Exploring Sustainable Tourism in the Canary Islands

STORY BY Debbie 31st May 2024

The Canary Islands, a paradise of natural beauty, are leading the way in sustainable tourism. With five UNESCO Biosphere Reserve islands, four World Heritage Sites, three Starlight Reserves, and 146 protected natural areas, these islands offer a unique and captivating experience for eco-conscious travelers.

A Natural Wonderland

Five of the Canary Islands—La Palma, Lanzarote, El Hierro, Fuerteventura, and Gran Canaria—are recognized as UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, with Gran Canaria’s designation covering 46% of its surface. Each island is a blend of aboriginal and colonial heritage, shaped by distinct geographical features and histories.

The Canary Islands also boast four UNESCO World Heritage sites. These include La Gomera’s unique whistled language, the ancient Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria, the historic city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, and the biodiversity-rich El Teide. The archipelago’s four national parks and 146 protected natural areas further highlight its commitment to preserving natural and cultural treasures.

Nature-Centric Tourism with Diverse Activities

Canary Islands

Lanzarote captivates with its dramatic landscapes and the Chinijo Archipelago Marine Natural Reserve, Europe’s largest at 70,700 hectares. The island’s clear waters, with visibility exceeding 20 meters and temperatures between 18 and 25°C, are perfect for diving. Lanzarote alone offers over 100 dive sites.

La Palma, though small, is incredibly diverse. Its landscapes range from volcanic terrains and laurel forests to black sand beaches like Nogales Beach in Puntallana. The island’s pristine skies, protected by strict light pollution laws, make it a renowned stargazing destination and a designated Starlight Reserve.

La Gomera is known for its serene climate and lush landscapes, including the palm groves and Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The island offers excellent trekking opportunities with guided walks and circuits through its rich biodiversity.

Canary Islands

Ocean Conservation and Sustainable Fishing

The Canary Islands prioritize ocean conservation with three Marine Reserves of Fishing Interest in La Palma, El Hierro, and La Graciosa. These reserves protect ecological values and promote sustainable fishing practices. The waters host species such as turtles, tuna, and sharks, safeguarded by centuries-old artisanal fishing methods. The marine area between Tenerife and La Gomera is a designated Whale Heritage site by the World Cetacean Alliance, recognizing its rich waters and cetacean populations.

Recreational fishing in the Canary Islands is also well-regulated, with popular catch-and-release programs that ensure sustainability.

Commitment to Climate Neutrality

In the past three years, the Canary Islands’ tourism sector has reduced its carbon footprint by over 20%, with a goal of a 50% reduction by 2030. Efforts include energy-saving measures, the adoption of renewable energy sources, and water conservation initiatives.

For more information on sustainable tourism in the Canary Islands, visit here. Explore this unique destination where natural beauty and sustainability go hand in hand.

Enjoyed this article? click here to get more from us

Latest Posts

Next Story

Discover Summer Adventures in Méribel