Tenerife warned of potential “tourism collapse” due to high rental costs

Unionists from the Base, the majority organisation in the hospitality industry, warns that today it is "impossible" to access housing in Tenerife for workers in demand in the sector.

“The potential collapse of tourism due to rising rental costs in southern Tenerife is sounding an alarm,” cautions Manuel Fitas, Secretary General of Sindicalistas de Base, the predominant organization in the hotel and catering sector. The escalating rental expenses across the region, not limited to areas near tourist resorts, are significantly impacting professionals from various fields, who are struggling to secure temporary housing that facilitates their work in the region.

For those employed in the tourism sector, Sindicalistas de Base deems the situation “unsustainable” due to the daunting challenge of finding affordable housing. Fitas, in comments to this publication, raises concerns about workers being “forced out” of tourist zones and the rising rents “beyond the motorway and in midland neighborhoods, where prices seldom dip below 800 euros.” This predicament prompts professionals to distance themselves from their workplaces, thereby exacerbating the challenges of split shifts in the sector. “How can they manage to work in a hotel restaurant, with shifts spanning breakfast (from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM) and dinner (from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM), given the distance from their homes and the existing traffic congestion?” questions Fitas.

The labor leader highlights that working conditions and wages in Canary Islands’ hotels are generally “appealing,” enticing unemployed individuals from other islands or the mainland to consider working there. However, he emphasizes that as soon as these individuals realize the impossibility of finding suitable housing for their families, they are compelled to abandon the notion of relocating.


The hotel employers’ association, Ashotel, attributes the issue primarily to three factors: a dearth of public housing, investment funds that speculate by withholding supply from the market, and the phenomenon of vacation rentals. On this last point, Ashotel asserts that this form of accommodation was originally intended for residents, not as a tourist enterprise. They emphasize that land designated for hotels and flats is exclusively planned for these purposes and subject to obligatory regulations.

Tenerife warned of potential "tourism collapse" due to high rental costs.

Ashotel suggests that local councils possess urban planning mechanisms to designate specific areas for holiday homes. Regarding their tourism use, Ashotel points out that the principle of unified operation isn’t being upheld for dwellings within a tourist complex, as stipulated in the Canary Islands Tourism Management Law. Nonetheless, Ashotel emphasizes that they are not against holiday homes “if they adhere to the same regulations as the rest of the sector and their presence doesn’t lead to job loss and the erasure of the identity of our towns and cities.”

Jessica de León (PP), the new Tourism Councillor, stated upon taking office on July 15th, that one of her priorities will be to regulate the burgeoning holiday rental sector that strains the housing market and impacts public services.

Upon assuming the presidency of the Canary Islands Government, Fernando Clavijo expressed his intent to impose limits on the number of available holiday rentals, citing the example of the limitation on tourist beds set in the Tenerife territorial tourism plan. He noted that the General Plan of any city defines the number of tourist and residential beds, both of which must be aligned.


The Asociación Canaria de Viviendas Vacacionales (Ascav) maintains that renting private property to tourists is a “fundamental exercise of the right anyone possesses to lease their property,” and asserts that “tourism belongs to all, not just a few.” Ascav contends that 100% of the spending by those availing of this accommodation remains in the Canary Islands, aside from airfare costs. They stress the economic boost it provides to supermarkets, restaurants, bars, leisure activities, and car rental companies.

Among its stated objectives, Ascav seeks specific regulations for holiday homes as a type of “non-hotel tourist accommodation,” and endeavors to foster and promote tourism-oriented exploitative activities.

Now, it’s up to the Canary Islands Government to take action. Currently, the issue has been left unaddressed for far too long, even as the housing problem worsens, particularly in southern Tenerife. Statistics indicate that the Canary Islands rank low in terms of salaries and are among the communities facing the most significant rent hikes—a pair of contrasting, yet compelling, figures that fuel growing concerns.

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