It’s unlikely that Tenerife is ever going to be the choice of destination for the majority of savvy British travellers. I know that, I’ve always known that. It’s an unfortunate state of affairs and sometimes it feels as though I’m banging my head against a lead wall studded with razor blades when I tell people that:
“‘honestly, it’s only a teensy, weensy part of Tenerife which has football strip wearing lobster red beer bellies tucking into Desperate Dan sized plates of chips washed down with jugs of lager at 10.00 in the morning. Most of it is nothing like that and it’s a beautiful island with a great culture.”
This usually elicits a knowing:
“Hmmm, really…if you say so.”
The latest example of this was when I was re-connected on Facebook with a friend from about 20 years ago. He’s a really nice guy and a ‘call a spade a spade’ sort of person. However, he was never the most cultured of blokes. I remember once when we went to one of my favourite restaurants in Manchester, That Café in Levenshulme and he told the waiter to “get that bloody rabbit food of my plate.” He was referring to the salad garnish on his ‘well done’ steak.
When he heard that Andy and I were living on Tenerife his response was ‘That’s where all the chavs go, isn’t it?”
And there you are. That’s not an uncommonly held image of Tenerife. Maybe ‘chavs’ is a bit of an exaggeration. That’s my mate’s way of talking, but you get his drift. Now you got to ask yourself where did people like him pick up this impression of Tenerife. It wasn’t from the Spanish, or the German’s…it was from the Brits themselves.
Now we can blame the media for portraying a skewered view of Tenerife until the cows come home, but there aint no smoke without fire. The real curse of the image of Tenerife is what the ‘average’ man and woman in the street tell their mates when they return to blighty.”
Here are a couple of quotes from a Tenerife Forum thread which are quite illuminating:
“Tenerife is just that…Tenerife, us Brits go for the sun and good weather.”
“…Believe it or not, a lot (tourists) come just to chill out by the pool/sea and have no wish to go further.”
This is the curse of Tenerife. Many, many British people who come to Tenerife come purely for the sun and the familiarity of resorts which have British bars and a lively nightlife. It is the populist image of Tenerife and It’s the reason why many ‘travellers’ who want to experience a different culture don’t view it as a serious option.
The paradox of this is that it’s also the reason why Tenerife is one of the top holiday destinations for millions of Brits and has brought much needed revenue to the island.
It’s a double edged sword for sure, but I’ve said it before and no doubt I’ll say it again and again…until someone listens. The beauty of Tenerife is that if you want roast beef and Yorkshire pud followed by a pint or two of John Smith’s while listening to a Rod Stewart tribute act, or indeed the real thing himself, then that’s fine. If you want something a bit more sophisticated; fine dining and trendy bars in a modern upmarket resort, you can have that as well. But because the majority of visitors opt for a teensy weensy area in the south of the island, the bulk of Tenerife remains distinctly Canarian, so if you want to experience the real Tenerife, there’s a lot of it out there.
The curse of Tenerife also means that much of it is still relatively ‘undiscovered’ in tourist terms.