Lanzarote has ruffled feathers in the British travel industry by declaring the island no longer wants UK tourists but will welcome “higher-spending” visitors from France, Italy and the Netherlands.

The majority of Lanzarote’s 2.5 million visitors last year came from the UK but the leader of the island’s cabildo insular (local administrative council) recently described it as being “saturated” with Brits.  María Dolores Corujo Berriel of the socialist PSOE party said that the island would look to manage risk with “a diversification strategy to reduce dependence on the British market.”

She continued, “This year, we went to the travel trade fair FITUR to present the change in the tourism model that we want for Lanzarote.”  This she added that this would mean, “fewer tourists with greater spending in the resort so that they generate greater wealth in the economy as a whole.”  Growth, she concluded, was therefore expected in the French, Italian and Dutch markets, impacting directly on the increase in tourist spending. 

However, leaders in the tourism sector say that such a strategy would require a massive investment in Lanzarote’s beaches and infrastructure to attract tourist with higher disposable income.  Hotels, they add, would also need cash for upgrades.

The island’s Council has previously suggested declaring itself a “tourist-saturated area”, something for which they claim there is “a broad social consensus.”  So far though, the council has not explained how it intends to reduce such visitor saturation.