The canary islands is a Spanish archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa and a favorite Travel destination where tourists arrive in large numbers. There are several airports available but the Saharan sandstorm dampened the spirits of the holiday crowd. The dust-laden surroundings reduced visibility for aircraft and the tourists had no other alternative but to wait for the weather to clear. It affected flights from four of the airports in Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, North and South Tenerife. However, their customer service staff indicated the airports would remain open for passengers.

They also advised passengers to be in touch with their airline. That way they could get accommodation for the night in case of cancellation of flights.

The Guardian said on Monday morning that airport operator Aena confirmed flights would take off from four of the airports but there would be no change in the situation for South Tenerife. There, planes continue to be grounded. The tourists were caught unawares and they had to keep waiting for the sky to clear. Some of them sat on the floor for the ordeal to end. It was a frustrating experience for many.

One person on holiday with his girlfriend was to fly home to Manchester on Saturday evening. However, the sandstorm forced them to stay on in Gran Canaria for another two nights.

Tourists were at the mercy of nature

The Saharan sandstorm was admittedly a freak of nature and those in authority usually find a way to be ready with contingency plans.

This is especially true when bad weather leads to grounding of flights. At such times, people need to get suitable accommodation. The Guardian says stranded people have posted photographs of the climatic disturbance on the islands as winds battered the seaside towns. As a precautionary measure, the UK has decided to either delay or cancel flights to the Canary Islands from its end because of the sandstorm.

British tourists stranded in the Canary Islands

According to Sky News, the sandstorm has left thousands of Britons stranded in the Canary Islands. It resulted in the closure of airports because of poor visibility across the islands. The storm brought in red dust from the Sahara desert and is described as an "apocalyptic" sandstorm by a tourist from Belfast. He also said the conditions had deteriorated to such an extent that it was "quite hard to breathe." Incidentally, there were people in the UK who had hoped to go to the Canary Islands over the weekend. They had to wait for the weather to clear. One of them was at Gatwick with his family waiting since Saturday.

Another name for the storm is 'Calima.' These hot windstorms carry sand towards the Canary Islands from the Sahara.

They can lift the dust high in the air above the Atlantic Ocean before blanketing the region. As it passes over the Canary Islands, it creates a thick fog that reduces visibility and can cause breathing difficulties. The authorities have advised people still on the islands to stay indoors and ensure windows and doors are closed. Moreover, the organizers of some carnival celebrations in Lanzarote's capital Arrecife have canceled it for the safety and well being of the people.

Tourists cannot plan for uncertainties

People love to travel and visit well-known destinations to enjoy new sights, interact with a new culture, taste new cuisine. In short, they want to add to their knowledge bank. Therefore, when something like the Saharan sandstorm happens, well laid-out plans go haywire.

A famous travel destination like the Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt was out of bounds for tourists from Britain. It was because of a terror attack on a Russian plane five years back. The ban is now lifted. Similarly, for Venice. It is another hotspot for Tourism but tourists are avoiding it because of floods.