Tourism towns need particular financial considerations
The Alliance of tourism towns in Spain, the AMT, made up of Adeje, Arona, Benidorm, Calvià, Lloret de Mar, Salou, San Bartolomé de Tirajana and Torremolinos, outlined their priorities as the leading tourism destinations in Spain, during a meeting in Madrid earlier this week. Also present were members of the British embassy and consulates.
The eight member boroughs together represent only 0.92% of the Spanish population, but received 13.52% of visitors to the country, 11,059, 430 last year. They have an average occupation rate of over 82% and employ over 86,000 people in the sector. Spain is currently registering as the second best tourism market in the world.
The strong competition in the sector globally and the permanent evolution of the demand of the new tourist are issues of concern for the members boroughs. All are working to digitalise the sector, to continue to grow as sustainable, safe and accessible places to visit, elements that are important in marking the difference between Spanish and many other destinations and maintain their position as world leaders in the sector. To further the aims of the boroughs the group has said they need a specific financial system with increased funding from public administration to put in place many of the new products which will increase their competitive edge. That in turn will continue to see positive returns for the country.
The mayor of Adeje, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, says this isn’t just about “asking for money”, but “allocating the tools needed to direct the finance along the lines to alleviate the kinds of pressure that tourism boroughs are under, boroughs that have to deal with a huge seasonal increase in their populations, people who visit not live in the boroughs, but who still require services. Without specific aid, the potential is that the resident population will suffer a parallel decrease in services.
“We are dealing with issues that mark us out from other Spanish boroughs, and as, for instance, there are laws the apply only to the larger cities in Spain, we think it is only fair that we have specific regulations that apply to those boroughs that have a large regular tourism weighting”, insisted the Adeje mayor.
The mayor of Arona, José Julián Mena, explained that while “tourism is a source of income and bring opportunities to the residents of our boroughs, we can’t forget that the industry also brings huge pressure to bear on local infrastructures and services”.
He added, “We want to be able to continue to offer both residents and visitors quality public services, but that isn’t easy with pressure from the local population as well as a daily floating influs of about 225,000, people, which is exactly why we need a financial structure that is particular and adapted to the needs here – roads, sanitation and health services, for example.
Also attending the meeting was Bill Murray, Head of Economics and Public Policy at the British Embassy, Sarah Jane Morris, British Consul for Madrid and Alicante and Lloyd Milen, British Consul for the Balearics, Catalonia and Andorra, who are interested in the evolution of this group given the importance of the British market.
During the meeting there was also discussion of worries regarding the question of Brexit and how this might affect tourism. However all were keen to stress the popularity of Spain as a holiday destination with Britons and an overall sense that Brexit won’t have a huge impact on tourism and commerce in that sector.
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King Felipe VI lauds Adeje, Arona and San Bartolomé de Tirajana as excellent examples in the renovation of Spanish tourism
Spain’s King Felipe VI spoke at the Maspalomas International Tourism Forum yesterday (Thursday Dec 14th) and made particular mention of the work of the tourism destinations that are members of the AMT, the Canarian association of tourism boroughs.
His majesty singled out the work carried out by Arona, Adeje and San Bartolomé de Tirajana as excellent examples of how renovation works within the tourism industry. He also met with mayors of the AMT member boroughs and those of Guía de Isora and Mogan.
“Three Canarian boroughs are among the top eight in Spain for overnight tourism stays”, the King told the forum. “These are older destinations how have worked hard to meet the renovation challenge”, he added. Also present were mayors from the member boroughs of the Tourism Sun and Beach Alliance, Salou and Benidorm, an alliance to which Arona, Adeje and San Bartolomé de Tirajana also belong. Among other topics, those in attendance discussed collaborative projects that they are preparing for the next Spanish tourism trade fair, Fitur.
Representing the Canarian boroughs were mayors, José Julián Mena, (Arona), José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga (Adeje) and Marco Aurelio Pérez, (San Bartolomé de Tirajana) as well as tourism councillors from Guía de Isora, Arona, Adeje,, and San Bartolomé de Tirajana,.
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Adeje’s municipal tourism council met today in the Hard Rock Hotel with mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, and Adeje councillors for tourism and the presidency, Ermitas Moreira García and Carmen Rosa González Cabrera, as well as a healthy turnout from representatives of the tourism sector in Costa Adeje, Ashotel (the provincial hoteliers association), CIT, the centre for tourism initiatives, CEST, the South Tenerife business circle, and other areas working in the sector.
The meeting agenda included a presentation of the different projects currently under way in the zone, and those on the point of beginning work on moves to improve tourism, including plans from the International Tourism Forum and the Atlantic Tourism Laboratory. The meeting also discussed sustainable development plans and the recently obtained Biosphere Tourism Destination certificate granted to Costa Adeje.
During the meeting the delegates proposed a number of plans for debate at insular and regional level regarding connectivity and mobility and the vulnerabilities of the borough. This included a need for discussion on the construction of a second runway and terminal at Reína Sofía Airport in South Tenerife and daily congestion problems along the TF-1 motorway.
The Adeje mayor alongside Ashotel’s Victoria López and the head of the University of La Laguna’s department of economics Francisco Calero, held a press conference where they outlined the priorities for the council. Rodríguez Fraga stressed the importance of plans to improve and upgrade tourism infrastructures in Costa Adeje. He said that in the coming years the amount available for investment in the area could reach €135 million and monies had already been sought from PITCAN, the Canarian Tourism Investment Plan. “We are seeking to insure that public investment matches private funding in the areas of renovation and improvements in tourist spaces, the areas that are the economic bread and butter of the region”, he said. He pointed to the positive effects already felt as a result of modernisation projects adding that it was important that public administrations didn’t get left behind. “We have to renovate and create new environments, modern and attractive, for our visitors”. He confirmed that there was already promises of over €130 million from private investors, so with public funding to match that, overall spending could top €260 million in the region.
The mayor made reference to a number of projects already underway in strategic areas of Costa Adeje, including Calle Roma, Calle París, Calle Uruguay and Calle Paraguay, the maritime walkway in Playa Paraíso and the open area in Salytien. “In 2017 we have already seen spending of €15million, almost all of that council funded”, he said, adding that this meant generating spaces for tourists and residents, those who live here, who sustain our economy.
The Adeje municipal tourism council was established in 1988 and has operated through a number of different tourism development phases. Its primary aim is to recognise and work on the premise that the position of Costa Adeje as a leader in the tourism sector is the responsibility of everyone involved and to work and speak on behalf of the borough in seeking private and public support channelled through participative bodies. During the week the body also explained the incorporation of Adeje into the Canarian Tourism Borough Association and the creation of LAT, the Atlantic Tourism Laboratory, whose objective is development and training in the sector, sharing tourism information and knowledge with all relevant agents in the tourism process. This includes ideas exchange among those involved, and making sure that the lives of those who live here are generally improved.
The council also discussed international issues that affect the industry, looking, for instance, at how some competitor destinations are in a process of recovery, and the economic effects Brexit may have on the market sector given the huge importance of British holiday makers.
Members of the council 2017-2019:
President: José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga (Adeje mayor).
Elected representatives: Rafael Dolado (CIT Sur), Victoria López (Ashotel), Javier Muñoz and Iván Brion (Hoteliers), José Barreiro and Roberto Konrad (Extrahoteliers), Pablo Pastor (Hostelry and restoration, Javier Cabrera (Leisure), Anup Aswani and Jordi Esplugas (Commerce), Roberto Ucelay (CEST), José Gregorio Rivero (Transport), Jil Massow, Carmen Batista, Carlos Jiménez and Alfredo Martínez (Tour operators), Bárbara Waldhorf (Travel agencies).
Proposed spokespersons: Eric Viana, Javier Zamorano, Jimy Gómez, Juan Vallecillos, Jacobo Kalitovics, Santiago Yus, César Álvarez, Lucía Mendoza, José Antonio Mesa, Eduardo Parra, Carlos Ludeña.
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At its monthly session today, Friday June 30th, the Adeje council voted on a motion to urge the regional government to tell the state to set in train, as soon as possible, work to build a second runway at Reina Sofia airport. This comes following the seven-hour airport shut down after the tyres on a plane burst on landing earlier this week.
This was what is termed an ‘institutional motion’ with full support from all parties and elected members of the Adeje council and was proposed by the ruling socialists. All those who spoke in favour stated the importance of a second runway and terminal to the area, and included the provision that the regional government offer all necessary assistance to the state in ensuring that this becomes reality.
The party representatives speaking on the issue during the meeting stressed the relevance of the airport as a key infrastructure not just for transport and mobility within the island but also a determining factor in the tourism industry, as the main economic motor of the Canaries.
The Adeje mayor, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, met with the president of the Institute for Responsible Tourism, the ITR, Tomás de Azcárate y Bang, this week and on behalf of the borough signed an official ‘letter of commitment’ to sustainable tourism. This commitment to the ITR will allow Adeje access tools and communication platforms for the promotion and development of new models of production and tourism consumption favouring cultural diversity, peace and sustainable development within the industry, contributing, says the document, to a world based on understanding and a respect for our social/cultural heritage and nature, that is shared by humankind.
The document also underlines a firm commitment to advance a new model of sustainable tourism. This is to be based on the pillars of cultural diversity and social responsibility, sharing a common future and defining a series of strategic actions which will promote international debate on problems relative to such matters and their relation with the tourism industry as well as social, professional and scientific forums.
“This initiative fits perfectly with the philosophy we have already embraced in Adeje: responsible tourism, tourism for the people. Tourism has to contribute, primarily, to the wellbeing of those who live from it, and following on from that, must open up the possibility for collective enrichment, where individuals are more open, show greater respect”, said the Adeje mayor who added, “tourism is also a great opportunity for our world today, and should be linked to the environment, as well as the society, and promote respect for cultures and ways of life.”
He also stated that “training is fundamental in all aspects, and in tourism even more essential. We are determined to defend the premise that tourism is a source of wealth which we have to see diversify and one that at the same time serves to enhance our Canarian identity”.
Tomás de Azcárate y Bank agreed that people have a key role to play in the evolution of inclusive tourism, “where cultures, traditions and local knowledge is respected in all its forms, as well as valuing the development of ethical and sustainable tourism”.
By signing up to the programme Adeje will contribute to and benefit from an exchange of good tourism practises geared towards the formation of a responsible industry. They will be part of a series of programmes for specialised tourism training and education, using cultural diversity as an essential tourism resource.
The ITR was formed following an international conference on global sustainable tourism held in Lanzarote in 1995, and the body was granted permanent status with the backing of UNESCO in 1997.
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The Hispanic American College, New York, is organising the I Programme for the Tenerife Tourism Industry, in Adeje, from April 24th to 28th. The event will offer participants integrated global-based information on the processes and methodologies in the tourism industry, in particularly those used by leading companies in the sector.
The course is ideal for sector directors, managers and sector heads. Registration is still open online, http://www.hispanoamericanassociation.com/executive-education/executive-program-for-tourism-industry/ where you will also find information about course content and the number of modules offered by the programme. The programme will be in Spanish.
According to Adeje’s tourism councillor, Ermitas Moriera García, “this is an important course which is being run by a highly prestigious university institution”, and further enhances the Costa Adeje Tourism Development Centre (CDTCA) as a training and educational centre for the sector.
The programme is supported by leading hotels in the zone and the provincial hoteliers association. It should encourage debate about the sector and industry, the culture of innovation and partnership in the path to success for companies and individuals working in the sector. How to meet new challenges, how to deal with change through innovation and how to identify potential roadblocks and have a plan of action in place to deal with them are just some of the goals of the five-day event.
Participants will receive a diploma upon completion of the programme. The module leaders are professionals at national and international levels in tourism, marketing, bio-urbanism, consumer identification, health tourism, etc.
Professionals and technical experts from the world of tourism, in areas of market development, new trends and new technology, as well as economic specialists will meet in Adeje from April 24th to 28th to take part in the ‘I Executive Program for the Tourism Industry’, organised by the Hispanic American College, in partnership with the Adeje Council, Ashotel and the Melía corporation.
The five day event will bring together people from both public and private institutions to work towards improving excellence in the sector.
At the presentation of the event yesterday were Adeje tourism councillor Ermitas Moreira, Hispanic American College CEO Ray Cazorla, General Manager of Melía Hotels International Francisco Pérez and Jesús Acosta, founder and CEO of Soy Digital Network. Areas to be explored during the five days will include the management of change and leadership, challenges to the hotel industry, financing the sector, digital marketing and aspects of staffing the tourism industry among other things.
We are always looking to improve the destination and this has a lot to do with training, so events like these are very important”, commented the Adeje tourism councillor. She continued, “This is bringing together a particular group in the search for excellence, something of particular importance for professionals in the sector and we are sure that there will be a positive reaction because we are dealing with the basic tools needed to advance the sector and promote the destination, from digital marketing to human resources, and the improvement of the treatment of our client base”.
Ray Cazorla noted that “the programme of activities has an important international side, with speakers coming from Harvard University as well as invited guests such as a former health minister from Chile who will talk about his experience in healthy tourism.” Cazorla also stressed the important role education plays, as well as stating that they were interested in learning about the “circumstances that the tourism industry in the Canary Islands finds itself in, to engage the program that we are developing in Chile, New York, Madrid and Seville and to also allow for feedback about what is happening in the industry”.
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The mayor of Adeje, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, alongside the mayor of Arona, José Julian Mena and of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Marco Aurelio Pérez, were in Madrid this morning to take part in the foundation of a new alliance of the most imporatant tourism destinations in Spain, a move that has the full backing of the World Tourism Organisation, in whose headquarters the alliance was signed, as well the CEHAT, the Spanish federation of hotels and apartments.
There were five other boroughs also present as founder members, Salou, Benidorm, Calviá, Lloret de Mar and Torremolinos. The national secretary for state for tourism, Matilde Asián, was in attendance, with the WTO director for relations, Carlos Vogeler, and the president of CEHAT, Juan Molas. The eight destinations between them host 10.5 million visitors annually.
The new alliance has a number of objectives, among those being the restoration of a working dialogue between administrations, local, regional, national and European. They also will be working to create a level of participation among the different member destinations in applying for public funding, given their strategic importance for the national economy. This will in turn assist in improving infrastructures and offering quality service, both for residents and visitors.
Rodríguez Fraga said “with this initiative we want to intensify promotion and development and advances geared towards the improvement of the product and the destination. Our main objective will be to improve the destinations, and create local wealth and quality employment, always bearing in mind the wellbeing of the people working and living in the destination”.
He added, “We believe the coming together of these 8 important boroughs will also help in the advanced use of new technologies in development and innovation and promote co-operation between the different administrations, companies and agencies involved in the sector”.
Arona mayor José Julian Mena said “all our destinations play key roles in the local and national economy and they all experience pressure on the resources and the infrastructures available, which in turn has an effect on our residents. This is why we have to look for further investment from regional, national and European authorities”. Marco Aurelio Pérez, mayor of San Bartolomé de Tirajana,added that this was a great step forward and would assist in the work along the Maspalomas-Costa Canaria regions.
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Adeje was host to the XIX AECIT (Tourism experts) Congress this week, with over 200 persons from the sector coming together to discuss new challenges facing the industry from an informed and scientific perspective. The event was organised by the AECIT, FIT Canarias and the Adeje Council.
Speaking to the assembly, the rector of the University of La Laguna, Eduardo Parra López said “it was an honour that this association has one of our professors as its president (Antonio Martinón Cejas)” adding that he hoped by the end of the year to be able to announce an ambitious programme for the years ahead. “We will take advantage of our presence here in South Tenerife, in Adeje, to encourage academic activities, not just limited to the tourism grade either, but investigative projects directly related to the zone and beyond. We don’t have to be competitors all of the time, we can work from a wider platform”, he said.
The mayor of Adeje, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, told the attendees that today Costa Adeje was “in a process of renovation in the hotel sector and creating new, interesting complementary products that would open many doors”. He underlined the importance of training and knowledge, “fundamental factors from our – the Council’s – point of view. Knowledge is a fundamental pillar in our competitive strategy in the sector…It’s something we value as we were missing it in the past but today we are a university campus, we now have our first graduate class and we continue in this vein”.
Arona’s mayor, José Julián Mena, told the conference that the Arona borough, which he has been mayor of for just over year now, was “working to evolve a new tourism strategy. We are about to set up a well-researched marketing plan, and we are here to learn and advance, building a space that promotes social harmony as something attractive for tourists as well as creating a borough that is open and caring for our residents”.
Maria Teresa Lorenzo Rodríguez, the regional minister for tourism, culture and sports, asked if there was a new tourism model for the Canarias. “Our destination is currently highly successful and the data reflects that. We hope to end the year having welcomed 15 million tourists maintaining our position as the leading sun and beach European destination for overnight stays and the leading region in job creation. So, we are content but we know that we need to advance our tourism model, adapting to the demands of the 21st tourist without losing our essence”.
Alberto Bernabé, the Tenerife Cabildo tourism chief, said this was a highly relevant gathering as “you couldn’t consider Tenerife without tourism which has been the headline in the region’s development, our spine, affecting everyone”.
The AECIT president stressed how it was important to “recognise the distinct factors and paradoxes if we wanted to find the correct responses. We are in a world of transparent tourism where the whole world is accessible and we can’t turn our back on that. The digital world brings important changes. Training is an element in our competitivity”, he stressed.
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