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Formentera takes quest for green tourism to London

Wtm foto grup 2017The World Travel Market, England's largest travel trade show, began its three-day run today. As the expo cranks into gear, tourism secretary Alejandra Ferrer and the chief of the island's board of tourism, Carlos Bernús, will be on hand to represent and promote the island to London travellers.

Aside from a presence at the Balearic Islands' stand, where tourism students from UIB have been enlisted to speak to expo attendees, Formentera shares a stand with Menorca and Mallorca that sits opposite the fair's central hall, a location that Councillor Ferrer assured had “great visibility”.

Sustainable strategy
According to Ferrer, for the islands' designated day tomorrow, a presentation before representatives of at least 15 media outlets will focus on individual islands' “sustainability strategies”. She said they planned to take stock of the Save Posidonia Project and “talk about our ambition for increasingly earth-conscious tourism. Like we always say, it's about quality, not quantity”.

At the same time, the Formentera reps are sitting down with travel agencies, tour operators and public relations firms to plot out communications and marketing strategies for their UK markets. Forecasting a handover of tourism promotions authority “in the next few months,” Ferrer described the Council's plan as “getting to work winning back our British travellers, particularly with the good connections that Eivissa has in the off-season and through winter”. The Council, she said, hopes to pander to Brits by promoting the array of activities on the island “that don't involve sun and beaches,” like birdwatching, gastronomy, sport and culture.

The Formentera agents are reaching out to specialised firms and media outlets to sniff out more diverse fairs. Looking ahead to the transfer of authority on travel promotions to Formentera, the island, said Ferrer, is scouting for tourists interested in “typically low-season activities”.

Sneak peek at small business group's training courses

Foto presentacio pimefAt 11.30am this morning in the hall of ceremonies of Formentera Council's central office, the small and medium-sized business association of Eivissa and Formentera, or PIMEF, hosted a presentation on a series of training courses soon to be offered by the group. Pep Mayans and Lidia Álvarez, PIMEF's chairman and director, were joined at the event by Alejandra Ferrer, trade secretary for the Formentera Council, which is partnering with PIMEF to put on the training.

Eight courses, offered at PIMEF's office from October 24 to November 6 and subsidised by the Formentera Council, are free and open to the public. The classes are part of a partnership between PIMEF and the Council on business training and consulting.

24/10    Assistència sanitària immediata (“First-response patient care”). 4.30pm to 8.30pm. Pimef office
26/10    Parlar de convèncer (“Talk about conviction”). Coach Brigitte Bobet. 6.00pm to 8.00pm. Pimef office
31/10    Control i aprofitament de matèries primeres en cuina (“Tracking and maximising products in the kitchen”). 4.30pm to 8.30pm. Pimef office
2/11    Disseny d'ofertes gastronòmiques (“Designing a gastro experience”). 4.30pm to 8.30pm. Pimef office
6/11    Higiene Postural en perruqueria i estètica (“Good posture for beauty specialists”). 5.00pm to 9.00pm. Pimef Office
9/11    Burnout. Pràctiques MINDFULNESS per l'estrès laboral (“Using mindfulness to tackle work-related stress”). 4.30pm to 8.30pm. Pimef office
14/11    Community Manager. 4.00pm to 8.00pm. Pimef Office
16/11    Aparadorisme (“Window dressing”). 4.00pm to 8.00pm. Pimef office

To register, contact the Pimef by phone at 971322520 or send an email to info@pimef.es.

Formentera's craft workers receive accreditation

Foto entrega diplomes artesansEarlier today, Jaume Ferrer and Alejandra Ferrer, the president and trade secretary of the Formentera Council, presented six local artisans with accreditation as artisans and one as master artisan.

As the secretary pointed out, currently, there are 80 individuals on the island with cards certifying them to work as artisans. Secretary Ferrer says that makes for better markets and puts craftspeople in a position to display and sell their work locally.

The “Artisan Card” (Carta Artesana) authorises its holder to vend in craft markets and attend specialist industry events. The “Master Artisan Card” (Carta de Mestre Artesà) certifies its holder has a minimum of ten years' experience in his or her speciality and is capable of offering classes on the subject.

Javier Álvarez de Lara received the Master Artisan Card as a specialist in dry-stone walls. Carolina Yuste and Mónica López received their Artisan Cards specialising in object decoration. Alba Maria Álbarez is now accredited to produce her handmade cloth dolls, or pepes, and Miguel Morey is qualified as a fine carpenter. Helena Maria Amaral and Maria Isabel Escandell obtained the Artisan Card too, the former as a leatherworker and the latter as a coppersmith.

Spain's Red Eléctrica adopts 6,000-sq.-m. stretch of posidonia meadows

Posidonia oceana-juan cuetosRed Eléctrica de España, which operates the country's electricity grid, has agreed to adopt 6,000 square metres (m2) of posidonia meadows, part of the Formentera Council-backed Save Posidonia Project. With their €6,000 donation, Red Eléctrica lend support to an initiative designed to fund posidonia conservation projects.

Tourism secretary Alejandra Ferrer applauded Red Eléctrica for helping the Council on a project originally created by the administration to highlight the year of sustainable tourism. The goal, said Ferrer, is to bring the message of sustainability across to tourists and residents to ensure that future generations can continue enjoying our island.

Sponsored so far: 89,349m2
Red Eléctrica's contribution brings the current total of protected posidonia meadows to over eighty-nine thousand square metres. Donations received from private citizens and businesses to November 1 will go to benefit projects designed to protect posidonia. Visit https://www.saveposidoniaproject.org/es/ to adopt one square metre for one euro.

Representatives of the company say that preserving posidonia is part of a broader commitment to sustainability, fighting climate change and promoting biodiversity. The operators of Spain's power grid and sole administrators of the country's transport network hold up their operations developing and servicing underwater power cables as a model to follow in protecting the plant, which is native to the Mediterranean and immensely important to the local ecosystem.

Together with IMEDEA, Red Eléctrica spearheaded a push to safeguard the underwater plant posidonia oceanica with a cutting-edge strategy to collect and sow posidonia seeds and cuttings in an effort to rehabilitate damaged meadows. The project ran from 2014 to 2016 in the bays of Santa Ponça on Mallorca and Talamanca on Eivissa and ultimately led researchers to determine the technical and financially viability of such efforts.

Company representatives said a partnership with the Govern balear's ministry of environment was behind the recent printing of thirty thousand pamphlets. The educational material is intended to raise awareness about proper anchorage and prevent damage to seagrass meadows or undersea power lines.

Save Posidonia Project festival: hundred plus activities to educate people, save seagrass meadows

Foto presentacio sppOfficials gathered today to unveil details about the Save Posidonia Project festival. Scheduled to take place October 12-15, the four-day programme of over one hundred activities encompasses sports, culture, education and the environment. Tourism secretary Alejandra Ferrer, on hand for the morning presentation, framed the festival as part of something bigger—Discover Formentera in October—which she predicted would be “a fun-filled event for many tourists”.

Water sports
An organised ride round the island will unfold in stages and four different modalities: kayaking, kitesurfing, windsurfing and paddle surfing. Other activities will be related to meditation and yoga.

Show in town centre
Most of the activities will play out in Sant Francesc's town centre. Between plaça de la Constitució, avinguda Porto Salè and jardí de Ses Eres, stands will play host to arts and crafts displays featuring posidonia seagrass.

There will also be a fashion show engineered by local designers. The event will culminate with a “subaquatic runway show” starring two very special models: Gemma Mengual and Cristina Piaget.

For four days, the town square will be transformed into audiovisual space featuring a rotating lineup of environment-related projections. Other shows, which will run the gamut from sustainable mobility and live painting performances to community beach cleanups and sailboat gatherings, will all have one thing in common: sustainability.

Kids' workshops
Of course, it wouldn't be a festival without children, which is why Thursday to Saturday a spate of kids' workshops aim to use a blend of fun and education to get their message across. There will even be a cohort of Mallorca school children here to better understand environmental sustainability.

The Posidonia Forum happens Friday, October 13, in the municipal cinema. The programme will feature conferences and debates with world-class organisations, government administrations and personalities dedicated to tourism and the environment. Later gatherings will include roundtable discussions on the future of tourism and the environment on Formentera.

Environment councillor Daisee Aguilera said the gathering was focussed on “taking stock of posidonia conservation efforts and planning for how the task will look moving forward”.

83,000m2 of sponsored seaweed
Donations to date put the area of adopted posidonia meadows at 66,656 square metres (m2). With an additional 17,000m2 already pledged and set to be added this week, a grand total of 83,000m2 has been safeguarded. Money raised till November 1 will go to fund posidonia conservation projects. Donations can still be made at https://www.saveposidoniaproject.org/es/, at a cost of one euro per metre squared.

Conditions of entry are available on the Balearic employment office, or BOIB, website, as well as the home pages of the Council and the Save Posidonia Project. Applicants will have two months to submit project proposals beginning November 1, when donations close and a definitive fundraising total is established. Projects will be split into three categories: environmental stewardship, awareness and science. Winning projects will be chosen by an expert panel.

Two tour operators—Germany's TUI Care Foundation and Dutch company Corendon—are studying the possibility of covering 100% of the cost of two Save Posidonia Project initiatives.

The 2017 Save Posidonia Festival has been scheduled to coincide with the celebration of Year of Sustainable Tourism. Though conservation fundraising is one priority, another—and no less critical—is hammering the message about vital safeguards for posidonia oceanica, tourism that is respectful of the local ecosystem and taking steps to insure Formentera remains a sustainable destination.

For his part, tourism advisory board chief Carlos Bernús hailed the more than twenty individuals of ten different backgrounds expected to be covering the event. Most of those that have expressed interest in the project represent nationalities that visit Formentera already, such as the Italians, Germans, French, Dutch, etc. “The Formentera brand will be about natural heritage, conservation and sustainability,” said Bernús.

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