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On Saturday, 2,800 runners have a go at paradise

Foto presentacio mitja marato 1The administration's president and head of sports were joined today by a top member of the Balearic government in unveiling details about Formentera's latest fixture for runners. CiF officials Jaume Ferrer and Jordi Vidal together with Biel Barceló talked about the upcoming Mitja Marató (“half marathon”) now in its ninth year. Also in tow were Núria de la Torre and Josep Verdera, spokespeople of the event's two biggest sponsors (Trasmapi and CaixaBank, respectively) as well as Manuel Hernández, director of the firm overseeing coordination of the run.

A total of 2,800 runners will take part in this Saturday's race; 1,900 are registered for the half marathon and another 900 are scheduled to run the 8 kilometre (K) circuit. This year marked the first that organisers abandoned first-come, first-served signups in favour of a random drawing in which 7,000 entered. Organisers put the run's overall draw, counting families and friends of competitors, at 7,000.

Remembering the 101 runners who turned up for the inaugural run nine years ago, the Council president hailed the event's success over the years and thanked the sponsors, large and small, and volunteers too, for making it all possible. One of this year's pre-eminent backers was the Agència de Turisme Balear. Mr Barceló himself spoke about the ATB's commitment to the annual run, an event he credited with “filling out numbers in the mid and low season”.

Timetable and traffic interruptions
The 21K race will start at 5.30pm at the lighthouse in la Mola. Runners in the 8K equivalent will set off at the same time from kilometre marker 6.2 on the Sant Ferran highway.

The stretch of road connecting la Mola's town with the lighthouse will be closed to vehicle traffic from 3.00pm. Access from es Caló to la Mola will be cut from 4.30pm and two stretches of highway—from Sant Ferran to es Caló and from la Savina to es Pujols/Sant Ferran—will be closed starting at 5.00pm. Normal traffic will resume following the passage of participants bringing up the rear; they are projected to arrive at the finish line between 7.30 and 8.00pm.

Officials stop in to track progress at Es Pujols improvements

Foto visita es pujolsFormentera Council leadership was joined by three Govern officials on a visit to the site of improvements in Es Pujols. CiF chairman Jaume Ferrer and vice-chair Bartomeu Escandell, as well as Alejandra Ferrer, Rafael González and Sònia Cardona (Formentera's land/tourism, infrastructure and community involvement councillors, respectively) met with the Palma administration's vice-president and tourism councillor, Biel Barceló, and president's office chief Pilar Costa, to see the project as it nears completion.

Improvements included a full overhaul of public utilities such as sanitation (rain water and sewerage) and water supply (for fire hydrants and street cleaning) plus burial of the overhead cables used for electricity and telecommunications. Crews also repaved the road surface, making use of the same stone that was used for upgrades of Plaça Europa's pedestrian walkways and the town's waterfront promenade.

Twenty per cent, or €484,000, of the current €2.4 million project was paid for with revenue from the sustainable tourism tax. The remaining 80 per cent (€1.9m) was financed by the Formentera Council.

Formentera woos Chinese travellers

Foto formentera shangaiCarlos Bernús, chair of Formentera's tourism advisory board, is currently in China for Shanghai's World Bridge Tourism Project, where participants are busily laying the groundwork for 2018 as the year of Chinese tourism in Europe. One hundred fifty European firms were invited to the series of day-long gatherings aimed at bridging the cultural divide through actions within the European Union and the People's Republic. One of the twelve Spanish entities tapped to participate in initiative was Formentera's Patronat de Turisme.

Over the course of the travel industry trade show, Bernús will sit in on some 15 meetings with tour operators and travel agencies in an effort to market Formentera's qualities as a destination spot. He pointed out that a February spike in flights between Spain and China coincides with the moment Chinese holidaymakers break for new year festivities—“a prime time to encourage travel to our island,” Bernús said.

Next year Formentera will once again attend China's forum for Spanish tourism, or FOTEC, scheduled for June 2018 in Shanghai. “The goal is not to completely overhaul our list of target markets,” clarified the head of tourism promotion, “but we want to position Formentera as an option for people travelling Europe during the off-season”. Getting there will require cooperation from the island's dining establishments and hotels, who, with minimal tweaks, can adapt to the needs of Chinese travellers.

Pest control efforts take aim at local mosquitos

estany pudent fotoEarlier this month, the Formentera Council's Office of Environment embarked on a push to bring mosquito and chironomid numbers under control in several areas of Ses Salines park. Efforts will be concentrated on standing water ponds—the pest's preferred spots to lay larva—around Estany Pudent, Estany des Peix and Salines den Marroig.

Preventive mosquito and midge controls make use of Bacillus thuringiensis Israeliensi, a natural insecticide which acts on mosquito larvae. It is considered biological treatment.

In 2017, two operators will be tasked with administering the treatment in two weekly sessions using ruck-sack units to spray the substance in its pulverised state. According to projections, the undertaking will require 24 full days and conclude in mid-October.

The initial cost is €22,944.19, though if problem areas are detected the administration can opt to expand treatment.

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