Lanzarote – not so grotty?

Lanzarote's main tourist hub is to undergo a massive extreme makeover in a bid to reinvent tourism on the island and remove the shabby from shabby chic…

Rewind to the 1970's when tourists first started flocking to Lanzarote. The most popular destination back then was a tiny fishing village known locally as La Tinosa, which transformed into the biggest resort on the island, known as Puerto del Carmen.

Puerto del Carmen has long been a popular investment hot spot for British and Irish buyers and is home to the bulk of the 7,000 officially registered residents from Eire and the UK that have made Lanzarote their permanent home.  

However, it has now become a victim of its own success. The millions of tourists clogging the resort each year have made it look shabby and down-market and it faces losing tourist business to newer, fresher destinations.

Puerto del Carmen´s main beachfront strip – the Avenida del las Playas, is the poster child for the downturn, with its garish graffiti of cheap bars and cafes serving full English breakfasts.

Now, big plans are afoot to transform the resort from an outdated, neon saturated tourist trap into a stylish, upmarket holiday destination. The ambitious multi million pound redevelopment project is designed to reinvent tourism in Puerto del Carmen.

The Avenida del las Playas is to be part pedestrianised in a bid to reduce the cars to people ratio.

Another part of the plan is to transform the Old Town harbour area into an chic marina with moorings for luxury yachts.

This revamp of the marina is an attempt to attract more discerning, affluent visitors to the island, and is following in the footsteps of the neighbouring Puerto Calero marina, which is now home to designer boutiques and enormous gin palaces.

A new golf course will also be opening in the resort in 2009, which will be only the second on the whole island. The course, which will attract visitors all year round, should help to boost rental income for those investors who own properties on the island.

All of these new plans to revitalize Lanzarote's tourist hub are widely expected to have a positive impact on property prices in Puerto del Carmen, despite the current economic turbulence.

Picture by chicadelatele