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14th Ophiusa regatta on board with Save Posidonia Project

Foto presentacio regata ophiusaThe details behind Regatta Ophiusa, a boating fixture that runs from April 13 to 15 and links Sitges and Formentera, were unveiled today at the main offices of the Formentera Council at the hands of local tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer and organiser Josep Maria Ferrer.

Councillor Ferrer proudly announced the adhesion of the regatta's 250 navigators (and their 48 boats) to the Save Posidonia Project and their sponsorship, via QR code, of protected areas of posidonia seagrass. Participants will also be given a special presentation explaining the importance of posidonia conservation. In the words of the event's organiser, “as a group, boat enthusiasts use and enjoy the sea more than most, so it seems quite natural that they be engaged in the conservation side as well”.

He also asserts that the fourteen-year-old event, which receives funding from both the Balearic tourism agency and the Office of Tourism of the Formentera Council, has not strayed from its original vocation as an highly inclusive event. Participants, he said, vary from the most recent winner of the King's Cup to cruise ships whose families hanker for the chance to spend Easter at a boating event during Formentera's more relaxed —and perhaps more authentic— pre-summer season. With a wide array of groups and classifications, Josep Maria Ferrer called the regatta “an event with room for everybody”.

Low-season visitors
Councillor Ferrer indicated her hope that participants of the regatta —which will take place during Semana Santa, or Holy Week— would find plenty of restaurants and entertainment options already open for business. In that way, she said, those or others they'd spoken to would be more inclined to pay Formentera a visit before the start of the traditional season.

The event is 100% Made in Formentera, from its namesake (a Greek designation for the island) to classification titles like “Savina d'Espalmador,” “Savina d'es Cap” and “Savina la Mola” (the premier ranking is “Savina de Plata d'Ophiusa”). Even the trophies, concluded the organiser, are sculpted from Savina juniper wood.

Formentera 2.0 poised once again to make waves in digital culture

Foto presentacio formentera 20 2017At noon today Carlos Bernús and Rosa Castells met in the courtyard of Centre Antoni Tur Gabrielet to give a presentation on the upcoming edition of Formentera 2.0. Bernús, head of the island's tourism advisory board, and Castells, organiser of the gathering on IT and digital culture, pitched Formentera 2.0 as a one of a kind chance for leaders in creativity, new technologies and digital communication to come together against an altogether unique backdrop.

Formentera 2.0's workshops and conferences are aimed at promoting exchanges of ideas and information and educating participants about a digital culture in full evolution. More broadly, organisers see it as an opportunity to connect, share and learning in the company of recognised experts in the field. Plus, the days are formidable occasions for networking, not least because the events put speakers and attendees in direct contact with one another. The philosophy behind Formentera 2.0 is to make learning fun; the motto: “Disconnect to connect”.

Twenty-three people have already registered and interested individuals will have through 25 April to sign up via the website, formentera20.com. For every participant registered ten square metres of posidonia seagrass will be set aside.

Premier speakers
This year's programme tackles digital transformation, social media, content, multimedia platforms, creativity, digital marketing, new technologies, TV, virtual reality and big data. Speakers include first-class names from the world of communication such as digital transformation leader Bernardo Crespo; Carlos Fernández, chief of Iberdrola's digital and social media departments; Ana Castro, manager at Coca-Cola; Franc Aleu, creative director; David Saura, head of content at FC Barcelona; Bruno Sellés, founder of Vasaka and Phil González, founder of Instagramers.

Save Posidonia Project, far-reaching push to conserve sea grass prairies

presentacio save posidonia projectFormentera Council president Jaume Ferrer was joined at noon today in the plenary hall of the administration's central offices by Alejandra Ferrer and Daisee Aguilera, tourism and environment councillors, respectively, to unveil Save Posidonia Project. With the councillors were CiF vice-president Susana Labrador, tourism advisory board head Carlos Bernús, and Pep Mayans and Juanma Costa, chairs of Formentera's associations of small and medium-sized businesses and hotels.

The president linked the 2017 launch to world sustainable tourism year and called the project “an innovative effort to promote sustainable tourism and deploy a plan to save our posidonia prairie”. Ferrer asserted the project would bear the imprint of all corners of the Council and the local tourism sector as well. “Our aim is to conserve not just posidonia,” he said, “but with it our beaches, landscapes, sea and way of life”.

1 euro per m2 of sea grass
The tourism councillor, meanwhile, portrayed it thus: “Save Posidonia Project will make it easier for us to explain our vision for the island to people from beyond our shores, not to mention the respect for the environment that we expect of the tourists who visit”. For one euro per square metre, businesses and private citizens can visit saveposidoniaproject.org or use the associated app to sponsor any one of the 76,500 hectares of posidonia around Formentera. They can also take part in the campaign by participating in local events like the island's half marathon or Formentera Fotogràfica.

Conservation projects
Money raised will go towards new posidonia conservation initiatives, said environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, who also took the opportunity to explain the sea grass' particular importance for Formentera. Plus, Aguilera charted a course towards the imminent creation of a body of international, national and local experts to provide guidance on the conservation projects afoot, campaigns which will be backed by prominent non-profit groups.

As summer approaches, Save Posidonia Project merchandise will be available at participating stores and hotels, just one of many other features geared towards bolstering the campaign's visibility. The overarching aim, underscored Aguilera, is to protect the biggest and most ancient organism on the planet and one that Unesco declared a World Heritage Site in 1999.

In Iceland, Formentera goes after off-season visitors

foto 3 islandiaFormentera Council president Jaume Ferrer, tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer and tourism advisory board chair Carlos Bernús will lead two presentations before Iceland audiences in an effort to sell travellers on Formentera. The demos will be staged in Reykjavik, at the conference hall of Foss hotel.

The first, for tourism trades and management of airlines like WOW and Icelandair, took place at 1.00pm. The representatives will then give a second demonstration at 4.00pm before members of the Icelandic press. President Ferrer called the move a response to Icelanders' recent interest in Formentera and the possibility of new direct flights to Eivissa from that country.

The prospect of developing the Icelandic market is particularly interesting, in Alejandra Ferrer's words, “because Iceland's travellers take holiday trips ahead of and after the high season. In winter the days are shorter here, and locals look for destinations with more hours of daylight, like Formentera”.

Formentera representatives will focus on Formentera as an off-season destination spot, emphasising the island's cultural and sports programmes. Their talks will include promotional videos and the opportunity to take a virtual cycling tour of the island, based on a video with 360º footage. Another draw will be hotel Es Marès chef Juan Ramón Cobo's showcooking demo of typical island favourites like “amanida pagesa”. Visitors will also get the chance to try products like thyme, cheese, fig bread and red wine and check out some of Formentera's locally-produced fashions. The presentations had additional support from Turespaña.

Signups open as Formentera Fotogràfica contest slides into fifth year

foto x  flayer petitaThe Formentera Council's Office of Tourism has announced details about this spring's Formentera Fotogràfica, now in its fifth year. From April 28 to May 1, photo and video fans from Spain and further afield will descend upon the island for conferences, workshops, documentary screenings, portfolio reviews and shot-scouting outings across Formentera.

To date some 40 people have registered and signups are being held through April 20 at the local tourism board (Patronat Municipal de Turisme; carrer Mallorca, 15, in Sant Ferran) or the following link:

Tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer framed the early season event as a magnet for visitors and a way encourage snapshots showcasing the island's natural beauty. She urged all photo lovers, locals included, to come out strong for the premiere festival.

Participating speakers include Joan Fontcuberta, a photographer who is recognised as Spanish photography's "great renovator" and the winner of the 2013 Hasselblad award (photography's Nobel prize). Travel photographer Gonzalo Azumendi will be there to shed light on his day-to-day and share some of his own personal tricks. Txema Salvans will chat with festival participants about his projects and give details about the production, concept and design that go into publishing a book. Besides welcoming José Benito Ruiz, Spain's most renowned nature photographer ever, this year's Formentera Fotogràfica will also play host to a special guest: Manu San Félix, a specialist in underwater photography and long-time resident on the island.

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