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”.

 

Why being competitive matters!

 

Spanish minister visits South Tenerife

Spain’s tourism minister was in South Tenerife today and met with the mayors of the Canarian Tourism Boroughs Association (AMTC) who impressed on her the need to improve funding to aid in upgrading many aspects of the sector.

Reyes Maroto met with the mayors who are part of the AMTC who outlined the realities of the sector to her during her working visit, as well as the challenges and objectives for the top line Canarian destinations in the coming years to ensure they remain competitive.

José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, president of the AMTC; and José Julián Mena, Arona mayor, welcomed the minister to the Arona Gran Hotel on behalf of the association. Also present were Marco Aurelio Pérez, mayor of San Bartolomé, Onalia Bueno, mayor of Mogán, and Pedro Martín, mayor of Guía de Isora. The minister was accompanied by regional government representative Elena Máñez and the director general of Turespaña, Héctor Gómez. During the morning the minister visited different parts of the zone.

 

Commenting on the visit, Rodríguez Fraga said, “it would seem that, at last, Madrid is realising the value of tourism in the Canarias and what we, the main tourism boroughs, contribute to the Spanish economy and society”. There was reference to the national budget allocation to the region- 1% – regardless of the fact that these tourism boroughs contribute 30% of the Canarian GDP and 6% at national level. The association continues to press for the national government to change the manner of costing and finance to reflect the contribution made by the member boroughs. This is in light of the fact that funding is allocated from central government based on the numbers of residents registered even though in many of the tourism boroughs the actual numbers of people living and staying there and using municipal services is far in excess of the resident register numbers. This inconsistency can affect important bodies too like regional police and other security details.

There was a question as to whether the PITCAN, a Canarian tourism infrastructure plan involving regional and national administrations, should be reactivated,

Other matters discussed included the need for tourism boroughs to be at the vanguard of digitial innovations – “5G is the future and we need to improve our digital connectivity” – said the mayor of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. “If we want to remain competitive and ahead of our rivals, the digital agenda has to be addressed”.

Pedro Martín and Onalia Bueno outlined to the minister the importance of a transversal axis of administrations and other bodies. “Tourism is more than promotion. It brings a series of needs and realities together that need to be managed, issues of quality and good service, caring for those who live here as well as those who visit and use the local services and infrastructure”.

Department of Communications