Lanzarote’s president finally declares “British tourists will always be welcome” after her call for “higher quality” holidaymakers sparked outrage

The president of Lanzarote sought to allay British tourists’ fears by insisting: “You are and will always be welcome here.”

Maria Dolores Corujo has hit back after angering the backlash over her claims that the holiday island is saturated and needs to reduce its reliance on British tourism.

Corujo drew more criticism earlier this month after he praised the Germans, saying the German market had adapted to his intentions to target “higher quality” holidaymakers ahead of the Berlin Tourism Fair.

The island’s unrepentant president said again overnight that the island’s tourism capacity has reached its limit and that it must prioritize “rational and sustainable development based on quality”.

But Corujo stressed in an open letter to the island newspaper La Voz de Lanzarote: “It is categorically wrong that we do not want British tourism in Lanzarote or that we want to reduce the number of British tourists.

The president of Lanzarote tried to allay the fears of British tourists by insisting: “You are and will always be welcome here” (File photo of Playa Blanca in Lanzarote).

“I will say it once and for all. British tourism is, is and always will be welcome on the island of Lanzarote.”

READ MORE: Lanzarote president praises German tourists as island appears to attract ‘high-end’ holidaymakers and less dependent on Brits

About half of all tourists visiting Lanzarote are British, and Corujo has directed the island’s future tourism strategy to “diversify to reduce dependence on the British market” and to welcome more “luxury” holidaymakers.

Formerly known as “Lanzagrotty”, Lanzarote is expected to focus its efforts on attracting more French, Italian, Dutch and German visitors, as well as tourists from mainland Spain.

But Corujo insisted the British “will always be welcome on the island”.

“In Lanzarote we are also fortunate to have an outstanding, long-standing British community that is sensitive to the environment and committed to nurturing and defending the sustainable development of our island.

“We share our insular character with the British and this makes the existence of borders in an isolated, fragile and small area like ours very understandable.”

She emphasized that the backlash her comments caused was part of a “false controversy fueled by misinformation,” she added. “Some took it out of context and others misrepresented my assessment of the future of the island’s tourism industry.”

She then pointed the finger of blame for “stirring up the controversy” at a “media company owned by a hotelier with a court order to demolish one of its operations,” although she did not name names .

Corujo, who belongs to the same left-wing PSOE party that currently governs Spain with support from the far-left Unidas Podemos party, defended her comments around the time of the Berlin Tourism Fair, adding: “All tourist destinations go to fairs to promote their attractions and conquer Their new markets to diversify the tourism they receive.

Lanzarote has also been doing this for years, because common sense and the basic laws of business advise us not to rely on a single country, especially in uncertain times such as we are experiencing with the war in Ukraine.

“But that doesn’t mean we don’t want those who visit us most, British tourists, not rather.”

Maria Dolores Corujo (pictured) hit back after being angered by a backlash over her claims the holiday island was saturated and needed to reduce reliance on British tourism

Maria Dolores Corujo (pictured) hit back after being angered by a backlash over her claims the holiday island was saturated and needed to reduce reliance on British tourism

Hotel bosses on Lanzarote insisted it was unwise to talk about tourist saturation.

Francisco Martinez, vice president of Lanzarote’s island association of hotels and apartments, said political leaders were opening an unnecessary debate and were “only advisory”.

And late last week it emerged that Jet2 boss Steve Heapy had written to Ms Corujo asking her to clarify what she was saying and whether or not she wanted British tourists to come to the island.

Lanzarote’s opposition leader Astrid Perez also joined the debate at the weekend, saying Ms Corujo was ‘irresponsible’, but added: ‘I don’t expect the British to boycott Lanzarote just because of the irresponsible comments of a politician whose words not the sentiments of the islanders.’

Lanzarote has an annual influx of 1.3 million British holidaymakers who last year contributed to an annual tourist revenue of £2.1bn, according to the Lanzarote Data Centre. About half of all tourists visiting the island are British.

British emigrants make up five percent of Lanzarote’s 130,000 residents.

Irish-born Geraldine McFadden, who co-owns a number of bars and restaurants on the island, told the Sun at the weekend: “The English and the Irish bring us our bread and butter.

“They’ve been ordering beer since nine in the morning.”

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