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'Discover Formentera in May' highlights island's off-season charms

Foto Illetes Formentera arxiu Consell de FormenteraThe Formentera Council, by way of the Office of Tourism, has today unveiled the 2016 version of Descobreix Formenera al Maig (Discover Formentera in May). Department head Alejandra Ferrer touted the initiative as a way to snag big discounts on ferry travel, vehicle rentals and accomodation and pointed to “a healthy list of culture, sport and fine dining-related activities that make Descobreix Formentera al Maig a plan you won't want to miss.”

Among the activities on the programme is Formentera Fotogràgica, which starts today (April 28) and continues through May 1. Ferrer described the event as “a convergence of photo pros” with “something for everyone who's passionate about images and photography”. Also on the agenda is Formentera 2.0, a series of day-long activities dedicated to online communication and digital culture that will take place from May 5-8. Finally, the councillor promised that by month-end, the beloved Festes de Sant Ferran (Sant Ferran days) will give everyone a reason to celebrate.

Sports-related programming

The Discover campaign certainly won't disappoint sports lovers either. First up on the fitness tip is the island's half marathon, la Mitja Marató, scheduled for May 14. Then, from May 29 through June 5, is the eighth annual NB Formentera to Run 8km. Rounding out the month-long agenda are two cross-island walks: la Volta a Peu a Formentera (the May edition) and la Volta a l'illa caminant, a group trail-walking event broken down into various stages.

New this year is a beach volleyball tournament, Beach Volei, scheduled May 6-8 at the Cala Saona beach. Councillor Ferrer reminded all those interested that, to reap the benefits of the Discover Formentera initiative —which include reduced prices for ferry tickets, car rentals and active tourism services— individuals must stay in participating accomodation and be sure to obtain the necessary voucher when booking. More information is available on the CiF Office of Tourism website.

Formentera makes case for greater police presence

Foto Junta Local SeguretatFormentera's heads of safety and law enforcement services gathered today for a meeting of the island's Junta Local de Seguretat. Chaired by CiF president Jaume Ferrer and the Govern's envoy in Formentera, Teresa Palmer, the meeting featured the attendance of CiF councillors Bartomeu Escandell (presidential office), Rafael González (transport) and Vanessa Parellada (social welfare). The Spanish central government's representative in the Pitiüsas, Roger Sales, was also present along with other individuals representing forces of order and emergency services on the island.

CiF president Jaume Ferrer seized the opportunity to air concerns about an increase in burglaries and vandalism on the island in recent years. In that respect, Ferrer pointed to a number of cases of vehicle arson as well as a growing incidence of drug use. “These are real problems,” he said, “and to tackle them, we will be asking for a more robust police presence.” Moreover, Ferrer spoke about the need for a traffic officer of the Guárdia Civil to be stationed on the island year round.

Ferrer took the opportunity to thank the Formentera Playa hotel, the island's association of small and medium-sized businesses (PIMEEF) and the local federation of hotels for providing accommodation to law enforcement representatives. He celebrated recent improvements in coordination between Formentera's local police force, the Guárdia Civil and island agents of Spain's national police force.

Arrest for vehicle arson

For her part, the Govern envoy announced the creation of a coordinating committee so the various safety forces on the island can “effectively review and respond to issues of concern among Formentera residents.” Palmer confided the recent break-ins and car burnings sparked concern among islanders and that response teams were being created to tackle the problem. The envoy referred to the arrest yesterday of a Romanian national who is accused of arson in connection to a recent car fire in Sant Francesc. Guárdia Civil agents are currently investigating links between the individual and other recent fires.

Regarding the burglaries at homes in the Formentera countryside, Palmer announced the upcoming work with the specialist task force, ROCA. For summer 2016, the envoy shared plans for local safety operations were still being developed. “We've put in the request for an increase compared to last year's numbers,” Palmer said this morning. “We've asked for maritime forces as well as law enforcement officers and are expecting a return of a Guárdia Civil traffic officer and two Italian carabinieri.”

'Fine Dining' weekends are back

Foto cap de setmana gastronomicsThis Friday April 29 marks the return of the initiative that put fine dining in Formentera on the map, Caps de Setmana Gastronòmics (Weekend Fine Dining in English). Spanning two weekends, April 29-May 1 and May 6-8, the programme has a select handful of Formentera restaurants proposing gastronomic set-price specials for 20 euros (drinks not included). “The dishes have been designed especially for the occasion and are reinterpretations of traditional recipes. Many of our participating restaurants have put a very creative spin some well-known flavours, and all of them have agreed to adhere to an affordable flat rate,” said Alejandra Ferrer, CiF councillor of tourism. The initiative is part of the Council's Discover Formentera in May campaign (Descobreix Formentera al Maig), which the councillor called “a way to offer added bonuses to tourists who visit in the off-season.”

Participating restaurants

Ten restaurants have signed on to participate in Caps de Setmana Gastronòmics this year: Blue Bar, Caminito, Can Forn, Can Pascual, Capri, Casablanca, Chezz Gerdi, Restaurant La Savina, Restaurante Carmen – Blanco Hotel and Vogamarí. Restaurantgoers are encouraged to confirm availability in advance. Menus can be downloaded on the Office of Tourism's website (www.formentera.es) or by clicking on the banner on the Caps de Setmana Gastronòmics website (http://www.formentera.es/beta/es/content/fines-de-semana-gastron%C3%B3micos-mayo-2016).

Total of 28 businesses earn quality distinction

Entrega diplomes SICTEDEarlier today the Formentera Council Office of Tourism handed out certificates and commemorative plaques to participants of the administration's programme to measure and promote quality tourism services. Twenty-eight businesses providing either goods or services to tourists received the distinction known as SICTED (Sistema Integral de Qualitat Turística en Destinació). Two new member businesses signed on to the programme in 2015, while the remaining 26 have renewed their memberships.

As tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer pointed out, the CiF has relied on the SICTED system of quality assurance since 2009. “The Council is thrilled to see the work these companies have put in,” she said, “because it is a sign of their commitment to providing constantly improving services, year after year.”

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