Tourism – an opportunity, not a threat!

Adeje and Adeje call for tourism boroughs to be covered by statue and to be properly financed

The necessity for proper legal cover or statute for tourism boroughs, recognising their specific singularities, was part of the intervention today in the Madrid Fitur tourism trade fair by both the mayors of Adeje and Arona, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga and José Julián Mena, when they met the national minister for tourism, Reyes Maroto.

The mayors were taking part in the official presentation of the new Spanish alliance for tourism ‘sun and beach’ boroughs, bringing together eight destinations with shared characteristics. The alliance is calling for their boroughs to be covered by a specific statute with separate financing to allow for proper infrastructures and would allow local authorities offer adequate services for the thousands of tourists who visit annually, and without which residents are likely to suffer more. This would maintain the optimistic perception of tourism as an opportunity rather than a threat.

The alliance members, between them, represent 65 million overnight stays in Spain a year, 20% of the national tourism total. As well as Adeje and Arona, San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Salou, Calviá, Benidorm, Lloret de Mar and Torremolinos make up the membership. During the meeting Rodríguez Fraga called for a proper definition of a tourism borough. He said that such a definition would also refer to the necessities of such boroughs, “including the needs of our residents as well as the thousands of tourists who visit us on daily basis”.

Adeje, for instance, has a registered population of about 50 thousand residents, but on any given day of the year there may be up to 150 thousand people staying in the borough, which means a need for adequate security, “sanitation, services on beaches, in public centres and zones, on our streets and meeting health requirements”, said the Adeje mayor.

Arona’s mayor did have words of welcome for the willingness the minister for tourism seemed to be showing in her relatively brief time in the job so far, “visiting Arona and the south of Tenerife to take stock of the necessities and needs”. He said all of the boroughs in the new alliance shared some characteristics, and all were relying on resources allocated to a medium sized population, but providing resources and infrastructures for thousands more people all year round. In the case of Arona, he said, with a population of just over 100 thousand residents, the council needed to provide infrastructure and services for up to 1.5 million visitors a year, a situation which needed to be properly and adequately financed.

José Julián Mena also outlined the importance these boroughs have for the state of the Spanish economy, so it was only fair that “they could count upon investment and funding to ensure the destinations could continue to be a source of wealth creation, sustainable and competitive, and that tourism wouldn’t stop being been seen by our resident populations as a source of progress and opportunity, rather than a threat”. He added, “if these tourism destinations and boroughs are working well it benefits the Canaries and Spain”.

 

Culture, leisure and sustainability will be the priorities during Fitur

 

 

With Costa Adeje now accredited as one of the best sun and beach destinations in Europe and one of the most important globally, the authorities look for a different promotional platform annually for the trip to Fitur, the Spanish international tourism fair which is taking place in Madrid next week. This year the tourism department have planned a series of events that will promote the culture and heritage of the destination, and not just those organised by the council, but including private initiatives and events which add to the richness of the Costa Adeje cultural menu.

At the press conference this morning given by the Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, the tourism councillor Ermitas Moreira and the cultural councillor Adolfo Alonso, the rich and diverse cultural offerings Costa Adeje has to offer were highlighted as well as the importance of the ‘triple axis’ of sustainability – environmental, social and economic.

The tourism councillor said that “Tenerife Tourism have developed a working guide that, as always, we are following in conjunction with them, to emphasis the value of our cultural offering, one of the most diverse and complete the island has to offer, and to which we can add our patrimony through our traditional fiestas and celebrations”.

Adeje have been happy too with the success of Happy Streets, “360 degrees of fun”, which was presented to the public at last year’s Fitur and has seen the development of many leisure and entertainment activities. This year the council will also be presenting news about two concerts, that of Il Divo, and a Tenerife Symphony Orchestra concert in Adeje with two world-class tenors Celso Albelo and Javier Camarena. Visitors to the trade fair will also be receiving information about the III Tenerife Fashion Beach, the National Leisure Conference scheduled for later this year, and the International Adeje Rally, all promoting the Costa Adeje destination.

For his part the mayor will also be attending the national launch of the new alliance between ‘Sun and Beach Boroughs’, meeting with the national minister for tourism Reyes Maroto, and, in his role as president of the Association of Canarian Tourism Boroughs, participating in a number of different forums and meetings including Foro Fiturtech, which is looking at the personalisation of service to the tourist, creating a unique experience for each and every visitor.

The awarding, by the national ministry for the economy and the EU, of funding for Adeje under the Intelligent Tourism Destination label is also part of the short-term planning for the destination and will be important in finding out the environmental realities and contaminants of the zone in order to increase efficiency and effectiveness in local public services, not just to benefit tourism, but also to improve the quality of life for residents. The money will also be used to optimise and improve resources among other things.

“We are also planning to create a map of our contaminated emissions, throughout the borough, to develop concrete actions to counter these pollutants”, said the mayor, adding that the council was actively working on a number of projects to reduce the borough’s carbon footprint.

The Adeje delegation will be taking part in over 30 different events and presentations throughout the trade fair, which runs from Tuesday January 22nd to Sunday January 27th.

 

 

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Swedish universities in Adeje for international get-together

SEPIE is the Spanish body in charge of international education in Spain, and overseeing the European Erasmus programme, and in that regard have organised an international university exchange event which is taking place in Adeje this week, with representatives from 9 Swedish and 19 Spanish universities. Tenerife’s University of La Laguna (ULL) are the local managers of this event.
At the inauguration of the event Carmen Rubio, the ULL vice-rector for internationalisation thanked SEPIE for the confidence they had placed in the ULL as the organisers and explained that the aim was to facilitate contact between the different Swedish and Spanish universities and establish links for future co-operation which would in lead to partnerships that would benefit students offering exchanges and academic investigative programmes.


Also speaking the inauguration Adeje mayor Jose Miguel Rodríguez Fraga underlined the commitment the borough has to further education as he and the council firmly believe education is an essential tool in the development, and Adeje, he mentioned, was also a reflection of our world internationally with over 120 different nationalities in residence here.
UUL rector Antonio Martinón, the regional government’s deputy minister for education and universities David Pérez-Dionis, and Daniel Edquist, from the Swedish department of education also addressed the opening event.
The Swedish universities taking part are Dalarna, Karlstad, Linnaeus, Malmö, Halmstad, Örebro and Kristianstad, as well as the Blekinge Institute of Technology and the Swedish department of higher education. From Spain there are representatives from the universities of La Laguna, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Sevilla, Nebrija, Vic, Jaén, Rey Juan Carlos, Vigo, Internacional de Catalunya, Navarra, León, Católica de Murcia, Málaga, Murcia, Santiago de Compostela, Ramón Llull, Pública de Navarra, ESIC Bussiness & Marketing School and SEPIE.

 

 

 

“Register, register, register”; words of advice from British Ambassador Simon Manley

British Ambassador meets Tenerife south mayors and British public

 (Photo Credits: Luz Sosa)

The UK Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, was in Arona yesterday to address a public meeting on Brexit matters affecting British residents. The ambassador said the timing was opportune, given the fact that the British prime minister Theresa May had finalised a deal, approved by the EU 27, on the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. Manley also met with a group of Tenerife South mayors and councillors, and local business representatives, in advance of the public meeting, to talk to them about issues of relevance to them, considering the many thousands of Britons who live in their boroughs.

The Ambassador is in the Canary Islands for four days, visiting five islands, and yesterday morning also met the head of the Canarian government, and representatives of the Embassy’s social partners. Accompanying the mayor was the Consul for the South of Spain and the Canaries, Charmaine Arbouin, vice consul Helen Keating, and the consular staff who deal with British residents here on a daily basis.

During the public meeting the Ambassador sought to allay any worries people have about changes in status, pensions, and workers and business owners rights here in the Canary Islands. “Register, register, register” was Manley’s repeated call to residents, not just on the ‘padrón’ in local councils, but with the national police/foreigners office, adding that they were aware that the official numbers of Britons living in Spain didn’t reflect the reality. He told them that if they were registered as residents; “what the withdrawal treaty does, once it is ratified by the British Parliament and the European Parliament, is to put the guarantees set out in that treaty, your current rights as citizens here will then be embodied in international law. There can be no firmer basis for the protection of your rights…enabling you and your families to continue to live here in the manner in which you have lived here hitherto”.

One of the matters the Ambassador raised speaking to the mayors and authorities earlier, including the Arona mayor, José Julian Mena, Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga and councillors Carmen Rosa González Cabrera, Ermitas Moreira García and Zebenzui Chinea Linares (Adeje) and David Perez (Arona), was the right to vote in local elections. While it is one of the few rights not currently guaranteed under the withdrawal treaty the Ambassador said talks with Spanish authorities were on-going and they hoped that UK citizens in Spain would be able to continue to participate in local politics here both as voters and candidates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘before and after’ of luxury tourism in Adeje

Gold medal presentation for Hotel Bahía del Duque

José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga: “This hotel opening signified a ‘before and after’ in the tourism model here and in the rest of the island”

The Adeje council, following a unanimous vote, this Tuesday awarded the borough’s Gold Medal to the Hotel Bahía del Duque, celebrating 25 years since it opened in 1993. The presentation was made by Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga and accepted on behalf of the hotel by the president of the group, Francisco Javier Zamorano. Also present were the current director of the hotel Cristina de Juan and the seven workers who have been with the hotel since it first opened its doors.

The hotel was built in 1993 and that decision to construct a 5-star luxury hotel, in what was a period of economic uncertainty in the region, was seen as a brave one, a risk but one that marked a confidence in the tourism sector in Adeje and in the islands in general.

The mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, on presenting the award, said that the hotel’s construction and philosophy marked a ‘before and after’, “not just for our borough but for the sector as a whole because it was our entry into the top level of tourism, the introduction of a new brand where the main goal was quality, something we have striven for in the 25 years since”. He also congratulated all the workers who have, over the years, contributed to the success of the hotel as well as the directors and owners, “who have consistently worked to introduce new tourism concepts, and created a school for staff training…to work in the Bahía del Duque has always been seen within the sector as a mark of professionalism and ensuring things are properly done”.

The president of the group said it was an honour for the hotel to receive the award. “When we began 25 years ago the idea was to create a destination which would stand out for its qualities of excellence and after a lot of work, dedication and perseverance, we have created a product that is synonymous with luxury, quality and personalisation in a unique setting without losing those traditional values that make us different. Thanks too to the institutions and public administrations such as the Adeje council who have supported us in every way possible”.

The hotel, designed by architect Andrés Piñeiro, opened with 346 rooms, 57 of those were suites, and 40 villas, and was an excellent reflection of Canarian architecture. It is acknowledged as the first luxury hotel to open in the Canary Islands and was also innovative in offering private villas with personalised steward services, as well as hotel rooms.

With 600 employees it boasts 5 pools, squash, padel and tennis courts, gyms, a lake, the Bahía Wellness Retreat and a biosphere with 63,000m2 of tropical and subtropical vegetation. From its inception it was seen as force to improve the local economy in the south of the island, and over the years has become an excellent resource for employment given the on-going staff training. And since 1993 many other hotels have copied the style to enhance the luxury offer in the south.

The Bahía del Duque is, today, a recognised standard bearer for good practise in the luxury hotel industry and experts have consistently named it as one of the best establishments of its kind in Europe. It has also won numerous prizes over the years, including the Conde Nast Johansen best hotel in the world in 2011, with various of the different installations also being recognised internationally for their quality.

 

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The ‘Kellys’ hold their first conference in Adeje; call for conciliation

 

The Kellys is a national Spanish union of hotel cleaners

Today Adeje hosted the first ever Kellys Union Tenerife Congress, organised with the support of the Adeje Council. The goal of the conference was, according to the Union’s founder Eulalia Corralero, to “create a space for conciliation”, and to strengthen the collective, which has only been in existence for a short number of years. (The name ‘Kellys’ is a play on words on ‘those who clean – que limpian’).

Representatives from all parts Spain were in attendance, as well as the president of the Tenerife branch, Mónica Garcia, the Cabildo councillor for equality, Estafanía Castro and the Adeje mayor, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga. The founder explained that the movement started four years ago with a Facebook group, and has grown since then, and the (mostly) women are fighting to ensure that, despite changes in employment law and hotel practises, often outsourcing cleaning services, their rights are protected.

Estefanía Castro said “it is no accident that the first conference in Spain is being held in Adeje, given the commitment this council and the mayor has always had for the more vulnerable. This conference is not looking for confrontation but for conciliation as the founder has stressed. The position of chambermaids has been intolerable in the past but thanks to the Kellys their struggle is now visible”.

The mayor of Adeje welcomed the delegates and underlined the importance of their work in building the society we enjoy today, “women workers who have, over the years, sacrificed a lot, silence and invisible in helping to create a healthy tourism industry in Spain. Sometimes we forget that the construction of a country depends on many more people than simply intellectuals and business leaders”.

The Adeje major commented that “if tourism isn’t working to improve the lives of those who live here we’re not doing things properly, tourism has to create wealth but that has to reach all the sectors of the population to allow us live in a society that is more just and equal.” He pledged that the council would be with the Kellys in their judicial fight for better work conditions, saying that exploitative practises harmed tourism destinations.

 

 

 

 

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Let the fiestas begin!

The `descent`of the Virgin Mary and the Agoney concert are the headline acts in the first week of the Adeje fiestas

Adeje’s Patronal Fiestas in honour of ‘la Virgen de la Encarnación and Santa Úrsula’ have officially begun with the presentation last Friday of the representatives of the borough’s different neighbourhoods. Present were Adeje mayor, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, the parish priest Honorio Campos Gutiérrez and the town’s cultural councillor Adolfo Alonso.

Activities began in earnest t with the traditional ‘descent’ of the statue of the Santa Úrsula church’s Virgin Mary from the high alter, and end with the ‘romería’ (pilgrim parade) on October 21st. The mayor said, “this is a time to remember who we are, and what is important in our lives, and to share what we have with others”. He added that Adeje has been paying homage to the figure of the ‘Virgen de La Encarnación’ for over 300 years , when she was deemed to have saved the area from a plague of locusts.

The seven representatives of the different neighbourhoods of Adeje were also presented during the morning. The mayor explained to the press in attendance that, unlike many other towns, Adeje does not elect a festival queen but instead invites representatives from every neighbourhood to take part, together, in all the of the patronal events. In this way all parts of the borough are present throughout the celebrations.

This year’s representatives are Yuliza Chinea (Las Nieves), Daniela Casanova Vargas (Tijoco – La Hoya), Valeria Hernández Caballero (Los Olivos), Gara Negrín Díaz (Armeñime), Teresa García Acosta (La Caleta), Ana Andrea Pérez Esquivel (Fañabé), Thalía Martín González (Adeje Casco) and Sara Hernández Hernández, who will represent Adeje at the Miss Sur competition.

Summer University inauguration

 

Journalist Paloma del Río opened the university week with a speech on sexism in sport

 

The 26th Adeje Summer University was inaugurated at noon today in a ceremony in the Adeje Convent. The Adeje mayor, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, praised the continuance of the summer school adding “we are meeting a real need, dealing with subjects that matter to the population as a whole”

The mayor said that educational institutions were there to deal with issues of common interest and this initiative had allowed Adeje to open new academic connections, which had led to the creation of a university campus here in the south of Tenerife, where today a full Tourism degree was now on offer. Third level education is a priority, he said, in particular in a tourism borough where, in the past, young people had left school to work without finishing their education, with the growth of the hotel and holiday sectors, and resultant jobs.

The vice-rector of the University of La Laguna (ULL) Francisco García, said the courses this year would offer “a feast of knowledge” starting next Monday, with 10 courses and 14 workshops in modular and flexible formats to meet the needs of today’s student as well as an international investigative congress. He also referred to the wide range of parallel cultural activities scheduled, with concerts, book launches, live radio programmes, etc. And with over 700 students already signed up, it shows “that those who will attend next week are not just looking for university credits but also reflect a thirst for information and education in many different disciplines”.

The ULL rector, Antonio Martinón, thanked Adeje for helping “the ULL complete one of its missions – the extending of knowledge into our society in general”. He also told those in attendance that tomorrow (Saturday July 21st) they would also be celebrating the graduation of the third Tourism degree class in South Tenerife, in Adeje, and from the next academic year a number of related post-graduate courses would also be on offer here. He made special reference to the Adeje mayor’s commitment to education, “it is a pleasure to see a politician defending such a basic need as education today”.

Women and sport
The Spanish television journalist Paloma del Río delivered the university inaugural address, and introducing her to the audience, Adeje sports councillor Adolfo Alonso said she was “an inspiration for hundreds and hundreds of people who have decided to take up journalism”. Del Río started her talk referring to the two things that had to be eliminated from sports – sexism and the invisibility (of the importance of female athletes). “We are all responsible for the current situation – from communication media to politicians and business leaders”, she said.

Too often, she said, the media forgets that there are women in sport, or talks about them in terms of their marital and maternal status, their figure or physical aspect, their personal lives, their appearance, something that is much rarer when they are discussing male athletes. Women are given ‘cute’ titles, or nicknames, while their male counterparts will often be labelled as superheroes. Del Río said that there were some sports federations now beginning to address the matter, but taking ‘timid steps’ still.

“Journalists continue to treat female sport as a ‘slave’ to male sports”, she argued, where even today you will find the success of a female athlete attributed to her adopting male physical attributes, for instance. “This kind of sexism is unacceptable in the 21st century”, she said”, “and the media are still a long way away from properly recognising the achievements of women in all aspects of life”. If the presence of women in politics or the economy or health circles is minimum, “in sport it is practically invisible” Del Río pointed out.

This is not just a Spanish problem but similar at international level, with the sexualisation of photographing female athletes, concentrating on their looks before their sporting successes. “Sporting journalism is still a man’s world, for male consumers” she stated, though she did notice that women athletes are using social media to work to shift the balance on their own behalf. She also praised the Adeje Summer University for including a course on sports journalism this year,

 

Making life easier

 

The town’s plans include four separate car-parks adding 1,000 parking spaces for the public

Yesterday the Adeje Mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, alongside Carmen Rosa González Cabrera, councillor for Works and services, and Román García Higuera, town technician, presented the plans to the press in the soon-to-be opened town centre car park beside the old Fort House. Over 18 million euros are earmarked for the series of works that will see over 1,000 new parking spaces in the town as well as the upgrade of a number of roads and pedestrian zones.

The mayor said, “With these plans we are meeting some of the main demands of the people of the borough. We have also tried to execute the work in a manner that causes least disruption to the daily lives of our residents and town visitors. In the council’s strategic mobility plan we have established quite clearly that people take precedence over traffic and that’s why in the constructions planned we have also included public spaces, bicycle lanes, green zones etc. We are working to meet our vision of the future for Adeje”, he said. The mayor added that the financing of the projects was possible given that the council had met all of national budgetary requirements.

Carmen Rosa González Cabrera said that the car-parks would be open structures, and “designed with the public in mind, all designed with a plaza at street level, with child-friendly zones and in the case of Los Olivos a sport zone. The objective was also not simply to increase parking spaces for residents but to make shopping, working, or making business calls easier to carry out. The design criteria mean that the car-parks are user-friendly, using the latest technology, sustainable energies, with light sensors, places for cars for those with reduced mobility, and charging stations for electric cars. We have worked to ensure that every euro spent will play a part in improving the quality of life or out residents”.

In the Fort House zone the car-park is almost finished. At a cost of nearly €3 million and financed by the council, there will be 200 new public parking spaces for this part of town. The car park will be managed by a new company created for the purpose and to create jobs for those on the margins of social exclusion/long-term unemployed. The car-park’s technical planning will be similar in the other car-parks being built in Los Olivos (already underway), Plaza del Emigrante (behind the Town Hall) and La Postura.

Putting the needs of the people first is also part of the planning of other major road works in the borough, in particular the new avenue that will access Costa Adeje from the TF1 motorway, specifically from the Fañabe local police station down to the Melía Jardines del Teide hotel roundabout. This work will be carried out in conjunction with the Cabildo, and as well as a much-improved road will include a major pedestrian zone and a bicycle lane (from La Caleta to the roundabout at the Mencey Tinerfe el Grande hotel), green zones and improved drainage.

This work will cost in the region of €5 million with the council contributing over 70% of the cost. This is also part of the long-standing vision of the Adeje mayor to improve links between the tourist zone of Costa Adeje and the town, while maintaining the particular characteristics and identity of each. It is hoped this work will be finished by the end of the year.

Both the mayor and the councillor added that there are other works for neighbourhood improvements in the pipeline and hope to announce details soon with re-paving having already commenced in Costa Adeje.

Department of Communications

Supply and demand in a tourist town!

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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Department of Communications