Gran Canaria has not grown in tourists since 2015 compared to other islands that gain visitors

Image of tourists in Mogán.

Tourism balance of 2022

The businessmen attribute it to the smaller number of four- and five-seater hotels, the deterioration of the commercial areas and the "terrible experience" on the beaches, with hammocks and beach bars from 40 years ago. They demand solutions

Silvia Fernandez

The island of Gran Canaria has barely grown in the number of tourists since 2015 despite the strong increase that the sector has experienced worldwide -in the last eight years the annual rise has exceeded 3%-. Other islands of the archipelago have registered increases in the number of visitors, such as Lanzarote, which has gained 400,000 tourists between 2015 and 2022 (+14.2%) or Tenerife, with 700,000 more visitors (+16%).

The recovery of tourism in 2022, after the covid, also keeps
Gran Canaria as the island that is evolving the worstwith a fall at the end of the year in the number of visitors of almost 10% and monopolizing 55% of the total number of tourists lost on the islands.
Last year it closed with 3.2 million tourists compared to 4.9 million in Tenerife.

The data is the reason for
concern for businessmen in Gran Canaria, who see that the island is stagnating as a tourist destination and demand solutions from the administrations. They have done their homework and in recent years have undertaken the modernization of the complexes but the public initiative has not kept pace.

The businessmen of the island call on the administrations to act to improve the offer

The president of the Federation of Hospitality and Tourism Entrepreneurs of Las Palmas (Feht), José María Mañaricuaconsiders that there are five main reasons why the tourism sector in Gran Canaria is not growing.

In the first place it points to the lack of four and five star hotels in the tourist areas of the islands. As indicated, in recent years many small establishments have been opened in the 'boutique hotel' format in the capital of Gran Canaria and in other towns, but they are hotels with very few rooms. «The last hotels open are the Baobab and the Radisson de Mofan. Two in fifteen years. That is nothing, "says Mañaricua.

In Tenerife, for example, before the entry into force of the
tourist moratorium, Numerous construction licenses to build luxury hotels came out ahead. This island today has 129 four- and five-star establishments with a total of 71,727 beds, while in Gran Canaria there are only 87, with 45,367 beds, according to data handled by the Government of the Canary Islands.

The reasons for the stagnation of Gran Canaria

Mañaricua also points out as a problem to address the situation of
obsolescence in which shopping centers are located of the south, most of them with 40 years of history, and which concentrate commerce, restaurants and leisure such as the Annex and the Lighthouse. "Today's tourists do not demand these obsolete shopping centers," says Mañaricua, who points out that although they are privately owned businesses
the public administration must intervene and force their modernization through a plan that contains incentives and fiscal measures, such as soft loans, to change their situation. Another solution could be, as indicated, a change of use or authorize a shared use. "If you renovate these malls, the whole area is completely transformed," he says.

The president of the Feht points out that Gran Canaria
does not have a level add-on offer, which responds to the demands of tourists. "We have to have a 21st century offering," he says.

Beach services and experience that clients have on the beach is another of the problems to tackle, according to Mañaricua, who criticizes that the hammocks, beach bars and promenades "are from another era."

Added to this, it points to the
lack of the island in complementary offer of water parks and marinas for luxury yachts, which attract tourism with a higher level of spending. "We need the administrations to align and act," she says.