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Plenary participants champion expanded assistance for tourism sector

foto 2020 ple agostMembers of the Consell de Formentera gathered today for local government’s August plenary, an encounter that brought cross-party support for a proposal on expanding furlough packages and targeted aid for tourism sector businesses and employees. Alejandra Ferrer defended the proposal “in light of the unfolding pandemic, ongoing flare-ups and associated restrictive measures”—measures which the president affirmed constitute “serious obstacles for business owners and job holders on our island, particularly given Formentera’s summer-centred economy”.

Assembly members voted to urge Madrid to fund a doubling of furlough packages for companies for whom new outbreaks and decisions taken by leaders at the local and international level have meant forced closures or lost revenue due to cancelled bookings or reduced activity. They called on the central government to put in place targeted assistance for companies and workers in the tourism sector—a sector which, as President Ferrer pointed out, “is particularly reliant on summertime tourism, and even more so in the Balearics”.

Plan for seniors
Assembly members gave united backing to the Consell de Formentera’s pledge to activate an Integrated Plan for Formentera Seniors (Pla Integral de Gent Gran a Formentera) to “continue working with central and regional government administrations to tackle loneliness among the elderly”.

Vice-president and seniors’ department consellera Ana Juan spoke about care received by Formentera’s old people during the pandemic as well as the wider relevance of local seniors. “The public health crisis has intensified the problem of unwanted solitude here in the Balearics and across the country”, she said, calling on “engagement at every level of government in order to rout it”. Juan insisted that building awareness around the issue was a top priority, and highlighted the importance of “enlisting science and statistics to take specific steps to address the issue and prevent it”.

Scheduling for 2021 bank holidays was adopted as well. Given the feast days of Sant Jaume (25 July) and Sant Ferran (30 May) fall on Sundays, assembly members voted to observe the island’s festival days on the feast days of Santa Maria (5 August) and Sant Francesc (3 December).

OAC service in La Mola and Sant Ferran
Sa Unió party members proposed opening satellite Citizen’s Information Offices (OAC) to tend to islanders in La Mola and Sant Ferran—a measure that won the support of both the GxF-PSOE governing team as well as the opposition. Economy, tax office and general services chief Bartomeu Escandell offered that as soon as the Covid-19 crisis and budget allocations permit it, the expanded OAC service will “improve and facilitate the way islanders in the two neighbourhoods engage with local government”.

Cross-party backing additionally came for a Sa Unió motion to convene the Supervisory Board of the Formentera Audiovisual Administration. Culture chief Susana Labrador indicated the most recently scheduled session of the board had been suspended amid emergency orders and highlighted plans for a new meeting in September.

Report by Bartomeu Escandell
Bartomeu Escandell, who heads the local departments of economy, taxes and general services, stood before assembly members to take stock of the efforts in his remit, noting “every single aspect of these departments’ work has been affected by the severe public health and economic crisis we are facing”. On the subject of finances and taxes, Escandell said “the Consell’s books are in order and we’re on footing that’s sufficiently strong so we can cope with the challenges of these new times of crisis”. “If our administration’s financial solvency has any real value, it’s that it can help us diminish the sting of the pandemic and aid our people in tough times like these.”

As the government office that is closest to the people, Escandell emphasised the importance of “having our own resources so we can act efficiently to help people tackle problems. As we face the worst crisis of our time, our challenge at the economic level is to stay in a position where we can be providing the entirety of our services, and remain by the side of those who need us most.”

Escandell also indicated that during the months of strict lockdown, remote working proved viable across the distinct departments of the Consell, including those under the conseller’s responsibility: accounting, the clerk’s office, hiring and the OAC (Citizen Information Office). “The challenge was to dialogue with islanders across the OAC”, said Escandell, pointing to sharp increases in the number of islanders using the OAC’s online portal, the OVAC. “We saw a great deal of commitment to quality service on the part of staff”, he added, “who, as soon as the easing out of lockdown measures began, resumed providing services by appointment”.

27 August 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Appealing to business owners, Formentera urges quality service through summer’s end and longer season for local workers

foto 2020 es calo dronConsell de Formentera president and tourism chief Alejandra Ferrer asked owners of establishments catering to tourists for “responsibility and support by keeping businesses open as long as possible after August”. “With the help of a committed local business community we can demonstrate a capacity for keen management as a tourist destination and offer service to all those making the decision to visit Formentera even as the going gets tough”, the president put forward.

Businesses that extend operations further into the season will do their part by continuing to generate local jobs “and in doing so, help many islanders get through what is expected to be a difficult winter”, she said. Multiple levels of government are working to assist workers and entrepreneurs “in important issues like furloughs”, she indicated, and underscored that now those same workers and entrepreneurs must help too by showing solidarity.

“We know it’s a difficult season and we applaud the efforts of the tourism sector”, she said, adding that “work must continue as long as the bookings keep coming in September”. “We’ve been saying from the start that this summer isn’t about making money, but rather establishing Formentera as a tourist destination with shrewd management and quality service. Our efforts this year will have a direct bearing on the 2021 season”.

Courting travellers in the Balearics
The marketing division of the local tourism office is overseeing promotional campaigns within Spain, with special focus on the other islands in the archipelago. “Our neighbours across the Balearics were among Formentera’s first visitors when de-escalation measures began”, she said, “and if the public health situation permits, we hope they’ll be among the last to leave”. “The aim is to have Formentera in a position to give all our tourists with top-tier service from season’s start to season’s end”, she concluded.

25 August 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Coming to life in 2020 at an array of outdoor locations, Formentera’s runway show goes virtual

foto 2020 passarella Earlier today islanders were treated, courtesy of the Formentera Department of Commerce, to the first details about an event which health and safety concerns surrounding Covid-19 have forced into a new online format: the Passarel·la de la Moda. First vice-president and commerce chief Ana Juan and department staffer Amalia Mora shared the scoop on the runway show’s thirteenth year—a presentation including a promo video which found filmmakers visiting a host of Formentera settings with a crew of local companies and six professional models in tow.

“We didn’t want to deprive our hometown designers of this chance to share their designs”, said Consellera Juan, who described the aim of the virtual catwalk as “an ever-expanding promotion of local businesses and designers”.

According to Ms Mora, filming of the clip was “adapted to the island’s natural characteristics and set in backdrops of stunning natural beauty”. She also promised leading-edge jewellery, apparel, footwear and accessories in a format which Mora assured was designed to “support the creators themselves and promote locally crafted wares worn by locals”.

This year’s Passarel·la will see the participation of Equilibre & Tito Solaris, Ur Joies, Janne Bikinis, Michele Crocitto (Vesti l’Arte), Elena Hurtado&Lorenzo Pepe, Majoral, Macramé & Acho, Ishvara, Kavra de Formentera and Molly Malone. Consellera Juan applauded the work of the hair and style professionals at Aquario, the models who participated in the video, and the video’s director, Alfredo Montero. “Alfredo has managed to capture not just the essence of Formentera fashion, but the island’s natural beauty and treasures as well”, she quipped.

Crews produced both 2- and 12-minute versions of the clip, which will be shown at expos for fashion, tourism and television. The 2020 Passarel·la de la Mola will be broadcast in an array of international expos starting this September.

The organisers of this year’s Passarel·la had €20,713 to pay and find housing for models, produce the video, and cover hair and make-up costs.

Last year’s Passarel·la saw crowds of approximately 1,500 descend upon Sant Francesc to see jewellery, shoes and, above all, Formentera’s characteristic style. The assemblage of top-tier avant-guard creations was inspired in the natural spaces, sea, colours and life of Formentera—a Mediterranean lifestyle which has today become its own style of dress.

“We hope that next year’s Passarel·la returns to its customary format”, confided Consellera Juan. “What better proof that post-pandemic life on the island is back to normal?”

24 August 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Sent home last week as preventive measure, summer school group returns to class

The Consell de Formentera reports that today marks the return to summer school programming for a group of children at the Sant Francesc Escola d’Estiu campus who were sent home Thursday 20 August amid concern over a possible exposure to Covid-19. Families learned yesterday that their children would be able to resume normal attendance at the summer school from today after the test results of the individual in question came back negative.

As for the situation at the municipal sailing school, local government is awaiting results from screenings late last week of approximately eighty students. The second group of Escola de Vela instructors will undergo PCR testing today, the results of which will be available in the coming days.

24 August 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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