Lanzarote begins the procedures to officially declare the island ‘touristically saturated’
The Lanzarote Cabildo, led by María Dolores Corujo, has started procedures to officially class the island as a saturated area for tourists. The president of the Cabildo presented the conclusions of a study on the carrying capacity of the island yesterday afternoon, commissioned by Gaia Consultores Insulares SLU.
She highlighted a series of data that are indicators of excessive growth and overflow such as the increase in holiday homes in areas intended for residential housing, the increase in the number of vehicles, or tourist density, among other factors.
Corujo pointed out that “The island has far exceeded its tourist carrying capacity. It does not put Lanzarote's image at risk, but it does highlight that people are confusing development with growth and overflow in certain areas.”
She insists that the results of the study are "binding" and that it must be taken into account in the decision making of all territorial planning projects. Along these lines, the Governing Council has also agreed to entrust the Territorial Policy area with a report on the measures that must be adopted to alleviate this saturation.
''We cannot continue by not facing reality. Lanzarote needs to take measures to redirect its tourism model. For this, it is essential to have a rigorous and realistic diagnosis,'' she said.
The study, among other conclusions, warns of the "disproportionate growth" of holiday homes and the "excessive motorization" of tourist travel. Thus, the document urges administrations to bet on sustainable mobility. Likewise, it also warns of the rapid increase in drinking water consumption and the number of tourist places per square metre.
When asked about the new White Beach Hotel, which is being built in Playa Blanca, Corujo has denied that her government was the promoter of the project. She produced an agreement signed by former president of the Cabildo, Pedro San Ginés (CC), in which he authorized the complex to have 1,440 beds, instead of the 826 that were first passed.
Corujo also stressed that one of Lanzarote's pending challenges are the ‘concrete skeletons’ that have survived for decades in Costa Teguise, one of the main tourist destinations on the island. The licenses for these abandoned hotels were granted irregularly in 1999 by the former mayor and former regional deputy of the Canary Islands Coalition, Juan Pedro Hernández.
Although Justice has insisted that the City Council put an end to these large grey infrastructures, only one has been demolished so far, which was a building near La Mareta, one of the residences of the Royal Family. The demolition has taken fifteen years to pass, after the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands (TSJC) annulled the license in 2007.