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Tenerife deputy mayor tells Irish ‘all-inclusive’ holidaymakers to go elsewhere | BreakingNews.ie

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A Tenerife politician has urged Irish tourists looking for cheap all-inclusive sunshine breaks to go elsewhere for their vacations.

Carlos Tarife, deputy mayor for the island capital Santa Cruz, said holidaymakers interested in staying in their hotels with their mandatory wristbands on should book places like the Dominican Republic instead.

He made his extraordinary comments just three days after thousands of Canary Islanders took to the streets of the Atlantic archipelago to protest against the problems caused by mass tourism and demand their politicians take action.

Government officials in Tenerife, where protestors held up banners which said: ‘You enjoy we suffer’ and ‘Tourism moratorium now’, said around 30,000 people had taken part, but organisers put the figure at 80,000.

In an interview on a Tenerife radio station on Tuesday, Mr Tarife who is also Head of Public Services and the Environment for Santa Cruz Council, said when explaining why he was against a tourist moratorium: “In the Canary Islands we have less hotel beds today than five or six years ago.

“That’s got to do amongst other things with the fact that in the Canaries, and I’m referring especially to Tenerife and southern Tenerife in particular, a model of four-star hotels is changing to one of five-star and five-star plus hotels.

“Where there were hotels with 250 beds, there’s now hotels with less beds but greater quality.

“I think that is the type of tourism we need here, not the type of tourism with all-inclusive wristbands where holidaymakers stay inside the hotel and do everything in the hotel.

“For that I think there are destinations like the Dominican Republic and other places.”

He went on to tell Radio Marca Tenerife: “I think we have to have five-star hotels and five-star plus hotels where tourists don’t just come to enjoy the facilities there but where they come to enjoy our local products such as the famous Canarian potatoes, that’s what should interest us.”

Mr Tarife caused controversy last year after being pictured with a latex penis during a visit to a sex shop in a Tenerife shopping centre ahead of municipal and regional elections.

The right-wing politician responded to critics of the photo showing him posing with the giant phallus and two shop assistants holding up his election leaflets by telling them to “be happier” and saying: “I bring out affection in people who naturally freely publish a photo on their social media, even if some turn it into a controversy.”

Last week Spanish opera singer Ainhoa Arteta claimed Britain’s favourite holiday destination attracts too many “flip-flop”-wearing tourists.

The four-times-married soprano said the Spanish government should be doing more to attract holidaymakers seeking a cultural experience.

The Basque-born 59-year-old, who first performed in London in 1999 with Placido Domingo, voiced her concern in an interview ahead of the Canary Island protests last Saturday, which were backed by campaigners who organised smaller support events in cities including London, Berlin and Malaga.

Arteta, whose husbands have included American baritone Dwayne Croft, touched on the type of tourism Spain attracts after being asked whether opera in her homeland is in a healthy state.

She told Majorcan daily Diario de Mallorca in an interview: “Not at all. Spain is a cainite country, it’s not a country that helps its singers and musicians.

“And it’s a shame because we have truly talented singers.

“If this country exploited its cultural-historical patrimony and accompanied it in all our theatres and auditoriums with ambitious programmes, we would attract cultural and not flip-flop tourism.”

She added, in a clear reference to Barcelona and Madrid: “The Ministry of Tourism and Culture should act together and we should be conscious there’s culture around the country, not just in two cities.”

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