The British tabloid press is in hot water this week with the tourist industry in Tenerife for alleging that its famous Mount Teide is about to erupt. Britons make up a big part of the annual visitor numbers and people fear that it will have a negative effect on their business at the start of the summer season.
The Sunday Express website headline earlier this month read, “Tenerife volcano alert: Shock as 270 earthquakes hit Brit holiday favourite Canary Islands” and The Sun has been among other contributors fuelling the story with a “Volcano fear hits Tenerife” headline.
Jorge Marichal, head of the hoteliers' association that includes Tenerife pleaded with local politicians to do more to stop the unsubstantiated reports. “We're tired of how, at the start of every season, they come up with a story like this that doesn't just sow seeds of doubt among the British that are thinking about visiting the island, but also among the people of the Canary Islands themselves,” he said.
“They know full well that they are publishing something fake, which makes us think that there are definite interests behind it all.”
The regional minister for tourism in the Canaries, Alberto Bernabé, was more measured. “It's perfectly natural to imagine some sort of judeo-masonic conspiracy led by competitor markets. But we think it's down to something much simpler: they know [in the UK] that any Canaries' news is of interest and they have no problem manipulating the truth if it helps them sell more,” he explained.