Tourist figures for height of the season August weren’t as bad as expected, it has emerged today, up 6% from early forecasts based on firm bookings. In specific terms, Canarian hotels were running at 75% occupancy, with rural tourism managing a creditable 58%. The Spanish mainland performed considerably better, admittedly, with occupancy rates above 80%, reaching 85/86% in some of the traditional holiday costas, but hopes and expectations were rock bottom given actual figures for the first seven months of 2009, so August’s results are a welcome positive stroke for a depressed industry.  Canarias7READ MORE

National Police have arrested two individuals at Reina Sofia airport (TFS) for smuggling more than three kilos of cocaine into Tenerife hidden in luggage. The first arrest was made at arrivals in a routine drugs control, and the second, thought to be the courier’s local contact,  followed shortly afterwards. Canarias7READ MORE

Five immigrants, one of whom had died, arrived at Cueva del Trigo on the Granadilla coast at 8am this morning. They appear to have made the crossing from north Africa in a very small craft, just five metres long. After months with very little immigrant boat activity, two have arrived on the same day. Overnight, a craft with 10 occupants, all apparently in good health, arrived at Lanzarote at around 2am.  Canarias24HorasREAD MORE

A 28-year-old man died this morning after his vehicle left the San Miguel to Los Abrigos road (TF65). Emergency services were advised around 10am that a car had fallen 50 metres into a barranco, but the ambulance crews attending were unable to do any more than confirm the driver’s death at the scene.  Canarias24HorasREAD MORE

The Canarian Government is to increase tobacco taxes to raise money for its “plan E”. Paulino Rivero announced yesterday that the scheme is intended to help the unemployed whose benefit has expired and who are not entitled to the supplementary monthly payment of €420 which has only recently been introduced. It is expected that “Plan E” will assist between 5,000 and 10,000 individuals. The tax increase is the only rise which will be approved in 2010, and its tailored help for the unemployed is closely linked with initiatives to beautify and improve the environment and touristic infrastructure, in which the unemployed will be given work.READ MORE

Gorillas, chimpanzees, whales, tigers, sea lions and jaguars are among the animals in Loro Parque which are enjoying summer treats of ice lollies. In an effort to enrich the experience of the captive animals, as well as keep them cool during the hottest months of the year, vets and keepers are feeding their charges lollipops made from fruit, vegetables, fish and meat. And they are going down a bomb! Vegetable lollies for the mammals are made from celery, broccoli, carrots, and red and green peppers, whereas carnivores like the tigers and jaguars tuck into popsicles of meat and ice. Whales and sea lions, meanwhile, haveREAD MORE