The government in the Canary Islands is making a direct appeal for the public to act in ways that will avoid the “terrible” consequences of the loss of the islands’ winter tourism. “Your behaviour saves not only lives but also thousands of jobs.” This is one of the messages on an image of a beach which is empty save for the parasols down and the sunloungers stacked up. “How good it is without tourists.” “Are you sure?” “Tourism, vital for our islands.”How would this be received were the Balearic government to do something similar?
In August 2017, sunloungers in Gran Canaria were vandalised. This was an act of anti-tourism, one of very few acts to have occurred in the Canaries. There has been graffiti, but the impression is of random acts. There has not been a sense of coordination, which has been the case in Majorca.
While accepting that Majorca, under normal circumstances, attracts considerably more summer tourists than any of the main islands in the Canaries, and while also appreciating that concerns about “saturation” are held by many people who are not influenced by politics, a conclusion to draw is that anti-tourism in Majorca is, to no small extent, a function of politics and that it is not in the Canaries. There is a clear link between Majorca’s anti-tourism and the independence-minded left. The independence movement in the Canaries is not of the same order; it doesn’t have a broader narrative as is the case in Majorca - the Catalanist narrative.