Tenerife shepherds wearinmg traditional Guanche cloaks

Tenerife Magazine’s round up of some of the most interesting news stories of the week in Tenerife.

Britain Sizzles Whilst Tenerife Shivers
British newspaper articles at the weekend may have caused a few raised eyebrows as tabloids to the broadsheets ran identical stories about Britain basking in sunshine and 28C whilst Tenerife shivered under overcast skies and temperatures that struggled to reach 20C. For those of us on Tenerife reading the online versions of reports ““ whilst also sweating in sunny temps of around 27C ““ it seemed like a bit of meteorological spin. A photo in the Daily Mail of a lone sunbather wrapped in a towel under gloomy skies between Costa del Silencio and Los Abrigos looked as though it had to be a fake, or one taken during the winter. Except it wasn’t. A member of the Tripadvisor’s Tenerife forum confirmed that they had been holidaying in the area and reported that it “was freezing and cloudy” on Saturday. However, they also went on to say that every other day had been glorious. So although the British press didn’t paint the full picture, they weren’t faking it either.

Use Water Sensibly
After an unusually dry winter in which the island experienced less than 26% of average rainfall, the Tenerife Government has launched a campaign to urge residents of the island to use water responsibly. The “personas más sostenibles” campaign hopes to raise awareness about how important it is not to waste water whether in the home or at work. Although officials are still insisting the drought over winter won’t result in any major problems , there’s no doubt that the driest winter in 80 years will have some impact on Tenerife’s water supplies over the summer months so using agua responsibly and not wasting any makes good common sense.

Defend the Earth of our Ancestors
This week a few hundred people made a pilgrimage from Santa Cruz to the hills of La Matanza to enjoy a day of traditional Guanche themed activities organised for Asentejo 2012. The events were organised to commemorate the Guanche victory over the conquistadors and involved members of political groups who want independence for the Canary Islands. All in all it sounded like an enjoyable day with exhibitions of juego de palo (fighting with sticks), salto de pastor (jumping ravines using a long pole and silbo (the famous whistling language from La Gomera). But as the slogan for the day was ‘defend the earth of our ancestors” it would have been interesting to know how many participants were descended from Guanches and not from the conquistadors who decimated the island’s original inhabitants. The slogan ‘defend the earth of our ancestors” is a good one but it begs the question, defend it from whom? Given the constant accusations of corruption on the islands, mismanagement of taxpayers” money and acres of beautiful landscape regularly turned into concrete eyesores the obvious answer might not be one that is popular amongst the campaigners at Asentejo 2012.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to”¦ Viewing the Tenerife Glass as Half Empty
Tourist statistics for April showing a serious decrease in visitors to Tenerife have set off alarm bells and concerns that the island is experiencing another crisis in visitor terms. But are those alarm bells ringing too soon? A drop of 13.4% of visitors from 2011 may look as though the island has gone into tourist free-fall. However, tourism minister Carlos Alonso made an excellent point when he reminded everyone that figures for 2011 were elevated spectacularly because of the Arab Spring which saw Sharm el Sheikh fans head to less volatile climes ““ i.e. Tenerife.
There’s no doubt that Spain’s economic mess and rising air fares will impact on tourist figures, making innovative and proactive tourism initiatives essential. But it also helps to remove extreme circumstances, such as the effects of the Arab Spring, from the overall picture to accurately evaluate the situation.
To put things into perspective Canarian Government statistics show that 299,988 tourists set foot on Tenerife in April 2012 as opposed to 329,433 in 2011. In 2010, however, that figure was 214,092. That’s over 28% less than this year.