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La Gomera hails its tourism success with words of caution 

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La Gomera is celebrating record tourism following a bumper Easter though some sectors have warned against becoming “a theme park”.

The Easter campaign closed this year with an occupation level of almost 93 per cent, a record in the island’s historical records. And even more so when in some establishments, the occupancy level reached 100 per cent, especially the last weekend, in which in addition to international visitors, there were many tourists from the mainland and the other islands.

One of the most famous visitors yet again was the German Chancellor Angela Merkel who has been presented with a painting in the Spanish Consulate in Berlin in honour of her passion for the island and its walking appeal.

Cabildo president, Casimiro Curbelo Curbelo said it showed tourism “continued to be the main economic activity to generate wealth and employment, both direct and indirect “.

The figures raise hopes that this year will exceed the figure of 700,000 visitors reached in 2016 which in turn was higher than the previous year.

Sr. Curbelo said no-one should their lose guard but rather work tirelessly to improve the quality of service delivery and diversify the economy to make it more competitive.

“It is necessary to do everything possible to retain the tourist with the undoubted values of the island such as nature, gastronomy, hiking, tranquility and culture,” he said.

In this context the regional deputy for the Gomera Socialist Group (ASG) warned that the law for the green islands, of which he is a strong advocate, will not change the sustainable growth model but “it will have a direct impact so that our population can live with dignity with this activity. We must avoid becoming a theme park that others come to visit while we look at the sky. “

The succession of good news about the tourist market is regarded as the result of work which is now becoming a success.

“The factors that have made possible this small miracle are knowing how to take ad-vantage of an island made for rest, without large tourist crowds, contact with nature, small black sand beaches, good connections, six hundred kilometres of trails and the sensation among the travellers who are living in a special place, almost as if it were a stage prepared exclusively for the enjoyment of each and every one of them,” says the Cabildo.

In terms of overnight stays, the number has risen from 800,251 in 20015 to 910,000 in 2016, which in turn increases from 10.8 days of average stay to 11.3, or from 640,000 tourists to 700,000. The Germans continue to lead visitors with 401,258 overnight stays, followed by Brits with 181,245, Belgians with 21,196 and Spaniards with 194,200.