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Tenerife goes to war against the Brits: Canary Islands demand a tourist tax and clampdown on families flying over to ‘drink cheap beer, lay in the sun and eat burgers and chips’ as locals brand Airbnb ‘a cancer consuming the island’

British holidaymakers arriving in Tenerife for the Easter break have been met with anti-tourist graffiti – and a tense reception from locals.

Residents living in the Canary Islands have declared war and say they are ‘fed-up’ of British tourists who only ‘drink cheap beer, lay in the sun and eat low quality food’.

They say airbnbs are pushing up the costs of renting and the cost of living while they are sick of the noise and rubbish pollution that comes with the seasonal influx of holidaymakers.

Speaking to MailOnline during the first big getaway over Easter, residents on the Spanish holiday island said ‘enough is enough’ as they called for a moratorium on the industry, along with a tourist tax and stricter controls.

It comes as a wave of new anti-tourism graffiti has popped up near resorts over the past few days, with messages reading ‘tourists go home’ and ‘too many guiris’.

A wave of new anti-tourism graffiti has popped up near resorts in Tenerife over the past few days, with messages reading ‘tourists go home’ and ‘too many guiris’

Flyers like this slamming holidaymakers are being stuck to buildings all over Tenerife

Sun-seeking Britons have long favoured Tenerife as a holiday destination

Tensions have recently broken out between British holidaymakers and fed up residents of the canary island

Guiri is a Spanish slang word for foreigner, which is often used in a negative way to describe northern European or American visitors and expats.

One poster taped to a wall said: ‘Locals are forced to move out and YOU are responsible for that… digital nomads you are NOT welcome here.’

But it seems some Brits are fighting back, with a message in English scribbled next to one of the slogans saying: ‘F**k off, we pay your wages!’

Tensions are rising on the island as more and more people join calls for restraints on tourism. On Tuesday this week, a protest is planned in Santa Cruz, dubbed ‘Salvar La Tejida’ (Save La Teijda).

Campaigners will hold a press conference laying out their demands before holding a march with banners and signs.

Later this month, on April 20, a second huge protest is being planned by a string of environmental and social groups, again in the capital.

A poster for the event says the Canary Islands ‘has a limit’ and that protesters will be marching for ‘conservation of natural spaces, a tourist moratorium, and tougher regulation for foreigners buying property.’

The main gripe among locals is the rising costs of renting and buying homes, as landlords continue to buy up Airbnbs and tourist lets, reducing supply and pushing up prices.

Tech worker Ivan Cerdeña Molina, 36, is helping organise the protest this month as part of his role at local conservation group ATAN (Asociación Tinerfeña de Amigos de la Naturaleza).

He told MailOnline: ‘It’s a crisis, we have to change things urgently, people are living in their cars and even in caves, and locals can’t eat, drink or live well.

Tech worker Ivan Cerdeña Molina (left) , 36, is helping organise the protest this month Biologist Anne Striewe (right), 47, told of the damaging effect tourism has on wildlife

Mr Molina (right) added: ‘Airbnb and are like a cancer that is consuming the island bit by bit’

The holiday resort made headline news last month after a series of graffiti messages were scrawled on walls and buildings, reading ‘tourists go home’

This flyer stating ‘it could by my home, but it’s your airbnb’ has been posted on a holiday let

‘Airbnb and are like a cancer that is consuming the island bit by bit.

‘The benefits of the industry are not trickling down to everyday people, whose salaries have not increased in years, the quality of life here is collapsing.’

Ivan was born and raised in El Medano, a once quiet town about a 20 minute-drive east of the most popular tourist resort of Los Cristianos.

This Easter weekend, the area was filled with holidaymakers who packed out the beaches and parked dozens of caravans and jeeps on the once-protected land behind.

Local painter Vicky Colomer, 63, told MailOnline: ‘I feel like a foreigner here, I don’t feel comfortable anymore, it’s like everything is made for British and German tourists who just want to drink cheap beer, lay in the sun and eat burgers and chips.

‘We need higher quality tourists who actually want to experience our culture and food and respect our nature.

‘This was a paradise but now it’s not and it makes me angry. We must reduce the number of flights and visitors and focus on bringing higher quality people.’

She added: ‘There are hundreds of caravans who park up illegally and leave rubbish all over the place.

‘Near my home a few weeks ago foreign tourists put on a rave with a DJ booth and speakers in the middle of a field, that is not acceptable.’

She added that young people are increasingly tired of being unable to find decent work.

‘They study for years and go to university but the only jobs offered to them here is in a hotel or a restaurant or bar, so all our young talent has to move away to the mainland if they want to pursue a proper career, it’s not right.’

Biologist Anne Striewe says that locals are tired of tourists being given priority by the government

Jay Neil, 43, said locals need to stop taking out all the problems on tourists. He said: ‘I’ve lived here 17 years and yes the property situation has got crazy. But they need to stop blaming tourists, it’s the greedy landlords that are the problem’

Last year saw a wave of anti-tourism protests in the resort, with hundreds of people marching for ‘better tourism’ along the beach promenade in Playas de Las Americas

Traffic is also a major problem, added Vicky, with delays between resort towns and the motorway of up to an hour-and-a-half during high season.

She added: ‘Even the public transport is being taken over, the other day a tour guide jump the queue for a bus and had 20 tourists with her, and locals were forced to wait for another one.’

But it’s not just the impact on human life that is enraging portions of the population.

Biologist Anne Striewe, 47, told MailOnline of the damaging effect tourism has on wildlife.

‘There are hundreds of boats and jet skis in our waters everyday, pumping petrol into the water,’ she said.

‘Then there are the boat parties which blast music all day long, and what people don’t realise is that this is picked up by whales and other creatures and really confuses and frightens them, it makes them go crazy.

‘Meanwhile there have been multiple cases of animals being injured or killed by boat propellers, there are often vessels in protected waters but no one is cracking down on the activity.’

Meanwhile, according to environmental group Salvar Tenerife (Save Tenerife), millions of litres of sewage water is being dumped into the sea off Tenerife and other islands every single day, with the amount rising significantly when there is a high number of holidaymakers.

Anne added that locals are tired of tourism being given priority by the government.

‘With the recent drought, water supplies have been cut off in some areas away from the resorts, but not in hotels and the golf courses.’

Anne insisted that the demands for more controls are ‘nothing personal’ against individual tourists, but that people have reached their limit and want to catch the government and the media’s attention, hence the provocative graffiti.

Melissa Taylor (left) and Terrilea Clayton (right) work in the popular Giddy Goose English pub in Las Playas de las Americas. Ms Taylor said: ‘The anti-tourism stuff has suddenly peaked recently… without tourism there would be nothing here’ 

British tourists are adamant that they bring something to the Canary Islands, which has been hit by a cost of living crisis for locals

Back in Los Cristianos, British expats and tourists rushed to defend themselves against the rising anti-tourism sentiment.

Melissa Taylor, 47, works in the popular Giddy Goose English pub in Las Playas de las Americas.

She told MailOnline: ‘The anti-tourism stuff has suddenly peaked recently.

‘I think it’s unfair what they’re saying, without tourism there would be nothing here.

‘Brits come here and spend a lot of money, the overwhelming majority of our customers are from the UK.’

Her colleague Terrilea Clayton, 22, shared her sentiment.

‘It’s a bit silly and unfair,’ she said, ‘without tourism I wouldn’t have a job and it brings money to the island.

‘During Covid Tenerife became a ghost town and it was terrible.’

However she admitted: ‘I’ve lived here for 10 years and I do understand some of the arguments about rent, I was actually kicked out of a flat because the landlord wanted to turn it into an Airbnb.’

Another bar worker and mother-of-three Emma Barker, 43, from Leeds, agreed.

‘Obviously it’s ridiculous to bash tourism because without it there would be no jobs, the economy relies so heavily on it.

‘But the rent situation is getting out of control, I’ve been really lucky with my landlord but if I had to find a new flat right now I don’t think I would be able to, it’s just too expensive and there are very few available long term. I would probably have to move to another country and start afresh.’

British tourists were also adamant that they bring something to the Canary Islands.

John Ashley, 61, from Durham, told MailOnline: ‘It’s ridiculous, if they stop or reduce the number of tourists coming they’ll be sorry.

‘If the English didn’t come, I tell you right now that graffiti would change to say ‘English please come back!”

‘We’ve been coming here for 20 years and have more than helped the economy, we Brits always get a bad rep but we bring all the money in.’

Carol Ball, 60, chimed in: ‘I think it’s not right, we come here and spend money, without tourism where would they be? They rely so much on the industry.

‘If they don’t want to see drunk Brits then stay away from the resorts where you’re likely to see them.

‘Of course there are going to be a small minority who drink too much and go too far, but that’s just part of the tourism business.’

Across the road, Londoner Jay Neil, 43, said locals need to stop taking out all the problems on tourists.

The worker at the popular Yolo bar told MailOnline: ‘I’ve lived here 17 years and yes the property situation has got crazy.

‘But they need to stop blaming tourists, it’s the greedy landlords that are the problem, there’s people buying like five apartments and renting them to holidaymakers because they know they can make a fortune.

‘Saying tourists go home is just silly, it’s the government that needs to act to sort out the housing crisis, which is happening all over the world not just here.’

Irish expat Bronagh Maheor, 23, added: ‘It’s totally unfair, without tourists here there would not be hotels or businesses, I’d be out of a job, we need them.’

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