Fuerteventura, known as the “Island of Tranquillity” in the Canary Islands, has long been a paradise for nature lovers and tourists looking for golden sandy beaches and year-round surfing. However, in recent years, the phenomenon of touristification has begun to affect this island, especially with regard to the growing demand for holiday rentals and its consequences in certain areas.
Especially in the north and south of the island where there are very tense rental areas and where it is impossible to find a rental for locals.
I make a short list of the consequences for the local community and the sustainability of the island:
Loss of cultural identity: The expulsion of local residents and the increased tourist presence can lead to the loss of cultural identity and authenticity of the community.
Infrastructure overload: Over-concentration of tourists in certain areas can put pressure on local infrastructure, such as water, energy and transport.
Economic imbalance: Excessive dependence on tourism can make the island’s economy vulnerable to market fluctuations and tourist seasons. Not to mention the classic loss of the middle class. The cost of living, and especially the cost of housing, has skyrocketed in Fuerteventura due to tourist demand and property speculation, it can be difficult for middle or working class families to find affordable accommodation and meet their basic needs.
Being a responsible tourist should be a priority, especially on an island as vulnerable as Fuerteventura, and is essential to preserve the balance between tourism development and the wellbeing of the local community and environment.
Research the destination: Before you travel, research the culture, customs and traditions of the place you will visit. Respect local norms and show interest and respect for the community and its cultural heritage.
Choose sustainable accommodation: Choose hotels, hostels or guesthouses that have sustainable policies and practices, such as efficient energy and water use, proper waste management and support for the local community.
Support the local economy: Buy local products and souvenirs to support local traders and producers rather than buying imported or mass-produced items.
Reduce your carbon footprint: Choose to walk, cycle or use public transport whenever possible. If you must use a vehicle, share transport with other travellers.
Be conscious of your resource consumption: Use water and energy responsibly in your accommodation and wherever you visit. Reduce, reuse and recycle whenever possible.
Respect nature and animals: Do not damage the environment and do not disturb local wildlife. Avoid tourist activities that involve animal abuse or threaten the ecosystem.
Don’t leave litter: Take a bag with you to collect your litter and dispose of it properly at designated sites. Participate in local clean-ups if you have the opportunity.
Learn some local phrases: Learn some basic words in the local language, such as “please” and “thank you”. This shows respect for the culture and makes it easier to communicate with the locals.
Be aware of tourist overexploitation: Avoid visiting tourist sites at peak times to avoid congestion and contribute to heritage preservation.
Contribute to local and community projects: Whenever possible, support projects or activities that directly benefit the local community, such as conservation projects, schools or sustainable development programmes.
Remember that the key to being a responsible tourist is to act with respect, empathy and consideration for the place you visit and the people who live there. Your behaviour as a traveller can make a difference and help protect destinations for future generations.
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