A fair deal for tourism boroughs

New Spanish minister for tourism offers an alliance with the AMTC

During the opening session today of the inaugural conference of the Association for Canarian Tourism Boroughs, the AMTC, the newly appointed national tourism minister Isabel Oliver Sagreras said the government in Madrid were happy to be allied with the association. She also spoke of the search for a “social balance” in tourism between the needs of the visitors and the rights of the residents in tourism destinations. “Residents have a right to an opinion too, and we have to be aware of the impact of tourism on where we live”. Sustainability was vital in this regard – “economic and territorial. It was also crucial that workers right to training and proper contracts and wages was respected and upheld.

The conference, being held in Adeje, was organised by the AMTC, with over 100 invited participants both from the member boroughs as well as relevant professional sectors. Speakers from the Canarian universities are also present during the two day event, June 22nd and 23rd.

During the afternoon session on Friday there were seven round-table discussions on what are considered the main themes in need of attention: governing tourism, overnight stays – including holiday rental, sustainability, training and employment, planning and management, integration and innovation, and digitalisation.

The president of the association and mayor of Adeje, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga said that the Canaries “has to adapt to the new tourism model, based on quality and sustainability if we wish to maintain our position as leaders in the sector among European destinations.” He pointed to the main challenges as “capturing the new mid and mid-high income tourist, keeping the 15 million annual visitors we have and making sure we keep the €20 million that the sector generates for the islands”, and to do that we have to improve in quality, diversity and sustainability.

Modernising the existing hotels was another crucial point, the AMTC president stressed. “We need to also reform the existing tourism law to meet the needs of sustainable growth but without getting rid of the moratorium in place and we also have to treat holiday letting as another branch of tourism. Our objective is to have an availability of 450,000 overnight places with an average occupation rate of between 70% and 80% with an average stay of 7 days.”

Digitalisation was mentioned as a tool for improving competitivity in the sector by up to 20%. Employment and training are also pillars of any advancement with the creation of up to 100,000 new jobs under discussion. Among the essential educational requirements, said Rodriguez Fraga, has to be language training. “Learning other languages is something we do need to be better at and improve education options. We are also committed to equal opportunities and will work to eliminate any gender or age discriminatory gaps.”

Referring to the seven main tourist áreas in the island – South Teneirfe, Southern Gran Canaria, La Oliva – Yaiza, Jandía, Arrecife – Tías – Teguise, North Tenerife and Islas Verdes) Rodríguez Fraga pointed to the huge problems in roads, public transport, ports and airports, and that given the 16 million visitors who visit these areas annually proper planning and integrated development was essential. He also used the visit of the newly appointed Spanish tourism minister to reiterate a key point of the AMTC – the need for increased funding from central coffers given that “tourism creates over 30% of GDP but these boroughs only receive 1% of regional funding and less than 1% from the general budgetary fund….the reality is”, he said, “that we look after over twice the numbers on the residential register”. (Boroughs receive central funding for residents registered on the ‘padrón’ for services, etc.).

The conference continues tomorrow in the CDTCA, in Adeje.

“We cannot continue patching up the problems…”

The AMTC says there is a lack of proper dialogue

 

The mayors of the five member boroughs of the AMTC (Association of Canarian Tourism Municipalities) and the mayor of Pájara (pending membership) took part in a round table discussion yesterday at the ‘Futurismo Canarian 2018’ conference in Arona. Also at the table were the Cabildo president and the regional deputy tourism minister. Discussion focussed on challenges and opportunities for Canarian tourism boroughs the participants examined relevant data from each area and spoke of the “definition of a development model for such an important sector in the archipelago”.

Adeje, Arona, Guía de Isora, San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Mogán and Pájara between them earn 30% of the GDP derived from tourism, and more in secondary income, as Arona mayor José JulianMena explained. “We welcome 7.8 million tourists annually…over 65 million overnights making us a very important tourism resource at European level”. He continued, “the monies we receive for public infrastructure is not in any way equal…the historical investment deficit and bad planning is generating serious problems in mobility and in the end we will lose the competitive edge…we cannot continue patching up the problems such as the south motorway, the secondary roads, the airport or the Los Cristianos port”, he insisted.

During the morning the presidents of the association, and Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, alongside the other mayors, detailed actions they are taking as the AMTC, including the preparation of a detailed response to the proposed decree on holiday rentals. Fraga said “we believe there are some contradictions in the proposed decree and we have to be heard on this sensitive matter. We will insist on regulations that are intelligently designed to deal with the problem and turn it into an opportunity”. They will be looking for meetings with the regional government to talk about the law dealing with the coordination of local police forces and other matters which directly affect their borough members.

The mayors also reiterated that among the principal difficulties identified in tourism destinations are mobility, sustainability, necessary language training, financing adapted to the boroughs and investment in public infrastructures.

The mayor of Pájara, Rafael Perdomo spoke of the main problems his borough is facing; “The transformation of an older destination into one that is competitive on its own merits, not due to problems with other destinations, and improvements in public infrastructures”. He also emphasised the value of an organisation such as this one.

Cabildo president Carlos Alonso said he was still unsure as to the exact role of the AMTC as “they haven’t explained it to us”, but said he was happy to advance dialogue between tourism boroughs. The merit of dialogue was agreed by all present. Onalia Bueno, mayor of Mogán, said “we are the most important boroughs from a tourism point of view in the Canarias and we have to be listened to and acknowledged by Cabildos, the regional government, nationally and at European level because we firmly believe we have to have an active role in the decisions which affect the sector”.

Adeje mayor added “there is a lack of real dialogue, where we are being listened to, we have particular issues which need to be resolved…”, stating that tourism and the benefits that arise from the sector need to be seen to benefit the people involved and improve the quality of life of those in the sector.

 

 

Five top tourist boroughs form association

 

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The five tourist boroughs of Adeje, Arona, Guía de Isora, San Bartolomé de Tirajana and Mogán between them welcomed 6.2 tourists last year – that’s almost half of all the visitors to the Canary Islands in the same period. Translate that into overnight stays and the percentage increases to 64.7%. More than reason enough for the five to decide to come together to form an association to take mutual decisions and deal with matters that affect all of the member boroughs.
The five mayors of the member councils of the new association, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, José Julián Mena, Pedro Martín, Marco Aurelio Pérez and Onalia Bueno, came together this morning to form the new grouping, to be called (translated), The Association of Canarian Tourist Boroughs, with their official HQ in the Costa Adeje Tourism Development Centre (Costa Adeje Tourism Development Centre (CDTCA).

During the act of establishing the new group all five mayors were very clear that they would be uniting their energies to meet the challenges of world tourism and increasing competiveness, within which the Canaries needs to advance beyond the traditional tourism model which is essentially based on ‘sun and sea’ into new areas with diverse products and segments.

Each of the founding members stated their belief that individually they should do more than lead the process of renovation in their individual boroughs, but also coordinate to insure the best possible allocation of available funding from public bodies for that purpose. It was obvious, they said, that current levels of public budget funding were not sufficient to adequately improve public infrastructures and other zones that require upgrades in the coming years.

The five mayors agreed that the tourism sector should be playing a more active role in the diversification and international aspects of the Canarian economy. They will move to establish increasingly integrated connections with other sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, technology and industry. They also wish to look at the potential offered by the islands’ geographical position with regard to Africa. European funding and grants will be another area of special attention with plans to use such monies to improve relations with our neighbours and improve economic links.

The new association states it is not exclusive and is open to other ‘members’ that share its philosophy and objectives.

Objective: The coordination of unified action by the main Canarian tourist boroughs to defend common interests.

Aims:
1. Intensify the promotion and development of advances designed to improve the product and the tourist destination as well as offering improved and more efficient public services.
2. Encourage investigation and increased use of new technologies which make possible development and innovation from a borough point of view.
3. Develop communal projects to attract regional, national or international funds.
4. Promote administrative cooperation between borough members among businesses and sector interests.
5. Make possible the participation in or integration with national or international bodies.
6. Strengthen collective strategies as a way of increasing prosperity and local competitivity.
7. Develop synergies and joint strategies in urban innovation based on better municipal management.
8. Promote training and qualification for employment in the tourism sector adapted to the current state of the sector.

Department of Communications