Fears for La Graciosa as beach is swamped by tourists
One of the most beautiful beaches in the Canary Islands is being saturated so much by tourists that its ecosystem is being put at major risk, according to a new study.
Playa Francesa on the island of La Graciosa should ideally accommodate no more than 108 people but on some days, that number doubles and can even soar to 250.
The study is linked to the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and shows that Playa Francesa “is far exceeding its tourist cargo capacity”.
The numbers found only relate to those who arrive by boat and don’t take into account tourists who arrive at the beach on foot, by taxi or on bikes.
One of the first conclusions of the study is clear: “If this continues, in the same upward dynamics in terms of the number of visitors, the impacts generated may put at risk the natural value of a very scarce ecosystem in the Canary Islands”.
“In short,” says the study, “ there are indications that the use of this beach is intensive and that it may be significantly altering a space protected by legislation.”
The author of the work indicates that he hopes that the study “will be useful for the managers of the protected area, and that it could be a starting point to reflect on the need to regulate the activity of tourists and visitors in such a vulnerable environment.”
“Unlimited growth can also suppose a substantial reduction in the quality of the visit of those who come to La Graciosa, hoping to find an idyllic spot but then surprised to discover a massification of sun and beach tourists,” he adds.
The report ecommends that more studies be continued, such as the calculation of the carrying capacity of the tracks and trails of the island; tourist activities that are being carried out in specific areas such as the aforementioned beach or if the implementation of a 75 per cent discount on transportation for Canarian residents has meant an increase in the number of visits to La Graciosa.