What’s on Fuerteventura – Editorial May 2024

What's On Fuerteventura - Editorial MAY 2124

What’s on Fuerteventura — Editorial May 2024

Welcome to the May edition of the What’s On Fuerteventura on-line Magazine.

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In 2024 What’s On Fuerteventura is celebrating its 21st birthday. Yes it was started back in 2003, and apart for a break during Covid it has been published every month since.  For me personally I have been compiling and editing the magazine since May 2007, so this is my 17th anniversary edition.

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This also means that the Excursions Agency, formally  “Where Abouts” and now called corralejo-excursions.com  has also been operating for the same length of time and continues to provide the same service to its clients old and new, and hopefully will continue doing so for many years to come..

Protests

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I am sure most of you will have seen on TV or Social media about the protests going on in the Canaries at the moment, I hope that none of you have been put off coming here because of these.

Unfortunately the UK media have got the wrong end of the stick – the protests are not anti tourism  tourists, they are about the incompetence and stupidity of the Canarian Government.

First you need to understand a bit of local history.

Up until 2015 it was illegal for people to rent out their properties as Private holiday accommodation.  The laws had basically been drawn up by the Hotel owners and were completely Draconian. Villa rentals for instance could not be in tourist areas or within 500 metres of the sea. Apartments could only be let for holiday lets provided 50% + 1 of all the other owners in the complex or block agreed, then they all had to become holiday rentals, and they had to appoint one agent to manage all the properties, they also had to have access to a common “Reception Area”!!  In other words they had to be an Hotel.

Over the years this had become widely ignored and the authorities turned a blind eye, however in 2013 the Government was struggling for cash, and decided it could raise money by fining all the illegal holiday lets.  The fines were extortionate, 15 – 18,000€ per property.

The Canarian Government even tried to fine TripAdvisor and Owners Abroad 750,000€ each for promoting illegal lets.

However one company in Teneriffe, owned by two lawyers, operated 18 Holiday Villas and they decided to challenge these fines. They set up an Owners Association, raised a lot of money, and took the Canarian Government to court in Madrid – and they WON!!!

This was in 2015.  The Madrid Government were then challenged with drawing up new regulations on Holiday lettings. They thought about it for a while, then decided they didn’t know what to do and delegated it to the devolved Governments and Local Authorities.

The Local Authorities dithered around, but didn’t do anything. Meanwhile the Canarian Government introduced the VV License for Holiday letting properties.

However the system is a farce, there are no controls, no inspections, no standards set, no control on location the only thing the VV did, was registered the owner for taxes.

Owners need only to produce one of three different documents from when their house was built, or first occupied or from their Architect, fill in a simple form, pay a small admin fee then wait a couple of weeks for their license to arrive. They could then go to a printer and get their VV sign made.

So now, with no controls, they have created a free for all where thousands of properties, previously residential rentals, have turned into holiday lets, or AirB&B.

This has caused a massive housing crisis, it is estimated that over 6,000 properties in the La Oliva Municipality, and 20-30,000 island wide now have VV Licenses, and has meant that Residential properties are now very scarce, with the consequence that if you can find an apartment to live in, rents have virtually doubled.

Businesses are complaining that they can’t get staff, as there is nowhere for them to live. many people are living in cars, vans, tents or on the beaches as a result.

For example, in 2021 a one bed apartment on a complex with swimming pool rented at approx 500€ per month inclusive of bills, the equivalent is now 900€+ with bills extra, I have seen some one bed apartments being advertised at well over 1,200€ per month.

Who is to blame? – Greedy Landlords and letting agencies and to a smaller extent Digital Migrants, but the main responsibility has to be the Local Authorities for allowing this to happen in the first place.

I don’t know what the solution is. There is no social housing in Spain. Having issued all these VV licenses, the Authorities can’t now cancel them and demand that landlords convert back to residential properties and cap the rents back to 2021 levels.  It is a mess, and will take years to sort out.

Here Comes Summer

Here in Fuerteventura we are looking forward to the summer season. May is traditionally the quietest month of the year for tourism, some business owners take this opportunity to take their annual holidays, while others use the quiet period to refurbish their premisses, or take stock and work out their strategies for the coming Summer.

May can also be a great time to bag some bargains with almost all tour operators having offers on. This makes it a good time to come on holiday, the sun is Hot, the sea is warming up, the beaches are quieter, all the facilities are operating. So why don’t you go online and check them out.

This month sees a couple of great annual events, the first from the 16 -19th is the FEAGA annual show, and then on May 30th it is Dia De los Canarias.

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FEAGA runs from the 16 – 19th May in Pozo Negro village, it is a show that includes all the culture of Fuerteventura, It has a fiesta like atmosphere with traditional music and dance, traditional sports like Canarian wrestling, sometimes with a greased pig. There are demonstrations of traditional crafts and traditional cooking, and of course traditional wines and local Goat’s Cheese. Saturday or Sunday are the best days to go. For a full program of events click HERE. 

Dia de los Canarias 30 May

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30th May is a very important day for the Canary Islands, it is the Dia de los Canarias (Canarien Independence Day)
Every town and village throughout the archipelago will be celebrating. The streets will be full of people in traditional dress, with strollong bands of musicians playing while people dance.

They all head to the Plaza, where hundreds of seats and tables are set up for the festivities. Everybody brings food and drink and it becomes a giant picnic with traditional music, dancing and singing going on well into the night.

There is a great atmosphere and everyone is welcome.

It only remains for me to say – Enjoy your visit to this beautiful island, and we hope to welcome you back soon.

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