LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA – One of Las Palmas’ beaches has become a haven for those without resources as well as digital nomads who live in tents in the middle of the sand.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has one of the best urban beaches in Spain. The beach, Las Canteras is appreciated for its wide extension and maintenance. This makes it one of the most famous beaches in the Canary Islands.
Many of the families and individuals living in Las Alcaravaneras are homeless. However, the presence of foreign tourists, especially digital nomads, is notable.
Radio Televisión Canaria interviewed some of them last November and found all sorts of stories; from a German traveller who couldn’t afford accommodation to a teleworker from a Polish company.
This is nothing new, as residents and political parties alike have denounced the permanent encampments since the pandemic arrived nearly three years ago. Something that is ignored by the municipality of the capital of the island.
Currently there are about 20 tents on the beach. According to the residents themselves, the campers are regularly warned by the local police that their presence there is illegal. They also checked whether any form of conflict arose in the coexistence. In rare cases, those present were expelled.
Article 33 of Coastal Law 22/1988 states that camping on the beach is prohibited.” The minimum fine for camping is €40 per occupied square metre per day. However, this can be higher if it causes damage to the public space in question.
The opposition wants “Central European campers” gone
However, the local opposition has pointed directly at the tourists in a complaint addressed to the authorities: “We have endured illegal camping of Central Europeans on the coast for months. The rules must be enforced and those who are uncivil must be punished,” said Enrique Hernández Bento of Unidas por Gran Canaria.
Impact of digital nomads in the Canary Islands
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has been choosing to attract digital nomads for years. Especially since the outbreak of the pandemic. The island government wants to diversify the tourist offer and generate added value.
According to the Nomad List portal, the Canary Islands received 35,400 “home workers” in the first half of the year who, as Turismo de Islas Canarias states, spend an average of €3,171 per person per trip. That is almost three times more than what the holiday tourist spends (€1,206).
Teleworkers do not choose for tourist accommodations
However, opponents of this policy believe that this type of tourist does not normally stay in tourist establishments, as their stay usually lasts at least several months. Thus, the local real estate market is tightened even more, which damages the resident population.