TUI CEO blames holiday home rentals for turmoil in the Canaries

  • Tourinews .
  • 28-04-2024
  • Travel
  • Photo Credit: Tui Group
TUI CEO blames holiday home rentals for turmoil in the Canaries

Following the vocal concerns raised by Nordic tour operators, Sebastian Ebel, CEO of TUI, has weighed in on the ongoing protests against the current tourism model in the Canary Islands. Ebel said that the grievances expressed by residents are of utmost importance and categorically denies that they are “anti-tourism protests.”

Ebel staunchly defends the "organised" tourism of classic package holidays and squarely places the blame on Airbnb and similar accommodation platforms.

In an interview with FVW, Ebel highlights the shortage of housing in the Canary Islands, attributing it to the increasing availability of residential properties for holiday rentals on largely unregulated online platforms like Airbnb.

The German executive stresses that this trend drives up housing prices and fuels discontent among locals. "The fact that local policymakers have yet to take action is pushing people onto the streets," he said, referring to the 20A demonstrations, but also true in the sense that many people have nowhere to live.

While acknowledging the appeal of holiday home rentals, Ebel insists that they "pose significant challenges for the islands" and calls for them to be subject to regulations similar to those governing traditional tourism models.

"The positive image of tourism should not be tarnished by excesses such as those that have apparently occurred. The Canary Islands have been one of our customers' favourite holiday destinations for many years," he underlines, advocating for a "more responsible" tourism model that arises from thorough dialogue among all stakeholders in the destination: politicians, business owners, associations, and citizens.

"The Canaries belongs to the Canarians; we are all guests here. This also applies to us as investors and organisers. Tourism is a very important industry and employer, but nowadays not everyone feels they benefit from it," he added.