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Brit tourist disappearance another blow for declining appeal of Tenerife

Jul 8, 2024 | Blog, mynewsdesk

Tragedy of popular missing British teenager adds further shade to sunshine isle

Lost on the way home

19 year old Jay Slater was on his way home from a night out in Playa de Las Americas when he somehow turned up in the remote, hazardous, rural, national park area of Masca at the other end of the island, without water and on 1% phone battery. His friends and family have no idea how he got there.

Ravine in the Masca area. The last place searched for Jay

What happened to the likeable Lancashire lad after arriving at Masca has also been the subject of intense international media speculation. Fragmented calls to friends, phone triangulation and witness sightings have failed to provide the investigating authorities enough evidence to piece together a timeline of what happened to Jay and as of the time of writing, the young bricklayer has not been found.

Tenerife police have been widely criticised for refusing offers of help from UK police, including manpower, resources and technology. Despite insisting they needed no assistance from their UK counterparts, the Spanish police called off their unsuccessful search on Saturday 29th June 2024.

Tourists not welcome?

A slew of graffiti has appeared on buildings, roads, walls and bridges around the island over the last two years: “tourists go home,” “too many guiris” (‘guiri‘ is offensive slang for foreigners – particularly the British) and “Locals are forced to move out and YOU are responsible for that… digital nomads you are NOT welcome here.’

The Olive Press newspaper reports that many Tenerife residents are fired up over what they see as an invasion of tourists causing environmental problems and otherwise making life difficult for people who live on the island. So fired up in fact that 50,000 people took to the streets in April this year for a heated protest, holding placards with messages like “you enjoy, we suffer.”

Foreigners not welcome

With the advent of mass tourism in the late 1950s the Canary Islands developed rapidly from an isolated farming and fishing community to an economic powerhouse turning over an annual GDP of €49 Billion. 30% of this revenue is driven by tourism, but locals assert that the money is not reaching them and that swathes of people are living in poverty. They could well be right as the GDP per capita in the Canaries is 20.8% lower than the national average and the third lowest in Spain.

Either way, don’t expect the same warm welcome that visitors used to receive from the locals in decades past if you opt for Tenerife this summer.

Brits are already choosing rival destinations such as Benidorm, which welcome and are actively seeking British business.

Extinct timeshare resorts

During the 1980s and 1990s Tenerife was rife with hyper-aggressive timeshare operations. The beachwalks were crawling with (literally) thousands of commission only touts called OPCs who would pester tourists to the point of harassment. The aim was to persuade their victims to attend high pressure sales presentations at the plethora of resorts built by notorious, larger than life gangsters.

“Authorities stepped in when the scale of the problem escalated to the point where tourism itself was being threatened as people began to shun Tenerife and the other Canary islands,” explains Greg Wilson, CEO of European Consumer Claims (ECC). “Consumer laws were created to curb the excesses.”

Greg Wilson:  Timeshare expert
Greg Wilson: Timeshare expert

Resorts pushed back against these laws and got away with ignoring them for 17 years, but from 2016 onwards courts began awarding victims compensation to be paid by the timeshare companies. Eight years later, practically all timeshare sales operations in Europe have been wiped out financially and forced to close. Without the incentive to keep the once pristine buildings maintained as sales centres, many of the buildings have fallen into disrepair.

What was once a fashionable, sought after destination to be a member of a private holiday club has become anything but.

Sadly, hundreds of thousands of Brits remain committed to paying annual fees for unwanted timeshare resorts in locations like Tenerife.

Trapped?

Timeshare contracts are designed to lock members in. The annual fees are increased at the discretion of the resort. The member has no option but to pay whatever they are asked, whether they take a holiday that year or not.

Exchange systems are notoriously unworkable and so members generally have little option but to continue holidaying at their home resort, regardless of its condition and the change in desirability of that location over time.

If you are stuck in a timeshare membership that you no longer want, get in touch with our team at the Timeshare Advice Centre.

You may even be entitled to financial compensation if you were mis-sold your membership.

For new enquiries contact our advice team on 0203 7699 164 or email pr@ecc-eu.com

For current clients please contact Customer Services on 0149 174 3059 or email cs@ecc-eu.com

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