Tourism in the Canary Islands

Tourism is an essential part of the economy of the Canary Islands, an archipelago off the west coast of Africa. Seven main islands and six islets make up the Canary Islands. They had more than 9 million foreign incoming tourists in 2007. Tourists seeking sunshine and beaches first began to visit the Canaries in large numbers in the 1960s. Tourism has had some negative effects on the islands' environments. The construction of tourist resorts was not regulated until the 1980s, and some of these resorts have an unpleasant appearance, particularly in southern Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Litter is a problem on beaches and sand dunes.

Tourist attractions

The Canary Islands have 257 kilometres of beaches. [ Official Canary Islands Tourism Website - Canaries ] ] Despite the small area of the seven main islands (7,447 km2), they have very diverse landscapes, including long sandy beaches, spectacular cliffs, deserts, and woods. Pico del Teide is the highest mountain in Spain, with a height of 3,718 m, is located on Tenerife They have four national parks, four biosphere reserves, and more than 140 other protected areas. Visitors in the national parks are not permitted to leave defined paths or to camp in the parks.

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. Tourist attractions here include nightlife, walking, and whale-and bird-watching. Loro Parque (meaning "Parrot Park"Boehrer, Bruce Thomas, 2004, "Parrot Culture", University of Pennsylvania Press] ) on Tenerife has a collection of 3,000 parrots. However, most of these parrots cannot be seen by visitors. There is another facility south of the main park where approximately 330 parrots species are kept and a breeding program takes place. Other attractions in the park include alligators, chimpanzees, jaguars, penguins, porpoises, sharks, and tigers.

Lanzarote, the most northeasterly of the Canary Islands, has been designated an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It has an arid volcanic landscape and there are about 300 volcanic cones on the island. The island has a low-key approach to tourism and the traditional architecture of island's interior are taken into consideration. This approach was influenced by the artist César Manrique, who was from Lanzarote. Manrique created works in Lanzarote and the other islands,Andrews, Sarah, 2004, "Canary Islands", Lonely Planet.] including Jardin de Cactus, an amphitheatre-shaped garden with ten thousand cacti and stone sculptures. A twenty six foot high cactus sculpted from metal by Manrique is located by the entrance to the garden.Hobshoue, Penelope, 2006, "In Search of Paradise: Great Gardens of the World".]


External links

* [ Official Canary Islands Tourism Website]

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