Sustainability in a limited space!


Rodríguez Fraga: “Hopefully we will be able to support sustainability, avoid any more pressure in terms of numbers in a limited space and work for a more equitable share-out of the benefits”

Among the important events that Costa Adeje took part in during the Spanish tourism trade fair, Fitur 2018 were diverse meetings and forums with professionals and representatives from the sector. Adeje mayor Jose Miguel Rodríguez Fraga was guest speaker at Fiturtech, organised by the ITH, the hotels technology institute. Also in attendance were the mayors from Spain’s main tourism zones and members of the National Tourism Alliance: Benidorm, Calvía, Lloret de Mar, Arona, San Bartolomé de Tirajana and Torremolinos. The moderator was Juan Molas, president of the ITH.

150 professionals were present at the round-table event, looking at “the differentiation, as a formula, in the repositioning of pioneer destinations”. Rodríguez Fraga used the opportunity to give a rundown of the main actions taken and challenges dealt with by Costa Adeje. One of the areas he gave particular emphasis to was the council’s concerns regarding sustainability, the need to ensure that there is no increase in pressure in what is a limited space and that the benefits accrued from tourism are more equitably distributed. “Adeje generates an important part of the island’s income, contributes to the economy in a major way, but the share-out is not properly reflected”, he said. The mayor says it was of primary importance that the share was more equitable because it is, he stressed, “fundamentally important that in a destination such as ours the local population sees that they benefit from the industry they work in, and do so via better services, higher wages and better working conditions, commitment to training and quality of service”. He added that local administrations “also have to work to ensure that this is the case and in that way more people will want to work in the sector giving of their best and being properly compensated for it”.

Regarding the development within the destination, Rodríguez Fraga was robust in his commitment to sustainability. “In Costa Adeje it is no longer a question of increasing the number of tourists coming here, but of maintaining the numbers while improving the offer and the quality of the destination”. Questioned about the new hotels being built in the borough and the reformation taking place around the destination, he said “in general we are not looking to build new hotels, what we are concentrating on is the modernisation of the existing hotels and the reformation of those that are obsolete. We are doing this hand-in-hand with a business sector that is very committed to this idea of readapting. Furthermore, for us the main objective is to achieve improved profitability, in turn creating more jobs with less pressure on what is a finite space.”

During the forum there was also an important discussion on the presence and role of new technology in the tourism industry and with this in mind Rodríguez Fraga voiced his interest, given that “innovations and the use of new technology can be useful in solving and dealing with problems in the sector, and has a lot to do with the overall sustainability within our offer and the future projects in the borough”.

11.2% of GDP
During the fair, in different debates that took place, one of the constant themes was the issue of legislation and the funding of local administrations in tourism boroughs. In this regard the eight boroughs that make upon the national alliance, with over 400 million overnight stays between them, generate 11.21% of the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product), something that is not reflected in the distribution of funds by, among others, the Finance ministry. The mayor commented, “what concerns us is the fact that superior (national) administrations pass laws and impose regulations from above without taking into account the problems and the solutions that arise and are dealt with at local level often while lacking the proper resources to do so. Rodríguez Fraga, who is also president of the Canarian association of tourism boroughs, agreed that regulation was important but in a reasonable way and with rules and orders that were applicable and apt and that local administrations were given the tools to carry them out. “We are too used to the fact that they regulate too much and contribute too little”:

Department of Communications

Strategy Plan for Sustainable Investment in Adeje

“Our aim is to see the zone as a pioneer in sustainability”

The Adeje council, via the department of municipal works under Councillor Carmen Rosa González Cabrera, says work on the Calles Uruguay and Paraguay should be completed during the first quarter of 2018.

“Under the Strategy Plan for Sustainable Investment, financed 100% by the council, we are upgrading Costa Adeje to meet the demands of residents and tourists. These works, as well as those that are on-going on Calles Panamá and Venezuela, will be part of our overall aim which is to see the zone as pioneer in the areas of sustainability in connectivity and accessibility,” said Councillor Carmen Rosa.

The works will cost in the region of half a million euros and will see new pavements along the streets, the removal of any barriers for wheelchair users with other changes to make mobility easier along the streets in question.

Street lighting is to be improved with use of energy efficient bulbs and new ecologically improved rubbish islands and underground containers in adjacent zones. There will also be new drainage installed, street seating and better signage along the relevant streets.




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Rural women recognition


Adeje is to host the VIII Tenerife Rural Women’s meeting on October 13th in the Adeje CDTCA (Costa Adeje Centre for Tourism Development). Starting at 10am the event will be presented by the councillors for the environment Esther Rivero Vargas and the councillor for equality Carmen Lucía Rodríguez del Toro.

“We are underlining the valuable contribution women are making in farming and rural work, not an easy choice, and it is precisely with them in mind that we celebrate International Rural Women’s Day, which is every October 15th, as agreed unanimously at the last council meeting”, said the councillors.


“These days it is increasingly common to see women leading the farm decision making and work, and between 20-30 % of agricultural concerns are headed up by women.
Given this data, it is only correct that the work of these women, who are playing a fundamental role in sustainability in our society, is recognised, as they are also making progress in a sector that traditionally treated women unequally.”

In the Canaries the Rural Development Programme (2014-2020) gives special attention to women in farms and the island have also introduced ‘Reticom’, a shared ownership registry which gives women shared rights and grants in the farm. Both of these initiatives are working to promote business women and equality in agricultural settings.

The event is directed in particular at rural women based in South Tenerife. Anyone interested in taking part can sign up by phoning the Agricultural section in Guía de Isora (922 447 925). The conference will include talks from experts in the field, tastings, a declaration for International Rural Women’s Day and a visit to an Adeje diary..

Tourists and Urban Waste – a rubbish conundrum?

urban waste kick off

This week the first meeting of a project known as UrBan Waste is taking place here in Adeje. Rubbish might sound like a boring subject for a European conference, but when you consider that globally the tourism industry is responsible for the production of 35 million tonnes of solid waste annually, the need for new flexible rubbish reuse and recycling strategies in tourist destinations makes sense.

The UrBan Waste project will be co-ordinated by the Canarian Government and has a number of pilot urban and semi-urban areas around Europe taking part. They includes Adeje, Arona and Puerto de la Cruz. Other destinations involved include Copenhagen in Denmark, Dubrovnik Neretva in Croatia, Kavala in Greece, Nice (France), Lisbon in Portugal, Nicosia in Cyprus and Syracuse in Italy. The destinations have been chosen as much for their tourist relevance as their variety so that strategies and policies that emerge as successful from the pilot projects can be applied on a much wider scale.

Up to now, in general, towns tended to design urban waste systems with the resident population as the important factor – but this project wants to change that in areas where the visitor influxes can see local populations increase by anything from two to 10 times the resident number. Among the aims would be the reduction of solid waste generated by tourists by up to 40% by 2022 and by 80% by 2030 while in parallel increasing the amount of tourist-generated waste recycled by up to 50% in 2022 and by 80% in 2030.

At the ‘kick off’ meeting in the FIT (Factory for Tourism Innovation) today the Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga said that Adeje was already working in the field of waste treatment with sustainable projects, “in particular in tourist areas, and we will continue to work along these lines and improve in terms of sustainability and environmental care because we are well aware that recycling, reuse and the reduction of waste are fundamental in the evolution of a modern society”.

The project planners are promoting Urban Metabolism as a form model, an integrated platform that examines material and energy flows shaped by social, economic and environmental forces. The model will be used to quantify the impact of tourism on the metabolic cost for towns and cities, and also for the development of waste prevention and management strategies. The direction will be to redefine waste as a resource, which will also mean a shift in economic focuses with the creation of ‘green’ job opportunities.

There are many factors to be taken into consideration in the study and subsequent policies that will be developed out of this project. Important too is that while a tourist zone can develop a local strategy for reducing waste production and education of the resident population on the benefits of reuse and recycling, tourists arrive from different countries and cultures with other customs and habits. They are here for a short stay so there needs to be flexible policies in place to encourage them to care for their holiday resort too. Take into consideration the fact that statistically every tourist generates twice as much solid waste as a resident, and the problem is apparent.

Who knew there was so much to consider in rubbish – but what we do know, those of us who live here, is that this is a relatively small island, with limited land mass, so alternatives to dumping and rubbish storage need to be found and supported.