Nice to hear from you again and to read that things have improved over there on the Baltic Sea. Here in Tenerife everything is so much nicer than it was 30 years ago. The post-pandemic years were quite threatened by social exclusion and very difficult to pull through. As you know, the unemployment rate on the Canary Islands went up to about 55% and almost as many people were at risk of social exclusion.
Fortunately, the big changes came just in time: the most influential change – in my opinion – was the change in the General Agreement on Trade in Services. Oh, did TUI and FTI and all those giant tourism corporations fight it…! And rightly so, of course – all their privileges went down the drain, and local entrepreneurs can finally participate in fair competition. Of course, this has had blatant consequences outside the economy as well: huge hotel chains that previously only offered precarious jobs and didn’t think at all about the environment or the needs of us local people are a thing of the past – and not a single waitress wears the traditional costume these days, haha! Oh, those were dark times!
Another cool development is that of all the tourist infrastructures that were abandoned during the Corona crisis. Hotels, water parks, restaurants…. It was crazy to see all these things completely empty for years. But as you know, most of them were bought en masse by the local and regional government in 2025. And now we are moving forward: after some back and forth, different cooperatives have been formed that use these infrastructures for their own benefit. Most of them there are now simply used for living and working communities, but many are also used for educational purposes – and there are even some multi-generational living communities.
– Original version: German –
Wishes and hopes behind the image of the future:
1. “For the future of tourism I hope that…”
Tourism has a predominantly positive effect in the regions, not only economically, but above all culturally and socially.
2. “If I could wish for anything at all, I would…”
wish that local people/communities or their needs (which are to be defined and articulated in a participatory way) would always be at the center of decisions regulating tourism. I would like to completely reverse the current international legal situation, so that both people and the environment are protected – instead of corporate interests (as it is currently the case through the General Agreement on Trade in Services).
3. “If I were a powerful politician, I would…”
1. allow only a few types of tourism.
2. quantify the negative effects which mostly happen on a social, cultural and environmental level, so that the countries from which most tourists come get some kind of bill.
3. pay close attention to the leakage rate of all economic companies active in my region and fight against it if necessary.