Lanzarote needs to reduce its reliance on frugal British visitors and move towards a “higher quality” tourism market model, the island’s president has said.
María Dolores Corujo highlighted German holidaymakers as ideal visitors to attract the Canarian package tour hotspot to diversify its tourism sector.
“It is important to work on the diversification of the sector and the growth of markets such as the German market, which align with our intentions to reach higher quality tourism and holidaymakers who spend more money when they are here and us away from mass tourism,” Ms Corujo said at the ITB Berlin travel trade show this week.
While British tourists have traditionally been drawn to Spain’s Atlantic outpost by offering year-round sunshine and affordable beach holidays, Ms Corujo said the island’s tourism strategy must focus on “sustainability and excellence”.
It comes a month after she said Lanzarote needed to “reduce our reliance on the UK market”.
Speaking at a tourism fair in Madrid in February, she said Lanzarote needs to attract more financiers from the French, Italian and Dutch markets, as well as tourists from mainland Spain.
The change of strategy has been linked to the problematic behavior of some British visitors to the Canary Islands, with multiple cases of Brits being arrested in Lanzarote and Tenerife in recent months for using counterfeit money to pay for accommodation, as well as drug-related offenses and drunkenness.
Lanzarote’s government argues that the island has reached saturation point, with 2.5 million visitors in 2022, arguing that the only way the industry can grow is to attract higher-spending tourists.
But some industry insiders are not happy.
Daniel Trigg of the Lanzarote Business and Residents Association said he was concerned at the idea of a backlash against traditional holidaymakers and the impression that “Lanzarote doesn’t want British and Irish tourists”.
José María Mañaricúa, president of the Canary Islands hoteliers association FEHT, said that Lanzarote’s government needs to improve infrastructure if it wants to attract tourists who will spend more, by making the island “different from other areas of Spain like the Balearic Islands and Andalusia”.