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With the introduction of package holidays at the end of the 1970s’, tourism in Lanzarote began to flourish, making it a very popular holiday destination for people all over the world, especially Scandinavians, Netherlanders, Luxembourgers and Belgians. With its golden beaches, unique biosphere, luxurious hotels and many tourist attractions, it’s easy to understand why.
At the beginning of 1980s’, the government put in place development strategies, such as improving the island’s infrastructure and expansion of the airport, to ensure Lanzarote was accessible to the international tourism market.
Working closely together with Cesar Manrique, the famous local architect, Lanzarote managed to expand without harming the environment, creating the most sustainable tourism in the Canary Islands. With his help, Cueva de los Verdes, Jameos del Agua, Timanfaya National Park as well as other natural vistas have been converted into remarkable tourist attractions. He has overseen that the construction of hotels would not affect the island’s biosphere, and that is the main reason you will not see many tall buildings while visiting, but mostly white-washed, traditional buildings which blend in with the environment.
The impact of tourism
As seen in many other destinations, tourism can have a big impact on the environment and locals – and it’s not always positive. Pollution, destruction of natural habitats, over usage of water supplies and disregard of cultural heritage are the most common negative effects of uncontrolled tourism development.
However, due to the ‘Plan Insular de Lanzarote’ developed by the council and Manrique, Lanzarote’s natural and cultural patrimony has been preserved, having nearly 2/3 of its surface free of tourist establishments, while tourists can still enjoy the island’s splendour to its maximum potential. For this reason, the island has been declared a Natural Biosphere by UNESCO and it has become the first out of six destinations worldwide to achieve the Biosphere Responsible Tourism certification, recognised by the World Tourism Organisation.
Another positive impact that the development of tourism has had is the growth of local economy. With around one and a half million visitors per year, almost all locals are involved in tourism in one way or another. From owning or working in travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, pubs, clubs or outdoor activities centres, it’s difficult not to be part of it.
When visiting Lanzarote, expect to see tourists from all over the world, as its unique beauty has made the island a multicultural hotspot. Most people who come here seeking a holiday under the sun are from The United Kingdom, Germany and Spain mainland. EU nationals and other international tourists can also be seen. As there are many different attractions around the island, you will find people of all ages visiting or even permanently moving to Lanzarote.
As far as the population is concerned, over 10% of it is made up of migrants. Most of them are British migrants who have chosen Lanzarote as their retirement haven.
Lanzarote’s position has made it a great holiday destination year-round, therefore you will always see many tourists about. Because of its location, being close to the African continent, the peak holiday season is between November- April and July-August. If you want to avoid the crowds and also enjoy good weather at reasonable prices, then we recommend you visit Lanzarote in the months of May, June or September, October.