“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.

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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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Tradition and innovation, Easter programme

 

The Adeje council will launch their Easter programme on Saturday, March 17th with addresses by the Rev. Ismael Martín and the Director General of the Fedola Group, Maria Victoria López. Mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga commented, “We are changing the presentation somewhat and asking two individuals with very distinct and different social roles, one traditional and one business based, reflecting both sides of our community, both of huge benefit, to speak. So this year Fr. Ismael will represent our traditions and Ms Lopez our international tourism side”

The Adeje municipal patron band will also perform at the event, which will mark the official presentation of the Adeje Easter programme which has some new additions this year. The event will also mark the opening of a special exhibition of photographs detailing the “devotion and history of Easter Week in Adeje”.

On March 16th a new statue will be introduced into the Adeje religious ‘family’, ‘María Santísima del Consuelo’ a work by Francisco Zafra. The statue will be blessed and brought in procession along the Calle Castillo to the Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza hermitage until the Monday March 26th procession.

“Easter week in Adeje is now recognised nationally and internationally as an important event both for the artistic and historic relevance reflected in the different processions and for the Good Friday street theatre, ‘La Pasión’. This year we are adding new elements too to underline the importance of the celebrations”, said the Adeje mayor.

The Adeje council have also, as in last year, organised a gastronomy event linked to Easter Week with the Lenten Tapas Route. Many bars and restaurants have already signed up to take part, most of them located along the route of the most popular Easter processions in the town. There are also prizes for the public who can enter by having the special leaflet, available in participating establishments, stamped and once completed (with four stamps) posted in the special boxes in the Adeje cultural centre, the youth centre or the Costa Adeje Tourism Development Centre (CDTCA). The competition closes on April 1st.

 

 

 

 

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Abinque for Equality Council

On March 9th, at a Gala event in the Costa Adeje Tourism Development Centre (CDTCA), the XV Abinque Adeje Women’s prize will be awarded to the Adeje Equality Council, a collective made up of women representative different sectors and cultures in Adeje working for a fairer and more equal society. With this recognition the council is recognising the work of this collective in raising awareness of inequalities and fighting to defend the right to equal treatment and social justice.

The Adeje mayor, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga said, “the equality council is a body which, in the three years since its creation, has welcomed in people who are working to empower women, to prevent inequalities and to eliminate obstacles that impede the evolution of a real equality between women and men.”

This is the 15th year the Abinque has been awarded. It coincides with events celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8th, and is awarded in recognition of the work and contribution of a woman or group of women to the life and local development of the borough of Adeje. Previous winners have included body board world champion Alexandra Rinder, Walk for Life founder Brigitte Gypen, and many more.

On being told of the news of their award, a council representative said that “this recognition of our work is a sign we are meeting the challenge of creating a visible participatory tool for Adeje women and men with direct relevance to political and social decisions being taken. We hope to become a permanent forum for opinion and social movement, benefiting equality of opportunities between women and men”.

The Gala dinner celebrating the prize will be on the evening of March 9th and tickets are on sale at the Adeje department of equality. The event is open to women and men.

Since its inception in 2015 the Equality Council has been active on many fronts locally, regionally and nationally and involved in organising many events in particular demonstrations against gender violence and using the new memorial Plaza Pedro Zerolo for the purpose of public assemblies in this regard. The body has also been working with education project in school centres in the borough, helping students with issues such as gender violence, bullying, lgbt-phobias, etc.

International Women’s Day Programme of Events
Thursday 1 March
6pm: Cinema and world café. ’50 Primaveras’, Adeje Cultural Centre. No charge.

Friday 2 March
7pm. Inauguration of the Art Collective “Mujeres Adeje-Creative” Exhibition space, Adeje Cultural Centre
8.30pm: Theatre, ‘Raíces Cortadas’, Adeje Cultural Centre, No charge.

Thursday 8 March
International Women’s Day. 12 noon, reading of equality manifesto on the steps of the Town Hall.

Friday 9 March
8pm: XV Gala Dinner and awarding of the Abinque prize, Costa Adeje Tourism Development Centre (CDTCA)

Saturday 10 March
11am. Meeting with representatives from Garachico, Buenavista, Los Silos, guided tour of Adeje town.

Thursday 15 March
Workshop, ‘Tardes para ti’. Adeje Cultural Centre

Friday 16 March
8pm: Cinema, ‘Figuras Ocultas. Adeje Cultural Centre. No charge

Saturday 10 March
Congress of Erotic Literature, with Megan Maxwell, Adeje Cultural Centre

 

 

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Tax freeze and rates drop!

 

House rates will drop this year for home owners in Adeje

Yesterday the Adeje council released details of the 2108 budget with the mayor stating that the council’s main priorities for 2018 would be to continue to make individual care and attention and quality of services priorities. However be said the national ‘law of rationalisation’ was creating problems for the council. Also present at the launch of the budget proposals were the councillors for tax, Epifanio Díaz, and the councillor for works and municipal services, Carmen Rosa González.

Adeje has met all budget targets and aims as outlined by the national ministry for finance and tax, and under the law of rationalisation as applied to local public administrations. The council is, on average, paying providers within 15 days of presenting bills (the national average is 30 days), and is working with a zero deficit.

Under these circumstances the council is able to present an expansive and ambitious programme for the year ahead. However, says mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, “we are restricted from planning to be more ambitious in our borough due to the national law, I am calling it the law of irrationality, it’s tying our hands and not allowing us grow more than 2.3% even though we finished last year with a surplus of €15 million”. He continued, “It is unjust that boroughs that have met all the budgetary conditions laid down are being hindered, and furthermore as a tourist destination we do have to offer increased and improved services and resources”.

In 2018 Adeje has said it will spend €89.5 million with an expected income of €93.6 million, figures similar to the year gone by. Last year’s handling of the public finances saw a continuation of the monetary stability that has meant Adeje is one of the better managed boroughs.

The mayor outlined the four spending areas for the council for the year: consolidate and improve the quality of public services, accounting for 56% of projected costs; attention to social welfare needs and programmes, 13% of the projected cost; training and employment programmes at a projected cost of €5 million; freezing of local taxes and a drop in local rates which will benefit over 60% of the Adeje residential population.

Regarding employment Adeje has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in Spain, with just 7% on the dole. The mayor continues to prioritise training and education as vitally important in tackling unemployment, “helping people, regardless of age or personal characteristics, to improve their job-finding prospects”. This will include language courses, training in IT, etc. Creating more jobs in the tourism sector is also a priority as well as offering those already employed in tourism on-going opportunities to improve their professionalism thus improving the level and quality of service in the sector.

Social projects, attention to health, diversity, education and culture, are also scheduled to receive extra funding. Projects such as that helping children walk safely to school, Adeje’s social harmony programmes, prevention projects in health, services for seniors and improving equality opportunities are an integral part of the plan for 2018.

The council representatives also mentioned the on-going works taking place in the town currently concentrating in improving parking, “one of the major problems that affects our residents”, remarked the mayor. Additionally over €4 million is earmarked for road surfacing throughout the borough, and improving the quality and extent of the water supply will also receive funding during the year.

 

 

 

 

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