The AMTC says there is a lack of proper dialogue
The mayors of the five member boroughs of the AMTC (Association of Canarian Tourism Municipalities) and the mayor of Pájara (pending membership) took part in a round table discussion yesterday at the ‘Futurismo Canarian 2018’ conference in Arona. Also at the table were the Cabildo president and the regional deputy tourism minister. Discussion focussed on challenges and opportunities for Canarian tourism boroughs the participants examined relevant data from each area and spoke of the “definition of a development model for such an important sector in the archipelago”.
Adeje, Arona, Guía de Isora, San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Mogán and Pájara between them earn 30% of the GDP derived from tourism, and more in secondary income, as Arona mayor José JulianMena explained. “We welcome 7.8 million tourists annually…over 65 million overnights making us a very important tourism resource at European level”. He continued, “the monies we receive for public infrastructure is not in any way equal…the historical investment deficit and bad planning is generating serious problems in mobility and in the end we will lose the competitive edge…we cannot continue patching up the problems such as the south motorway, the secondary roads, the airport or the Los Cristianos port”, he insisted.
During the morning the presidents of the association, and Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, alongside the other mayors, detailed actions they are taking as the AMTC, including the preparation of a detailed response to the proposed decree on holiday rentals. Fraga said “we believe there are some contradictions in the proposed decree and we have to be heard on this sensitive matter. We will insist on regulations that are intelligently designed to deal with the problem and turn it into an opportunity”. They will be looking for meetings with the regional government to talk about the law dealing with the coordination of local police forces and other matters which directly affect their borough members.
The mayors also reiterated that among the principal difficulties identified in tourism destinations are mobility, sustainability, necessary language training, financing adapted to the boroughs and investment in public infrastructures.
The mayor of Pájara, Rafael Perdomo spoke of the main problems his borough is facing; “The transformation of an older destination into one that is competitive on its own merits, not due to problems with other destinations, and improvements in public infrastructures”. He also emphasised the value of an organisation such as this one.
Cabildo president Carlos Alonso said he was still unsure as to the exact role of the AMTC as “they haven’t explained it to us”, but said he was happy to advance dialogue between tourism boroughs. The merit of dialogue was agreed by all present. Onalia Bueno, mayor of Mogán, said “we are the most important boroughs from a tourism point of view in the Canarias and we have to be listened to and acknowledged by Cabildos, the regional government, nationally and at European level because we firmly believe we have to have an active role in the decisions which affect the sector”.
Adeje mayor added “there is a lack of real dialogue, where we are being listened to, we have particular issues which need to be resolved…”, stating that tourism and the benefits that arise from the sector need to be seen to benefit the people involved and improve the quality of life of those in the sector.
The Playa del Duque Norte beach in El Beril, Costa Adeje, reopened today after an extensive reformation project costing in the region of two million euros, paid for by CIO, the Compania de las Islas Occidentals. The new beach has a longitude of 400 metres of brown sand, sea access for bathers with special mobility needs and new shower and shade zones. Alongside the existing beach area this strand now stretches for 1.3 kilometres.
The new beach concession is held by Sociedad Urbanizadora El Beril S.A. The inauguration of the new beach area was attended by the provincial government sub-delegate Guillermo Díaz Guerra, the Tenerife Cabildo president Carlos Alonso, the regional deputy minister for tourism, Cristóbal de la Rosa, the provincial coasts department head José Manuel Fojo Barroso, the Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, Adeje councillor for urbanism Ermitas Moreira, Uberto Rodríguez, urban technician, and the president of CIO, Francisco Javier Zamorano.
Guillermo Díaz Guerra welcomed the “effort made by the CIP” on this important part of the zone, one that also creates jobs locally. Cabildo president Carlos Alonso said, “The opening of the Bahía del Duque marked a change in the focus of development of the tourism model here in Tenerife. The Adeje council have also worked to consolidate the tourism development model which we see the fruit of today, with a new beach and hotels undergoing renovation, allowing the destination to remain competitive thanks to the quality on offer, which in turns works to reinforce client loyalty, all done within sustainable criteria”.
Cristóbal De la Rosa assured that “this kind of initiative improves the quality of the tourism offer as much for visitors as residents. And thanks to the cooperation between private and public bodies we can ensure that this part of the coast is also more accessible to more people”.
The Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga explained that “we have incorporated new infrastructures during a process of renovation and reinvestment to work to maintain our position as a leading destination and improve the beach for the residents of Adeje as well as our visitors. The success of the project shows, yet again, what can be achieved when public and private bodies work together”.
According to Zamorano, “the Playa del Duque Norte meets the needs of the residents and visitors for a larger beach with excellent services and comfort levels. The new beach contributes to the improving destination and gives added value to the zone and Adeje in general. For CIO this is another chapter in our commitment to continue to invest in the development of a top quality tourism resort. Furthermore the fact that this is happening when we are also celebrating the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Hotel Bahía del Duque is a great source of pride”.
The reformation project followed lines of sustainable development and environmental protection taking care to reserve the dikes that continue to protect the zone. There are now also three distinct access lines to the beach for special needs beach visitors and bathers with pathways connecting to the sea. A series of palm trees have also been planted to add extra natural shade to parts of the beach.
Showers and foot rinse zones are now installed at each beach entrance/exit point, there are wooden walkways and recycling rubbish bins. There is also a sun bathing zone with shade and showers for those with mobility challenges. The beach has a lifeguard service, sunbeds and parasols..
King Felipe VI lauds Adeje, Arona and San Bartolomé de Tirajana as excellent examples in the renovation of Spanish tourism
Spain’s King Felipe VI spoke at the Maspalomas International Tourism Forum yesterday (Thursday Dec 14th) and made particular mention of the work of the tourism destinations that are members of the AMT, the Canarian association of tourism boroughs.
His majesty singled out the work carried out by Arona, Adeje and San Bartolomé de Tirajana as excellent examples of how renovation works within the tourism industry. He also met with mayors of the AMT member boroughs and those of Guía de Isora and Mogan.
“Three Canarian boroughs are among the top eight in Spain for overnight tourism stays”, the King told the forum. “These are older destinations how have worked hard to meet the renovation challenge”, he added. Also present were mayors from the member boroughs of the Tourism Sun and Beach Alliance, Salou and Benidorm, an alliance to which Arona, Adeje and San Bartolomé de Tirajana also belong. Among other topics, those in attendance discussed collaborative projects that they are preparing for the next Spanish tourism trade fair, Fitur.
Representing the Canarian boroughs were mayors, José Julián Mena, (Arona), José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga (Adeje) and Marco Aurelio Pérez, (San Bartolomé de Tirajana) as well as tourism councillors from Guía de Isora, Arona, Adeje,, and San Bartolomé de Tirajana,.
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In a recent interview with Diario de Avisos newspaper, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, Adeje’s mayor, spoke of the changes he has seen in his many years in public service and how tourism has led to unprecedented growth in South Tenerife. “The southern boroughs are beginning to get some recognition – late though that is. However no-one could have foreseen the changes that tourism would bring to the south. And this part of the island has been neglected in three particular areas which now cause huge problems: connectivity, with the problems with Tenerife South airport; mobility, affecting roads and motorways; and health with the on-going demand for a fully functional public hospital in the south to meet the needs of the local population.
“We have other issues, such as water and water treatment and matters that we, as councils, are resolving bit by bit. But in the other regard we are not simply talking about problems that affect South Tenerife. These are Tenerife’s problems, the Canarias’ problems because we are part of a bigger whole. So solving these problems is solving them for everyone. Connectivity, mobility, health care”.
The mayor stated that all three of these mentioned problems indicate a serious lack of planning and that the development of the affected boroughs and areas hasn’t received the kind of attention it merited and merits. “We are operating with a distinct kind of situation whereby we have to be able to provide services to numbers of residents much greater that those who figure on the census. In the case of Adeje, for example, at times we have four times the registered number of inhabitants (due to tourism) and those numbers need to be reflected when it comes to allocating budgets and financial aid nationally, as we are working to meet the needs of up to 200,000 persons who also generate waste materials, need services and have specific and concrete demands”.
On the issue of the airport, and following the 8-hour closure earlier in the year due to a burst airplane wheel, he pointed out, “I am confident that together with the Tenerife Cabildo, the regional government and the other affected council, we can go hand in hand to the national government to state our case. It’s not about nice words nor is it enough to solely consider this worthy of attention when there is a problem. Those of us who rely upon the tourism sector know the urgent need for some solution to this problem, and have been aware of this for many years. A new runway and terminal have to be priorities. At the moment there is no ‘Plan B’ if something happens to close the runway. The airport would have to close causing incalculable damage to the destination. Those thousands who do come here already have to leave their hotels up to five hours before their flight to ensure they arrive on time, given the traffic jams on the motorway. Then they are asked to wait for their flights in a terminal that is not built to deal with to cater for the numbers of passengers who use it daily.”
The mayor was asked to consider the unprecedented transformation of Adeje given the growth of tourism in the region. And given recent protests in certain tourist destinations in Spain it was of interest that he pointed out the council had and continues to hold in equal part the importance of the quality of life of the resident of Adeje as well as that of the tourist. “Many people are involved here, from the companies who chose Adeje as a destination, to the residents of the borough who have worked to adapt and accept the phenomenon of tourism. And from the council we have worked to adjust to ensure that things work in harmony, from meeting the needs of tour operators to the daily needs of our residents, who are so important as we are generating a wealth that is directed towards our people. I do think we have been successful in this regard and we will continue along these lines”.
The mayor also made specific reference to the work done to increase the advantages tourism brings to a local populace, while at the same time protecting the natural environment and the things that mark Adeje out as different. “From the start our principal has been that the resources that have generated such high levels of tourism have to been maintained, looked after. We are also creating employment, generating wealth in emerging subsectors and seeing new job creation opportunities created. We have a low unemployment level (7%) and are a source of employment for many from all over the island and beyond. However we will continue to work to ensure that the distribution of the benefits of tourism is widespread”. The council has worked with the University of La Laguna, for instance, to develop the third level Tourism Degree (two graduating classes to date). “In the coming years we want to encourage more training and specialisation and create more and better opportunities for everyone”, the mayor continued. “Given this economic resource we can create new social opportunities, improve our cultural offer, move ahead in projects that promote social harmony and integration as well as encourage sustainable development on all fronts”.
Today, Friday July 14th, Adeje celebrated the official inauguration of the 25th Summer University, a joint initiative of the Adeje council and the University of La Laguna (ULL). Given the anniversary it was, in the words of the Adeje mayor, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, an “historic moment” in the borough’s history.
“Today we recognise that that the Adeje Summer University has been one of the backbones of what is the south of the island today”, given the development of what he referred to as intelligent tourism. He commented on the fact that the university had continued even during the years of the economic crisis and today was as much in demand as ever. He added that the summer university had the capacity to adapt and meet the changing needs, “thanks to those who we have placed our trust in, the rectors and vice-rectors, who have recognised the need to open up the university portals to today’s society and bring classes outside the traditional campus”.
This has been a project that has borne fruit, he added, for both the council and the university, pointing out that tomorrow is also the graduation ceremony for the second batch of Tourism diploma students who have undertaken their course in the Adeje campus.
The ULL rector Antonio Martinón, also marked the achievement of the 25th anniversary and the 225th of the University of La Laguna, underlined by the strong commitment to academic activities beyond the walls of the university. The mayor and the rector also paid tribute to the University rectors and vice-rectors during the 25 years of the summer university. “The presence of six rectors reflects the fact that this achievement is the not simply the work of one person, but something that is profound, that demands continuity and institutional commitment”, said the rector.
Carlos Vogeler, executive director for member relations of the World Tourism Organisation, giving the inaugural address, told the audience that tourism was now the third highest contributor in world exports and that on average today more than 1,200 million people travel internationally every year, with the expectation that that would rise to 1,800 million in coming years. Tourism, he said, “creates one in every 11 jobs worldwide”. He congratulated the Adeje council and the University of La Laguna on their respective anniversaries of 25 and 225 years and welcomed the course themes this year of culture, health, sports and the economy and, of course, tourism. “Adeje is today a symbol of innovation and development and an excellent tourism reference point globally”, he said,
Vogeler said that tourism was an industry that could respond well to shifts in the international economy, and was able to offer employment creation and development within a sustainable development model. He also said it was important that the reaction to terrorist attacks designed to shut down borders (attacks on beaches, airports, hotels) mustn’t achieve their aim. In fact, he said, the industry shows no signs of slowing down and is becoming a tool for inclusion, offering opportunities to improve the living conditions for many people working in the industry, allowing them avenues out of poverty.
“In times of volatility the tourism industry is showing its enormous capacity for resistance. One of the challenges is to maintain the balance between competitive and responsible tourism, so that tourism develops in an ordered and sustainable manner, in economic, social and environmental terms”. Sustainable tourism was, he said, no longer a choice, it was an obligation. He stated that he would like to see the promotion of a platform for safe travel, developing ways of risk management and reduction.
“We are living in a changing world, with a more demanding tourist, a tourist better prepared, looking for experiences. We cannot sit back in our comfort zone and hope they come to us, without leading the movement for change to new directions.” New technology offers us the change to enrich the experience of the client, the client who has increasing access to better and more information.
Another big challenge is the ethical question for public and private businesses. The World Tourism Organisation has a world-wide code of ethics but what is also needed, Vogeler says, is an adhesion code, an international treaty, which will be presented at the next UNWTO assembly in China in September.
At its monthly session today, Friday June 30th, the Adeje council voted on a motion to urge the regional government to tell the state to set in train, as soon as possible, work to build a second runway at Reina Sofia airport. This comes following the seven-hour airport shut down after the tyres on a plane burst on landing earlier this week.
This was what is termed an ‘institutional motion’ with full support from all parties and elected members of the Adeje council and was proposed by the ruling socialists. All those who spoke in favour stated the importance of a second runway and terminal to the area, and included the provision that the regional government offer all necessary assistance to the state in ensuring that this becomes reality.
The party representatives speaking on the issue during the meeting stressed the relevance of the airport as a key infrastructure not just for transport and mobility within the island but also a determining factor in the tourism industry, as the main economic motor of the Canaries.
The borough is generally within normal legal limits
Today Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga presented the results of a study creating a ‘Noise Map’ for Costa Adeje. The map was created over a year-long period by the AAC Acústica + Lumínica company, specialists in this area, and the results indicate “in general we are meeting the quality acoustic objectives”. The mayor, accompanied by the tourism councillor Ermitas Moreira García, explained that this “radio-graph of the acoustic reality of the borough will be a fundamental tool in future urban planning, the organisation of events, activities, etc”.
The Costa Adeje Noise Map, as well as determining whether the acoustic levels are generally within the limits permitted by law, also focuses on two key issues. The first of those is the need to bring the 1994 municipal regulation into line as it is currently “obsolete, and needs be adapted to meet current state and European norms”. The study recommends that a new ordinance “would establish the limits and indicate clearly that measurement of noise and decibel levels needs to be carried out in the buildings where the noise is being heard”.
Furthermore, in the conclusions it is recommended that the new municipal law would identify zones of areas which are designated for leisure and where exceptions can be permitted, such as, for instance, during local annual patronal festivals. At the same time the new ordinance will include the definition of Saturated Acoustic Zones, and the preventative measures needed to be taken.
Tourism councillor Ermitas Moreira commented, “With this information we in the council can now work to draw up the new ordinance the meet the current situation. In parallel we are working via a mayoral pact on the issue of mobility (traffic) to reduce the noise impact in the borough”.
Areas where the noise exceeds limits
The Noise Map did show that noise levels some areas in Costa Adeje are breaking the accepted limits, in many cases due to excess traffic noise. This situation will require the council to create an action plan to improve the situation in these identified zones.
Certain zones are affected by traffic from the TF-1 motorway and urban street traffic. Therefore the study is recommending, among other measures, some work from the regional government (who has responsibility for motorways for instance) to meet their requirements in noise-reduction measures in the areas beside the motorway. Regarding urban thoroughfares, the council is already working under a Costa Adeje ‘traffic and sustainable urban development plan’ to reduce traffic and speed in these zones.
The specific areas were limits were breached included CC Pueblo Canario, points close to the CC Torviscas and the Terraza del Mar, however as the nearest buildings were deemed far enough away from the epicentre of the noise, they were agreed to be within acceptable limits.
In other areas, there was a noticeable increase in noise during weekend nights created by bars or other leisure-related activities but overall the readings are averaged out so there was now general breach of the limits as laid down.
A year ago the Adeje council, through the tourism promotion department, requested a study to determine the impact to noise in Costa Adeje, the objective being to know the true state of affairs and design a plan of action to improve the quality of the destination. The study was carried out, based on national legal requirements using European standards, to determine noise levels inside and outside buildings.
In line with the national laws, there are three time blocks when noise is to be measured ; from 7am – 7pm, from 7pm – 11m, and from 11pm – 7am (this division did conflict with previous borough practises which divided the 24 hour period into only two blocks, 8am – 10.30pm and 10.30pm – 8am). There are also different kinds of areas for acoustic purposes – health care, educational and cultural, residential, service, recreational and show zones, industrial infrastructures. Measurements were taken over different durations – shorter and longer, up to 15 days in 18 different points – to create the map and suggest recommendations.
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The Hispanic American College, New York, is organising the I Programme for the Tenerife Tourism Industry, in Adeje, from April 24th to 28th. The event will offer participants integrated global-based information on the processes and methodologies in the tourism industry, in particularly those used by leading companies in the sector.
The course is ideal for sector directors, managers and sector heads. Registration is still open online, http://www.hispanoamericanassociation.com/executive-education/executive-program-for-tourism-industry/ where you will also find information about course content and the number of modules offered by the programme. The programme will be in Spanish.
According to Adeje’s tourism councillor, Ermitas Moriera García, “this is an important course which is being run by a highly prestigious university institution”, and further enhances the Costa Adeje Tourism Development Centre (CDTCA) as a training and educational centre for the sector.
The programme is supported by leading hotels in the zone and the provincial hoteliers association. It should encourage debate about the sector and industry, the culture of innovation and partnership in the path to success for companies and individuals working in the sector. How to meet new challenges, how to deal with change through innovation and how to identify potential roadblocks and have a plan of action in place to deal with them are just some of the goals of the five-day event.
Participants will receive a diploma upon completion of the programme. The module leaders are professionals at national and international levels in tourism, marketing, bio-urbanism, consumer identification, health tourism, etc.
The Adeje council has just begun a new alternative training scheme for 15 people in the over-30 age bracket, who have currently no qualifications, to train and work in the catering industry. Under the ‘Restur Adeje’ plan they will work towards certificates in basic restaurant and bar work, with both theoretical and practical training, in an industry that offers many work opportunities in Costa Adeje.
According to the councillor for economic development, Manuel Luis Méndez Martín, “it’s very important that we provide those seeking work with the right tools and knowledge to enter the thriving labour market here – which is the tourist sector.
“We know that there is a section of the local population between the ages of 30 and 40 who have few or no qualifications so it is fundamental that they have the opportunity to acquire professional certificates that will assist them in the search for work”, he added.
Given the recent establishment of the Association of Canarian Tourism Boroughs, (Adeje, Arona, Guía de Isora, San Bartolomé de Tirajana and Mogán), with established aims including the generation of social wellbeing from the economic benefits of the tourist industry and the creation of quality employment, it is “imperative that we offer training and specialisation in the production sector”, explained Méndez Martín.
‘Restur Adeje’ will work to improve the levels of employment among persons over 30 who have no professional qualification nor have completed their studies, and will train them as waiters and servers while also helping levels of motivation and knowledge of the sector to properly meet the employment needs of the market place. During their training participants will also work at events organised by the council and by non-profit making organisations that are raising funds locally for those in need.
‘Restur Adeje’ will be taking part in over 50 events during this period. The student workers will combine theory and practical sessions in class and out in the catering sector. Those who complete the course will also be granted a certificate in Basic Restaurant/Bar operations. There will be an intensive two month training period followed by work experience. Students will also take classes in languages, social skills for employment purposes, professional orientation, communication and marketing, etc.
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