the couple of years gives the feeling that his position was a set up, and that he is a ‘plant’ by ASH specifically to execute an agenda of such policies that would be to the benefit of the hotel industry.
    It would not surprise me that an investigation in to his affairs and connections might show a lot more than might meet the eye.
    The moves he has made are vindictive, single minded, draconian and cannot be justified on an economic basis.

    As over half the tourists to the islands are self catering how can he reason that their absence can be any way justified.
    He is not at all concerned that a 50% reduction in tourist will be a complete financial disaster and create complete ruin for all concerned, be it property owners, traders, hotels or whatever. He needs to be shut of at the earliest opportunity and I feel that international exposure showing him for what he represents might do the trick. Let us create a fund along with Canarian Crisis readers to finance and make a video to put on Facebook and YouTube exposing their ‘illegal agenda’.

  26. I agree with all sentiments especially exposing the Minister to criticism, BUT let’s not all get carried away, this has to be done professionally and credibly, stating that owners play fair too, and declare earnings and maintain standards. Then it is an equal playing field.

    I am concerned because this will be ONE chance to state our utter disgust at the law which in 2012 can protect one sector over others, and deny owners and tourists their rights, it CAN’T be fudged, if we make a mess of it, there’s NO 2nd chance, so it MUST be done right.

    Personally, although passionate about doing it, I have no expertise and no knowledge of who to approach so we all need to put our thinking caps on and make this a professional product that the Government will HATE. Then we will be seen as a real and present problem that is not going away. In the past odd fines went unnoticed, but this is on going ,and we all are at risk of losing our livelihoods so we have to stick together, there is strength in numbers so as much publiclty prior to production is good too, all owners should help so spread the word via whatever means.
    All for one and one for all!!!!

  27. EEK!!!! have just remembered this is an open site!!! help Janet!!!!

  28. Author

    Do you want me to remove it CO?? I can’t see anything wrong with what you’ve said, and you’re posting anonymously …

    Of course I’ll take it off if you’d prefer.

  29. I agree this must be done with utmost care and professionalism, no one will do this as a freebie, we must put our hands in our pockets to get the video done by a professional and that will cost. As i say im in for 100 euros.

  30. I agree totally with you John. All this crackdown was just hotel protectionism from the start. To be fair to the canary minister and his hotels , if they had managed to take the apartment customers and get them into the hotels then at least there would be some point to the crackdown. In their eyes they would have been happy to close down 300,000 apartment customers even if all they got out of it was 100,000 extra hotel guests. just so long as they ended up with fuller hotels they would not have been worried at the greater loss overall to the canary tourist economy. As things now look , and as we would have predicted , they have destroyed apartment letting for no real gain to hotel occupancy. protectionism does not work. As for the ministers cosy relationship with his former employers, well if the British press get on the case and start digging around it could end up very interesting. They normally like a scandal story.

  31. No I just meant it’s not a good idea to say what we are going to do??? eyes and ears from elsewhere????

  32. Author

    and at this point please can I remind everyone that this is an open blog … and it’s mine …..

    we have no actual reason whatsoever to suspect Sr Fernández de la puente of anything, nor of being anything less than honourable, and his connection with Ashotel is not, nor ever has been, hidden.

    A reasonable argument might be that it’s perfectly logical, perhaps, that someone with previous close ties to the hotel sector sees that as a preferred way of holidaying in the Canaries. We might put up strong arguments against that view, but it doesn’t have to have negative implications.

    Let’s be sensible, peeps.

    edit: CO, I think what’s said so far about possible tactics is fine, and is no more than Alotca has already argued with Turismo, but once you have a firm plan then it’s clearly best to keep your powder dry.

  33. Oh dear, you lot, reverse the situation, do you think a few hundred Spanish people making videos and a lot of noise in the UK, could make a change to a UK law possible. I don’t think so do you?

  34. Hi Derek,back again!! I agree a little with you ,we,d like to offer you a
    little job among our organization,we,re looking to recruit a ”suicide bomber”
    to send to turismo headquarters in Santa Cruz, wondering if you might
    be interested,the money,s not much!! ,but the hours are short!!.

  35. Oh come on Derek, how many UK laws have been ‘U’ turned!!! have you a better idea, if so let’s have it please.

  36. Idea’s, OK throw this round a little. You all form a SL company. This company takes out “Long Let” contracts on all your apartments, for a peppercorn amount, you as individuals still let your guests have the place on short term. OK you could still get fined, but you have a contract saying its on Long Term let, so surely a bona fide defence. The company in the end could well be prosecuted, but it has no assets, so you can’t get blood out of a stone. I would think your’e going to get a good 2 or 3 years, before any court could make sense of it.

  37. Author

    Derek, the problem is that the property being let has an escritura, and it is the escrituraed owners who will be fined. If there are legal arguments about long lets versus “guests” then fine, that’ll tie up the Courts, but it wouldn’t stop the fine being imposed in the short term, nor the fine being lodged against the property in the medium while the legal arguments occupy the long term … and cost a fair amount too.

    The problem is that it isn’t the company that would be prosecuted, but the owner who’d be fined.

  38. I would think some clever lawyer could refine it further.
    I Agree the fines would be for the owner, but on appeal with a long term let contract, it would surely be a complete defence, Not saying it’s a legal answer, but knowing how the courts work, its going to tie them up for months.

  39. this campaign is in its early days but it is definitley moving in the right direction. The canary government is going to reform sole agency and allow dormant touristics to re licence. Alotca is taking things to europe court level to push for a sensible system of apartment letting. The fact of the matter is all that is being asked for is the freedom to individually rent out apartments in the canaries to tourists, something that has gone on unmolested for 15 years despite the daft law. This is legal all around the world and why should it not be? We here such a lot off the daft requirements of the law, sole agency and all the hotel style rules, it nearly makes us forget that all we are wanting to be legal to do is such a normal uncotroversal activity anywhere else in the world. If we all pull together and continue to campaign and publicise the situation and the legal challeges are made properly this thing will be beaten.

  40. I can,t agree with Janet,If say I own a local I rent it out on contact
    the renter sets up business but does not comply with local laws
    I as the local owner are,nt responsible for him breaking the law
    the same rule would apply to renting out your apartment there is
    nothing in law to say a has to be notorised so who
    knows if the renter is for real

  41. Author

    Fines are imposed against owners and later lodged against properties, regardless of “contracts”. It’s not a question of agreement or disagreement, it’s fact.

  42. In answer to Richard. Does that mean your job offer for me is no longer valid.

  43. Derek ,only kidding about the job,it would be to lonely in the ”asylum”
    without you!!

  44. Well for once I agree with them. They outlawed the dreaded plastic tables and chairs at most resorts in Fuerteventura last year and the improvement has been immediate and dramatic. Much more upmarket AND more comfortable, AND, doesn’t blow away in the wind! We got some lovely new giant canopies and umbrellas too – better than a bit of old tat held down with a chunk of concrete!

  45. Looks like a private villa on the new video. Look carefully on 16 seconds, i hope the owner has a tourist licence!!

  46. Author

    looks like Sunset Golf Villas to me …

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