Tourism and Excelcan join forces to make the Canary Islands the epicentre of debate on common policies for European tourist islands

The agreement signed this morning between Canary Islands Tourism and the recently constituted Association for Research, Study and Excellence in the Tourism Sector in the Canary Islands, Excelcan, also includes the joint organisation of the 1st European Convention of Tourist Islands, to be held in Gran Canaria at the end of the year in the presence of European authorities and member countries.

This alliance is part of a common strategy that involves defining new competitive tourism models to face the challenges and obligations that will be imposed by the institutions of the European Union in terms of ecological transition, reduction of the carbon footprint, use of more sustainable resources and digitalisation and modernisation. Therefore, the aim of this agreement is for the Canary Islands to bring together this movement of islands so that, through strategic projects of European scope, the Canary Islands can become one of the leaders of the new European tourism policy.

The agreement between Turismo de Canarias and Excelcan aims to enable the Canary Islands to become one of the leaders of the new European tourism policy.

In fact, this action complements the proposal for the new European Tourism Agency to be based on the Islands. Although this entity will not be in place until the period 2028-2034, the European Parliament has established that a tourism department should be created within one of the existing executive agencies to provide both the EU and its Member States with an overview and horizontal policy proposals. This is precisely what the Canary Islands are doing with this initiative.

The agreement highlights that these island territories, united by a common problem based on the feeling of remoteness and isolation, would gain great political strength within the EU if they were to be able to present joint projects, which would also emphasise the strategic importance of tourism.

1st Convention of European Tourist Islands

Precisely in order to begin to draw up this roadmap, Canary Islands Tourism and Excelcan will organise the 1st Convention of European Tourist Islands, to be held from 30 November to 2 December at the Maspalomas Conference Centre in Gran Canaria.

The event will be attended by companies, experts, universities and representatives of international, national and regional institutions. The Chamber of Commerce of Gran Canaria is also collaborating in the organisation and, through it, the Network of EU Island Chambers of Commerce, Insuleur, has been able to hold its general assembly and annual forum within the framework of this meeting.

Companies, experts, universities and representatives of international, national and regional institutions will participate in the 1st Convention of European Tourist Islands to be held in Gran Canaria.

The Convention will be divided into three panels: European tourism policy, digitalisation, and sustainability opportunities and risks.

European tourist islands

According to the typology established by Eurostat in 2018, there are 61 island regions in the EU-27, corresponding to 11 countries and representing a population of 20.5 million inhabitants, which is 4.6% of the European Union’s total.

According to the same source, the Canary Islands are the leading island region in the EU in terms of the number of overnight stays, with more than 96 million, followed by the Balearic Islands, with 68 million, while in terms of tourist beds, the Balearic Islands is in first place, with more than 467,000 beds, closely followed by the Canary Islands (429,222).

The Canary Islands are the leading island region in the EU in terms of the number of overnight stays, with more than 96 million.

In absolute terms, and in the absence of data from Cyprus, Greece and Ireland, the islands with the highest number of companies in the tourism sector are Mallorca (9,119), Tenerife (8,423) and Gran Canaria (6,133), while those with the lowest number of tourism companies are El Hierro (133), Bornholm (222), Aland (226) and La Gomera (322).


The Association was created with the aim of promoting research, study and presentation of the different problems of the tourism sector, as well as providing the tools to try to solve them. As a strategy, it will carry out all kinds of collaborative relationships with similar or analogous entities, on a local, national and international scale, with the aim of exchanging experiences and knowledge in the field of tourism.

From an organisational point of view, Excelcan is currently made up of ten of the most important tourism companies in the Canary Islands, all of which are made up of Canarian capital and where decision-making is carried out on the islands, regardless of whether they have establishments outside the Canary Islands. These are: Grupo Compañía de las Islas Occidentales S.A.; Corporación 5, Análisis y Estrategias S.L.; Lopesan Hotel Management S.L.; Canarias Rent & Investment S.L.; Satocan S.A.; Hospiten Holding S.A.; Loro Parque S.A.; Total Hotel Experience Group S.L.; Grupo Martínez 1927 S.L.; and Akarta 21 S.L.D.

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