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Sustainability and eco-ethics underpin Formentera’s pitch to tourists at World Travel Market

wtm-2019--2-vp1When London’s World Travel Market tourism expo opened its doors today, Consell de Formentera president and tourism chief Alejandra Ferrer was once again on hand to represent the island with director of tourism Carles Bernús. Formentera will share a stand at this year’s event with the other Balearic Islands, while sustainability and environmental and cultural values will occupy a central place among the island’s talking points.

For Balearic Islands Day tomorrow, the local delegation will unveil a programme built round the archipelago’s status as a top-tier destination, with President Ferrer ready to spotlight the island’s cache of treasures (natural settings, cultural commodities and heritage sites) together with infrastructure for sport and local gastronomy. The representatives will highlight local sustainability strategies like this summer’s trial run of a scheme to cap the total number of vehicles allowed on the island, and measures to safeguard posidonia seagrass.

As President Ferrer pointed out: “British travellers are booking trips differently now, building their own holiday packages online. And that’s an opportunity—we can be angling for better occupancy rates and more market share through direct sales”.

Looking ahead to the 2020 season, the local reps will be using WTM to reach out to travel agents and PR firms from England, Netherlands and USA. They will also get meetings on the books with online portals and airlines.

In the ether at this year’s WTM is the implosion of Thomas Cook tour operators and uncertainty surrounding Brexit. “British travellers constitute a slim 5% of our total visitors, but make up a considerable part of our off-season numbers”, Ferrer said. “Formentera is coordinating its strategy with the other island councils and the regional government”, she continued, saying the idea was to “roll with recent punches and get our numbers back on track, either by identifying new markets or reaching out to new tour operators and, ultimately, trying new promotional strategies”.


4 November 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

UOM

uom-1-1Formentera’s councillor of housing, seniors and entrepreneurship Ana Juan met today with Antoni Gamundí, head of the Open University for the Aged (Universitat Oberta per a Majors, UOM) and the two discussed using support for Formentera’s UOM programme to increase engagement with elderly islanders in the coming academic year. Councillor Juan described Formentera as “ready and willing to develop the multi-location, seven-part lecture series”.

 

 

 


17 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Applications accepted for vending huts at Christmas Market

mercat-nadal-132The trade office of the Consell de Formentera announces it will begin accepting applications today from would-be vendors at the 2019-2020 Christmas Market (Mercat Nadalenc). Applicants have until 31 October to file their request; in person at the Citizen’s Information Office (OAC) or online on the OVAC virtual platform.

Put on by the Consell de Formentera in an effort to bring to life the holiday season by mobilising the local businesses that stay open in winter, the Christmas Market settles into the centre of Sant Francesc, Plaça de la Constitució, on 29 November, and remains open through 6 January 2020.

The Consell de Formentera will assign no more than eight stands: four will go to local businesses and artisans and the other four for food and beverages.

Up to three permits will be assigned to other businesses, food and drinks vendors or artisans who own a stand of the same size and characteristics as the Consell-owned vending huts. Beyond this number, more permits may be assigned, but grantees will be determined in strict observance of the order in which applications are received.

In a tent provided by the Consell de Formentera, a rotating suite of interested schools, church parishes and non-profits will be able to sell concessions as well. Reasoning that the Christmas Market has become an established feature of the holiday landscape in the four years since it launched, vendors will no longer be exempt from paying a levy for occupying public thoroughfares. Pursuant to the ordinance published 16 April 2013 in issue 51 of the Balearic gazette (BOIB), the levy applies to vendors who obtain economic benefit occupying public-use land with tables, chairs or huts; offering performances or attractions; exercising street or itinerant trades; or filming. Food and beverage concessionaires will be charged a €576 tax, while other vendors must pay €216.

For applications submitted on time and in tune with conditions, two drawings will be overseen by the municipal clerk—for food/beverage businesses and for regular vending—to determine the distribution of permits.

See the terms of the provisional regulation on Christmas Market applicants here.

15 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

At Posidonia Project Forum, Formentera charts roadmap to nurturing local sustainability

foto spp 2019 2Today the island welcomes the third Posidonia Project Forum, and Formentera’s president and councillor of tourism, Alejandra Ferrer, tended to the task of greeting participants. Formentera is, in the president’s words, “a small territory where the importance of sustainability has always been crystal clear”. “There’s no better proof of that than the Save Posidonia Project, launched in 2017”, she continued, pointing out this year marks the twentieth anniversary of nearby posidonia meadows’ naming as a World Heritage Site and affirming: “Their protection is one of the reasons why we’re here today”.

“We’re on our way, but there’s a considerable stretch still ahead”, she said. “When there’s a will in the political, social and business circuits, there’s a way”, Ferrer asserted, reasoning “we know what the problems are, but we know what the fixes are, too”. To pin them down, the forum kicked off yesterday with a series of working groups tackling issues like water, waste, plastics, mobility on land and by sea, the energy transition and posidonia seagrass.

President Ferrer held up Formentera’s adhesion to the sustainable tourism declaration along with local adoption of the 2030 sustainable development goals—“17 sustainable development priorities we hope local civil society and businesses make their own”. But the president didn’t mince words, either: “Working toward sustainability is no longer an option; it’s a responsibility for each and every one of us”.

2021 goals

Lastly, marine biologist Oscar Esparza presented the conclusions of working groups that met all day yesterday to explore the issues and prepare a roadmap to local sustainability that has been dubbed “Formentera 2021”.

The following goals and action plans emerged:

- Goal 1: move toward zero waste generation on Formentera.
Action plan 1: withdraw single-use plastics and work toward a system of returns and deposit refunds.

- Goal 2: improve energy efficiency on the island by favouring renewable energies.
Action plan 2: craft a plan for renewable energy efficiency for businesses in tourism, government and housing.

- Goal 3: reduce high-pollution vehicle use among local businesses and islanders.
Action plan 3: create incentives for businesses and islanders to use clean transport alternatives.

- Goal 3: regulate the flow of incoming visitors, bringing this into line with the island’s actual capacity.
Action plan 4: develop a participative strategy to efficiently regulate and administer regular ferry traffic in such a way as to simultaneously address uncontrolled anchorage on local shores.

Efforts over the next two years will be based on the idea of incremental changes, and entail the active engagement of Formentera’s social and business quarters. It is hoped that changes are evident by 2021, when the next large-scale Posidonia Project Forum is planned.

Conferences and round tables

The day-long event will feature conferences from experts on the environment and sustainability in tourism and social and economic areas; one will focus on sustainability as a pillar of competitiveness in tourism, another will offer a close-up look at an environmental issue: the suitability of carbon footprints in gauging real impact.

Activities will continue tomorrow, Saturday, with a community cleanup and an outing at sea to familiarise visiting journalists with the reasons for posidonia meadows’ designation as a World Heritage Site.

11 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

2019 Posidonia Project Forum launch

foto forum posi proj2019 2Consell de Formentera president and tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer, together with Formentera’s councillor of environment Antonio J Sanz, welcomed attendees of the Posidonia Project Forum to the working groups organised for the occasion. With everyone from Formentera and Balearic government personnel to representatives of local businesses, civil society groups and NGOs, the groups will tackle a range of issues related to water, waste, plastics, mobility on land and at sea, the energy transition and posidonia seagrass.

The president told attendees that “tomorrow will begin with a vision—put together today, from the reflections and analysis in this first sessions—of new priority areas and a pledge of forward action”. She encouraged everyone to “put it all on the table in terms of the challenges to the environment and sustainability that we’ll be facing in the coming years”.

Open to the public, tomorrow’s Forum starts with a presentation of today’s work as well as a look at the projects that received funding in 2017. Talks, documentary screenings and round-table discussions are on the agenda as well. The complete programme is available at https://www.saveposidoniaproject.org/forum-posidonia-2019/

10 October 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

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