La Palma Official Encourages Tourists to Visit Even as Volcano Eruption Continues

The head of tourism on the island of La Palma in Spain's Canary Islands said on Tuesday they are still welcoming visitors in an attempt to help the local economy despite the explosive volcano that has already destroyed nearly 1,000 buildings, the Associated Press reported.

"[La Palma] is a safe island where there is life, where pupils go to school, where the baker keeps delivering bread every day," Raúl Camacho said.

According to Camacho, only about 10 percent of the island has been affected by the volcano.

"Life is normal in the rest of the island," he said.

Over 6,000 La Palma residents have been forced to evacuate since the volcano began erupting on September 19, and about 946 houses have been destroyed.

The volcano has also affected local farmers and workers as the lava destroyed irrigation systems, roads and water pipes.

The volcano began spewing thicker lava on Tuesday, adding to the previous 35 million cubic meters of magma and 250,000 tons of sulfur dioxide.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Canary Island welcomes tourists during eruption
Tourism chief Raúl Camacho said La Palma is still welcoming visitors despite the explosive volcano that has already destroyed nearly 1,000 buildings. Above, workers clean fallen ashes from the volcano off of restaurant tables in La Palma, in Spain's Canary Islands, on October 4, 2021. Daniel Roca/Associated Press

The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute, Involcan, said Tuesday that activity in the La Palma volcano had become "explosive, with falling pyroclasts and bombs."

A video released by the institute the night before showed a block of molten rock that, according to the institute, had hit against a wall more than 1 kilometer (0.7 miles) away from the vent, a sign of the explosive activity of the volcano.

Cameras captured with detail the thicker lava that emerged from the main vent in greater quantities after the surrounding cone collapsed again on Monday. Experts were closely watching if the downhill path of the lava will follow the previous flows or if it will expand into other areas—spreading its destruction.

After meandering for 6 kilometers (nearly 4 miles), the lava has been tumbling since last Friday to the Atlantic Ocean. By Tuesday, a peninsula that has been forming has extended the island by 30 hectares (74 acres), or the equivalent of about 42 soccer fields.

La Palma Volcano Erupting
The Cumbre Vieja volcano, pictured from the port of Tazacorte, spews lava, ash and smoke in La Palma in October 3, 2021. A new flow of highly liquid lava emerged from the volcano erupting in Spain's Canary Islands three days earlier, authorities said, as a huge magma shelf continues to build on the Atlantic Ocean. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images)