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Areas Urbanism & territory, Tourism and Economic activities Handicraft, trade and markets

Formentera shows Fitur its sustainable side

fitur 2017 1Three members of the local administration –Council president Jaume Ferrer, tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer and tourism advisory board chief Carlos Bernús– can be spotted extolling Formentera's qualities this week at the Fitur travel show. As Councillor Ferrer pointed out, this year Formentera is at two stands – one representing the Balearic Islands and housed in pavilion nine, and the another, located in pavilion seven, that the island shares with Citroën E-Mehari.

Formentera will tout the sporting and cultural events that have steadily gained prominence over the years and turned the island’s pre- and post-season periods into targets for tourists. The plugging dovetails with a Balearics-wide campaign to boost wintertime travel to the region. At the Balearics’ official presentation before Fitur crowds, slated for Thursday at noon, Formentera will screen its 2017 promo video and, according to Councillor Ferrer, “unveil a new green project to safeguard posidonia seagrass”.

Sustainable mobility
Riding the wave of 2017’s promotion as Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Formentera will continue agitating for electric vehicles, already a years-long movement on the island. Councillor Ferrer explained that one upcoming line of action, fruit of the recent partnership between by the administration and Citroën, included “continuing to swap out fossil-fuel vehicles on the Council's fleet with electric ones”.

Three local shops applauded for 2016 Christmas decorations

entrega premi kentiaFormentera Council vice-president Susana Labrador and trade councillor Alejandra Ferrer were joined today by Juanma Costa, chair of the local chamber of commerce, in granting honours to the winners of 2016's window dressing awards. To mark the occasion, the representatives and jury member Álvaro Mendoza made stops at the award-winning shops.

Now in its tenth year, the Christmas window dressing competition is organised jointly by the Council and the chamber of commerce as a way to promote festive holiday celebrations across local businesses. The retail outlet for kids' clothes and toys, Te doy la luna, snagged the first prize, a check for €225. Kentia came in second and received €150. Maii, a clothes shop, won the third spot and a €75 check.

The jury comprised one representative from both the Council and the Formentera chamber of commerce and two recognised local artists, Enric Riera and Mendoza. Last year's winners were Floristeria Formentera, Te doy la luna and Maii.

Through discounts and bonuses, Compra a Casa! encourages residents to shop local

foto campanya compra a casaToday, the Formentera Council's Office of Trade unveiled a push to encourage Formentera residents to buy local. The Compra a Casa! (“shop at home”) campaign is framed as a boost to local business, not to mention the restaurant sector, during the low season on the island. The initiative, which began this December, proposes discounts and bonuses based on a system of loyalty cards.

Thirty-seven businesses, including shops, restaurants and one of the island's two gas stations, have to date signed on to the campaign. One condition of adhesion is a business's opening at least eight months in one year. Establishments pledge minimum discounts of 1.5 per cent (shops) and 3 per cent (restaurants). Accumulated savings, saved on shoppers' customer loyalty cards, can be cashed in at any participating business.

The discounts accrue on an account that belongs to Formentera's coalition of small and medium sized business, contributors to the initiative. In turn, the coalition (PIMEF) is charged with administering both the associated app, Formentera365, and the loyalty cards. The Council covers all of the costs of the initiative, including its implementation and annual maintenance.

In addition, the Formentera365 app, cost free for shoppers, will allow business to propose their own offers and shoppers to consult the sum of their amassed discounts.

At the same time, an awareness-raising effort is envisaged to promote local commerce and the importance of buying local. Accompanied by PIMEF chair Pep Mayans, CiF tourism and trade councillor Alejandra Ferrer described the process as beneficial to everyone, “not only because it stands to breathe life into our streets and create business for our tradesmen, but also in that it makes for an increasingly rich panorama for Formentera residents in winter”.

Taking on precarious employment

foto presentacio pla de lluitaTwo officials of the Govern balear —labour minister Iago Negueruela and department chair Isabel Castro—, meeting in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council to share the results of a 2016 plan to tackle precarious employment, announced improved conditions this summer for 412 Formentera locals.

Also present at the gathering was Formentera's councillor of tourism, land and trade, Alejandra Ferrer, who highlighted 2016 as the second straight year of cooperation between Formentera and Palma on the plan. Calling the joint efforts “necessary to eliminating the precariousness that grips the Balearics”, Ferrer called on the Govern to remain firm in its engagement.

According to the councillor, this July and August, 361 local job contracts became permanent as a direct result of the efforts of two inspectors dispatched to the island. The plan of action is backed by the Palma ministry of labour, trade and industry and assisted by the provincial department of the labour inspectorate. Thanks to the summer push, more than four hundred Formentera residents saw their working conditions improve through changes to employment contracts, extended work hours or new job offers.

This year's encouraging results reflected improvements in the campaign, such as more time to coordinate and plan inspections, said Negueruela, who thanked the Formentera Council for supporting efforts by providing the inspectors lodging as well as other assistance.

In particular, the 2016 figures show a 178% year-on-year spike in individuals who benefitted from better employment conditions. Minister Negueruela pointed to 560 workers who had experienced improvements in the last two years thanks to the campaign.

Temporary contracts
As for revisions of temporary contracts, Formentera boasted more than any other island. Locally, the number of short-term contracts transformed into permanent ones jumped from 121 to 361, a 66.5% increase on last year's figures. A total of 9,256 job contracts were reviewed throughout the Balearics, of which, 3,381 were changed to “indefinite” arrangements, which means that more than one in three (36%) was previously in breach of the law. Last year contract transformations took place just 25% of the time.

Extended working hours
As for part-time versus full-time employment, Formentera is also the island that logged the most cases of illegal work schedule arrangements, which, according to the inspectors, were up 76%. In due form, working hours were legally extended in 37 cases, up from 21 similar cases in 2015.

It was also reported that 93 employees who should have been registered with social security were never registered. Corrections in those cases were made accordingly. On Formentera there were a total of 13 “transformed social security registrations”.

Punitive measures
On the heels of the inspection crew's efforts in July and August, penalties were pursued in 12 cases for a combined sum of €39,400. In the entire Illes Balears region, 89 such sanctions were brought for a total of €342,230.

In winter, Formentera seeks to attract English tourists

foto wtm 2 2016Today marked the first day of World Travel Market, England's leading tourism trade show. Representing and promoting Formentera at the London event, which runs through Wednesday, November 9, 2016, are Formentera Council (CiF) president Jaume Ferrer, councillor of tourism Alejandra Ferrer and, director of Formentera's tourism advisory board, Carlos Bernús.

Formentera is being represented at the Balearic Islands' stand, where Universitat de les Illes Balears (UIB) students are on hand to attend to fair visitors. One goal shared by all four islands in the archipelago is “to get the word out about the pre- and post-summer seasons”, the tourism councillor pointed out. The agency for tourism in the Balearics (ATB for its initials in Catalan) has published a magazine to promote off-season visits.

According to Councillor Ferrer, Formentera's marketing push is particularly important in England given the year-round flights in place between London and Eivissa. She described plans to meet with various PR companies and online marketing firms in an effort to boost Formentera's presence in the English market.

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