• CIC - Media Team

Why The Canary Islands are the Hawaii of Europe.

Updated: Jan 10

Canary Islands, The Hawaii of Europe, Article

It is well known that writing down your goals helps you achieve them. According to many motivational speakers, a Harvard University study proved it.

In a class where some wrote down their goals and others didn’t, those who did earned far more, made much more of their lives and were more successful; or so the story goes.


Intrigued by this, an investigative reporter decided to check the facts himself and see how they were now getting on.

The trouble was that his investigation uncovered an interesting fact: the study never happened!

There is no record of it. There is no one who remembers it happening, and there’s no evidence of anyone ever taking part.


Hawaiian Dancers

Confused, the reporter went to the speaker he’d heard talk about it. Brian Tracy was surprised at the question; after all, everyone’s heard of this study haven’t they?

“I heard it from Zig Ziglar,” was his response. Following the trail, the reporter called up Ziglar, who said: “I heard Tony Robbins talk about it.”

“Unwilling to give up, he tracked down Robbins, asked him the same question and was told: “Everyone knows about this study, but I’m sure I heard about it from Brian Tracy.”

The loop complete, the intrepid reporter went back to Brian Tracy and told him what he’d discovered. Brian’s response wasn’t what he’d expected: “Well, if it isn’t true, then it should be,” he replied.


What a terrific answer. Who cares if there was a study or not when it has probably been responsible for helping millions of people achieve more? In cases like this, the “story” is far more valuable than the “truth”.

The same is true when it comes to selling the Canary Islands as the “Hawaii of Europe”. The truth is less important than the benefits that a new “story” might bring.

Contrast the way the genuine Hawaiian Islands sell themselves, compared with the Canaries.


Tourism: What the Hawaiian Islands have in common with the Canaries

§ Part of a volcanic archipelago

§ Similar topography

§ Wide selection of accommodation, including top-class hotels and conference facilities

§ Similar flight times from mainland airports

§ Similar range of marine activities


What they don’t have in common

§ Hawaii is perceived as a higher-class venue

§ Hawaii is perceived as having an attractive and interesting culture

§ Hawaii achieves higher tourism spends

§ Hawaii attracts more short-stay visitors

§ Hawaii makes much of its cultural heritage and translates this into touristic activities

§ Hawaii generates significant tourist numbers from corporate travel

§ Hawaii generates significant tourist numbers from incentive travel

Arrive in Hawaii and you are likely to be greeted with a filled pineapple or coconut and a leis put around your neck.

Distinctive music lets you know you are somewhere special, and few tourists leave without attending a “lighting of the torches” at the beach as the sun goes down, followed by a Hawaiian feast and hula dancers.

Without the distinctive and attractive culture, the Hawaiian Islands would just be another tourist resort, with sunshine and hotels.

It’s not enough to have nice beaches, boat trips, sunshine and a volcano to climb. Something has to bind it all together, and that “something” is a distinctive and attractive culture.


If it doesn’t already exist, then make it up. If the real culture isn’t so attractive, then change it so that it is.

If there isn’t a tradition which translates easily into an attractive tourist activity, then fabricate one. Even if it’s not true; it should be!


In the big scheme of things, what matters is employment, education and social development – all of which come more readily from a thriving economy.

In an economy as reliant on tourism as the Canary Islands, this is essential. The comparison of missed opportunities, as demonstrated by the success ofHawaii, means that “truth” must take second place to a good story.

Now, all we need to do is take what we’ve got, make it better, make it more attractive and, if all else fails, make it up … until the Canaries become the new Hawaii of Europe!