Ana in the front of screen

Is tourism in the Canaries sustainable and how does it impact local economy?

These are questions that the CERE guest researcher, Ana Lopez asks in her PhD work at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Growing up, Ana has been asking herself if it is possible to alter the tourism sector so it better preserves island unique environment. Even at a quick glance you get all information needed to observe that the landscape has changed due to tourism according to Ana:

– If you take a closer look, especially in the south part of the islands, you find that the landscape has changed from infinite virgin beaches to an overconstructed landscape of hotels and apartments. Some of them quite near the sea and protected areas. These impacts grabbed my attention and made me wonder what the real impact of tourism and its emission was. Does the economic benefit of tourism compensate the negative effects of it?

Having done a bachelor in Economics and a master in Tourism and Sustainable Transport Ana set out to find answers to her childhood questions. – I will look at the issue from different points of view, the impact on regional and local economy, how sustainable, if at all, have the chosen paths been and from an entrepreneurial point of view – what are the carbon footprint for specific hotels?

About halfway through her thesis work, Ana came to hang out at CERE working on a paper with Runar Brännlund and Magnus Lindmark. The paper will cover the environmental cost of tourism emissions on regional accounting measures. – Magnus has already calculated this measure for Sweden and Runar is an expert on these environmental economics issues. Then I plan to estimate a General Equilibrium model for the islands, including tourism sector and how it can alter with changes in tourists’ environmental preferences. These models allow us to look at all sectors of an economy and how the whole economy changes with a shock such as a tax and a reduction in tourism arrivals.

CERE will certainly continue to follow Ana’s work as she returns to sun, shorts and “papas arrugadas” and hope she will be lured back at some point with Swedish sauna and snow.