Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Thu July 16 2015

Canary Islands Officials Considering Limiting Visitors to Preserve Quality

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | July 16, 2015

Canary Islands Officials Considering Limiting Visitors to Preserve Quality

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Canary Islands president Fernando Clavijo Batlle is eyeing a potential cap on the number of visitors to the popular Spanish tourist destination, the Daily Mail reports.

Amid concerns over the growing number of visitors — the Canary Islands hosted 13 million tourists in 2014 — Clavijo is focused on preserving the autonomous community's culture and tradition.

"We have to define our model. It must be capped at millions of tourists," Clavijo told Spanish newspaper El Pais. "We have to set a limit that is respectful of our environment and that does not deteriorate and end up killing our added value, which is nature, space and quality we offer."

"The pursuit of the largest number of tourists is killing quality in Spain, it is the Magaluf effect," Clavijo told the U.K.'s Times, referring to the popular Majorcan holiday resort. "Lots of people come from Britain and what they need is a quality resort. We don't want to attract 20 million tourists each year and then they do not have a good time." 

"We may need to put limits," he added.

However an Association of British Travel Agents warned the Daily Mail that any cap to limit visitors should be "carefully considered" given recent history.

"Past experience shows that if a destination is perceived to be unwelcoming or the entry rules too onerous it can result in deterring significant numbers of visitors," the ABTA spokesperson told the Daily Mail. 

Interestingly, another primary concern for Clavijo, who entered office last week, and Canary Islands officials is unemployment. While roughly one in eight residents are jobless, tourism is a significant part of the community's economy, with visitor-generated revenues accounting for 30 percent of the Canary Islands' overall GDP last year, per the Daily Mail. 

Clavijo's concern comes just one month after Barcelona's Mayor-elect Ada Colau Ballano expressed similar concern that the rising number of visitors was having a negative impact on the Spanish city and its residents. 

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