Jet2’s chief executive has demanded an explanation from Lanzarote’s president over comments he described as “inflammatory and offensive” after she said the island’s tourism industry was seeking to reduce its reliance on Britons in favor of “quality holidaymakers”.
Aviation chief Steve Heapy has sent a letter to Dolores Corujo asking him to explain what she said and whether she wants tourists from the UK to come to the Canary Islands.
Mr Heapy told Travel Weekly: “As the UK’s leading tour operator to Lanzarote, I contacted them to explain their inflammatory and openly offensive comments about British tourists.”
He added he wanted to know “what she means and to what extent she intends to limit British tourism”.
It follows comments from Corujo last week who claimed Lanzarote was saturated with British tourists and the island was instead trying to accommodate more “high-end” travelers from mainland Europe.
Jet2 chief executive Steve Heapy has reportedly sent a letter to Lanzarote president Dolores Corujo asking him to explain her comments
Jet 2 sends around 625,000 tourists to Lanzarote every year to enjoy the volcanic beaches
Speaking in Berlin earlier this month, Corujo said she did not want Lanzarote to depend on large numbers of British tourists, but instead sought to attract higher-quality holidaymakers from Germany, the Netherlands and France.
Mr Heapy said the president’s comments had “prompted the hotelier community to ask the same questions”.
The Jet2 boss added he was “extremely concerned” after the president vowed to keep the island away from British holidaymakers as her statements would “have a very detrimental effect on British tourists” who choose to holiday on the island hold, reports The Canarian Weekly. . Jet2 has been contacted for comment.
Jet2 is the UK’s largest holiday tour operator. The company sends around 625,000 tourists to Lanzarote every year.
Mr Heapy said the stakes for the company and the tourism industry were now high, The Canarian Weekly reported. Despite turning away from the island’s future tourism strategy from the British, Ms Corujo said Jet2 had invested heavily in Lanzarote.
The company has contracts with 111 hotels, 46 villas and 8 resorts in Lanzarote and plays an important role in the island’s economy.
Last week Ms Corujo told German tourism officials that her market was in line with her intention to bring ‘higher quality’ tourism to the island.
She said: “It is important to work on the diversification of the sector and the growth of markets such as the German market, which is consistent with our intentions to focus on higher quality tourism and holidaymakers who spend more when they are here, and we’re driving away . . . from mass tourism.’
Ms Corujo is steering the island’s future tourism strategy away from British holidaymakers
Ms Corujo said she would instead try to attract higher value holidaymakers from Germany, the Netherlands and France
Ms Corujo’s statement denouncing British holidaymakers was subsequently published in the British press.
Mr Heapy said he was “extremely concerned by the articles published in the UK’s main print and online newspapers this weekend”.
He said it would have “a very detrimental effect on British tourists choosing Lanzarote for their holidays this year”.
Ms Corujo has apparently been warning British travelers for months. Last month she explained that the Canary Islands were inundated with British tourists and wanted a new approach to its tourism industry.
She claimed the profile change would lead to fewer visitors “with more spending at the destination.”
Information from the Lanzarote Tourist Board shows that Britons spend an average of €34.94 per day on the island, more than most foreign visitors.
Around half of all tourists visiting the island are also British. A total of 1.3 million British visitors came to Lanzarote in 2019.
This is four times more than Germany’s 309,000, with Ireland sending 285,000 and France a total of 115,000.
Lanzarote is persisting in its attempt to ‘saturate’ the island with too many tourists and become less dependent on British visitors
The president of the island of Lanzarote, María Dolores Corujo (second photo on the right) started the new approach to attract more European rather than British visitors
Despite this, Ms Corujo has directed the island’s future tourism strategy towards “diversification to reduce dependence on the UK market” and she believes more “upmarket” holidaymakers will be welcome.
The Lanzarote Tourist Board also tried to distance itself from Ms Corujo’s statements.
A spokesman told Travel Weekly he hoped Ms Corujo would clarify her comments and “hold appropriate meetings with representatives of the UK market” to reassure her.
“We have always had a very strong relationship with the UK market. Lanzarote is, and will continue to be, a very welcoming island for British tourists.
MailOnline has reached out to the Lanzarote Tourist Board for comment.
James is an author and travel journalist who writes for The Fashion Vibes. With a love for exploring new cultures and discovering unique destinations, James brings his readers on a journey with him through his articles.