Tourism Falls But Hotel Business Still Booming on Tenerife
Despite a report from the Gran Canaria Tourist Board that notes a slight decrease in tourism numbers in the Canaries last year, the Tenerife holidays and hotels industry is optimistic. So optimistic in fact, that Tenerife continues to grant building permits to developers of new hotels in anticipation of 2008 tourism dollars. One of the latest additions is the Dutch owned Luz del Mar hotel.
Residents and business owners in the Los Silos area of Tenerife are hopeful that the small hotel will stimulate travel in the northern part of Tenerife.
Historically, the southern coast of the island receives more visitors, and hence more tourism dollars, than the north coast. This trend has shifted though, at least somewhat, in the last decade. More investors are recognizing the potential for growth on the north coast. Los Silos in particular, though small in resident population (6000 or less) is rich with history and lush with verdant greenery. Large parts of this region lie within officially protected areas.
Of particular interest in this northern region of Tenerife is the Parque Rural de Teno (Teno Rural Park). This park is part of the protected area of Los Silos and surrounding regions. Much of it is inaccessible due to its extraordinary mountainous terrain. Its natural beauty is breathtaking.
The park is an ecological gem, since it is home to one of the few Laurisilva forests in the world. Many of its plant and animal species are endemic to the Canaries and this area specifically. The park is also home to the famous Gigantes Cliffs, sheer rock faces that plunge straight down for 600 meters into the sea below. The ocean around the cliffs attracts divers from all over the world. Like Teno Rural Park, the sea is also rich with plant and animal life. The cliffs themselves may be seen from a panoramic viewpoint within the park. Or, tourists can charter a boat that will take them directly to the cliffs via a small ocean bay for an up-close look.
Teno Rural Park may be one of Tenerife's most well-kept secrets. Its very vastness limits development in the north of Tenerife to a few restricted areas. Perhaps this is one reason that Los Silos and other northern municipalities have not enjoyed the same kinds of tourist numbers that the southern coast has seen.
This appears to be changing somewhat though, particularly with the arrival of new hotels, such as the Luz del Mar. Hotels and hostels on the northern coast tend to be smaller, and perhaps slightly more eclectic, than their massive counterparts in the south. This is in good keeping with local desire to benefit from Tenerife's tourism industry without jeopardizing the ecology that drives that industry.
The south of Tenerife with her brash hotels and discount holidays will continue to provide cheap hotels in Tenerife and holiday opportunities.
Los Silos and the surrounding areas in the north hope to retain some village atmosphere while still enjoying a share of the tourism pie. As the saying goes, you can't have your cake and eat it.
However, northern Tenerife may be doing just that. By limiting development to municipal areas and leaving natural areas like Teno Rural undisturbed, it may be securing its future both as a tourist destination and a conservatory alike.