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“Green shoots” for the canaries! 


Visitor numbers to break all records.

Visitor numbers to the Canary Islands are likely to hit a record level by the end of 2013 in a phenomena being called “green shoots”.

Just like the so-called “Arab Spring” of two years ago, Tenerife and the other six islands are feeling the benefit of the unrest in Egypt, even though tourism chiefs had been very cautious.

It’s expected that a quarter of a million foreign holiday-makers will divert to the Canaries, 50,000 of them in this third quarter but 200,000 during October, November and December.

The estimates suggest the archipelago will close the year with a total of 10.4 million visitors, the largest number in its entire history. This would be an increase of 2.4% and will be an enormous boost to finally kick-start the economy.

Business chiefs believe the new fortunes at the expense of the Arab countries will continue into 2014 and might at last signal some sort of relief for the people of the Canary Islands who have suffered a great deal during the crisis. It might not be the solution but it is at least a positive rather than negative factor.

The estimates have been made by the Provincial Confederation of Entrepreneurs of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (CEOE-Tenerife) which believes national tourism, currently on the decline, will also receive a boost as a result of the political unrest in the Arab countries.

The CEOE-Tenerife also predicts that the situation will help jobs in that 2013 might close without an increase in the level of unemployment and perhaps even a slight drop. This would be the first time since the economic crisis began.

The Canaries has seen the highest number of people without jobs in Spain, running at more than 30% ie one in three without work and the employers’ association believes many have just stopped looking.

It is believed the service sector ie hotels, leisure and restaurants could generate an extra 15,000 jobs up until the end of the year although this will be nowhere near enough to offset losses. In the hard-pressed construction industry, rehabilitation projects rather than any new-builds could provide some new opportunities.

Despite the “green shoots” boost, the CEOE-Tenerife says the islands’ economy is still being affected by various problems for which no solutions are being put forward and recovery is therefore being hindered. These include a freeze on public funding which is affecting major projects and scarce or very expensive funding for small to medium-sized businesses.

Employers are being urged to be more flexible when it comes to working hours and to consider sharing jobs between part-timers so more people feel the benefit.