Tourists on Papagayo Beach
Tourists enjoying the beach at Papagayo, Lanzarote

The Development of the Principal Tourist Resorts
The tourist phenomenon is quite a recent development on the Island and basically has only been present in earnest since the early 1980s. Before the influx of Tourism the mainstays of the economy were agriculture and fishing. Cereals, potatoes, fruit and vegetables of various types, not only formed part of the local market, but were also exported. Fishing, which was also for local consumption, formed an integral part of the export industry.

With an average all year round temperature of 24 degrees C, 3000 hour of annual sunshine, rainfall at less than 150 mm per annum, an array of beautiful beaches and a unique volcanic landscape the development of tourism was inevitable. Such favourable conditions led to vast amounts of European capital being used to acquire prime land on the Island. Such companies as Plalanza, Club Lanzarote, Island homes bought vast amounts of coastal land in the municipals of Tias, (Puerto del Carmen), Teguise (Costa Teguise) and Yaiza (Playa Blanca). These were later developed into the three principal resorts on the Island, Puerto Del Carmen, Cost Teguise and Playa Blanca.

At the same time the Local Government (El Cabildo), interested in developing tourism, began to improve the basic infrastructure, which included the extension of the existing airport runway which allowed, in 1970, international flights for the first time. Also at this time, the Cabildo created the first desalination plant and developed various natural attractions (The green caves, Jameous del Agua, Mirador del Rio, Montañas del Fuego) and opened them to the public. The Cabildo with good foresight, being aware or the possible avalanche of construction, put in place a plan known as “Plan Insular de Lanzarote” in order to restrain such potential building by placing a limit on the creation of commercial beds. This plan became legislation and by 1974 the Island had 2000 tourist beds on offer. The number of Tourists visiting the island continued to rise from an initial annual figure of 9,650 to 91,204 in 1977. Coming mainly from Scandinavia and the Benelux it was quality tourism with each individual tourist having strong purchasing power.

The second phase of tourism began in 1978 with the eruption of what is known today as the package holiday. With this came the development of Puerto del Carmen as one the most important tourist resorts in the Canary Islands. Following on from this success the development of Costa Teguise and Playa Blanca followed, forming the three principal resorts on the Island.

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