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.

Adeje to host CIT Sur Gánigo awards

ADEJE GANIGOS CIT SUR (4)

Adeje’s mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga and CIT Sur vice-president Higinio Guerra announced details of the awards

What have the Adeje Volunteer Firefighters, the beekeepers of Arico, the Bárbara bookshop and the La Barrica restaurant in Vilaflor got in common? They are among the CIT Sur Gánigo prize winners who will receive their award in the Adeje CDTCA (Costa Adeje Centre for Tourism Development) next Friday, October 31st.

The details of the award ceremony, which rotates between the boroughs of the south every year, were announced this morning, Friday October 24th, by the Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga and the CIT Sur vice-president Higinio Guerra. The Gánigo awards are given annually by CIT Sur, the Centro for Tourism Initiatives in South Tenerife, to individual or companies who have contributed in a particular way to the development of South Tenerife and in the areas of tourism and have helped promote the richness and particular nature of this part of the island.

During the conference the mayor paid tribute to the important work of CIT Sur over the years. “They have become a reference point in the tourism sector for their work, their advancement of initiatives and for raising awareness within the sector”, he said. Tourism was, he added, much more than a simple economic reality, it was a cultural reality too and connections within sector were important. The importance of tourism to the island was also underlined by Rodríguez Fraga. “Tourism is the only sector that has ‘behaved itself’ during the current crisis…the only good news during a crisis that has harmed people and businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises”.

The mayor also paid tribute to the work of CIT Sur president Maria Rosales Alonso, who was unable to attend this morning’s conference for personal reasons but who will be present at the award ceremony.

CIT Sur vice president Higinio Guerra said that for CIT Sur the awarding of Gánigos was a source of great satisfaction. “Sometimes they are given to those companies or individuals who might work behind the scenes, but who do an important job”, he added.

The award is based on the ‘ganigo’, a clay vessel, of pre-Hispanic origins, of different dimensions and many forms. The guanches, the Tenerife aborigines, used ganigos for many thing including cooking and storage. CIT Sur has adopted the symbol over the years to symbolise the relevance of the past in the present day Canary Islands.

The prizes are awarded in two distinct groups – by borough and business sector. There are also two extra awards, a ‘special mention’ and an honorary award. For borough awards each of the eight involved councils nominates a winner each year. This year’s borough awards are: Asociación de Bomberos (fire fighters) Voluntarios de Adeje, Asociación de Apicultores (beekeepers) de Arico (ASAPA), Librería Bárbara (Arona), Cándido Pérez García (Granadilla), Radio Isora (Guía de Isora), Reposteras Tradicionales de San Miguel (San Miguel de Abona), Subida a Tamaimo (Santiago del Teide), Restaurante La Barrica (Vilaflor de Chasna).

In the business sector the awards go to Spring Hotels, Linares Tours, Oliver’s Boutique, Teleférico del Teide, and Lorenzo Reverón González. The Guardia Civil are the winners of the special mention and the Tenerife Barmans Association win the honorary award.