In March I did an assignment for Airbnb together with a communication/PR agency from Berlin Styleheads. Tenerife is mostly known for its mass tourism but, unfortunately, there is yet little known about the cultural aspects of Tenerife and activities beside the commercialized amusements. The idea of the Airbnb Experience project - "Rediscover Tenerife" was to introduce to a group of journalists and bloggers, that there is much more to experience on Tenerife rather than the concrete jungles of the massive hotels and shopping malls in the South. The mission of the journalists and the bloggers was to spread the word and distribute the awareness.
It was my first time on the island and the first thing that striked my eyes is the flora. It changes quickly from region to region. Its beauty is unique and enchanting. While driving from the airport to the location the island was covered in fog. From time to time the largest mountain of Spain Teide (3718m) was playfully showing its gorgeous peak, covered in snow. What a pleasure it is to breath the fresh air that goes down from the mountains with the charming flavor of the tropical vegetation.
The main host for this project was Kay Gonzalez. Born in Tenerife, studied linguistics and philosophy in the University of Cologne, cognitive scientist and associate professor of University of Illinois at Chicago. Together with his father Alberto Dorner, Kay has a few amazing apartments in the North of the island in Icod de Los Vinos. Of course, as the real Tenerife inhabitants, Alberto and Kay have their own wine bodega with the best wines from the region. Kay is a great story teller with a good sense of humor. He knows everything and everyone on the island. Thanks to Kay we could go to authentic bars, restaurants and bodegas, where you can get quality wine without worrying of getting the headache. Kay and his father Alberto Dorner are worrying about the mass tourism and what negative impact it brings to the island. The mass tourism is not only killing the nature but it also destroys the cultural uniqueness of Tenerife. Another major problem of the island are the banana plantations, that take huge amount of territory and waste a lot of the island's resources. Besides Kay and his father there are many locals who are optimistic and build communities to participate in the sustainable tourism. The biggest obstacles that those communities have is the bureaucracy and lazy contribution of the government.
It was an honor and pleasure to be part of the project. Magnificent island, delicious food, delightful people, adorable and professional team!
Photographs: Yuriy Ogarkov
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