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British tourists warned they face £2.5k fine over Canary Islands holiday ‘souvenirs’ | Travel News | Travel

Tourists have been warned that taking sand, rocks and pebbles from beaches in the Canary Islands could land them with a hefty £2,500 fine.

Anyone tempted to fill a jar with sand or pocket pretty rocks as souvenirs should avoid doing so in the popular holiday destination.

Some of the islands’ natural spaces are under threat because of holidaymakers’ seemingly innocent acts, particularly in Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.

In a bid to put a stop to tourists helping themselves to such “mementos” from protected areas.

But enforcing the fines at the islands’ airports could prove tricky given the challenge of identifying where the items originally came from.

Some tourist hotspots, including so called Popcorn Beach in Fuerteventura, have more unusual looking sand, which would be relatively easier to identify. Others origins would potentially prove harder to demonstrate.

Fines range from £128 (150 euros) to £512 (600 euros) for “minor” offences, up to £2,563 (3,000 euros) for “major” breaches, depending on the amount pocketed, according to the Canarian Weekly.

Minister of the Environment of the Cabildo, Samuel Martín, blamed tourists for taking natural objects, saying most were stones, rocks and sand.

Protected areas in Lanzarote alone lose about 1,000kg of natural material per year, according to official figures.

Popcorn Beach reportedly loses around 1,000kg per month, with officials in Fuerteventura urging tourists to save endangered ecosystems and not remove its precious sand.

Campaigners in recent weeks have warned the Canary Islands are close to collapse because of overtourism.

In 2023, 5.6 million British tourists holidayed in the Canary Islands, compared with 4.9 million the year before, a 13.3 percent rise.

Tourist numbers put a strain on the islands’ infrastructure and land use, with some experts suggesting locals’ needs are being overlooked in favour of overseas visitors.

Ben Magec from the campaign group Ecologistas en Acción said the whole tourism model of the Canary Islands needs to be re-evaluated.

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