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Tourism

Formentera asks for labour checks year round

Presentacio Pla de Lluita premsaAt eleven this morning in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council, the Govern Balear's secretary of employment, trade and industry, Iago Negueruela, was joined by CiF president Jaume Ferrer, councillor of land management and tourism Alejandra Ferrer, and director general of occupation and economy, Llorenç Pou, for a presentation of a plan spearheaded by the Palma administration this summer aimed at combating worker exploitation.

Negueruela outlined the plan's repercussions at the local level, which were felt by a total of 148 workers. According to the secretary, «121 workers who previously had temporary employment contracts saw these converted into indefinite arrangements, while another 27 had their workday extended».

The Formentera Council president praised the swiftness of the new regional government in implementing the plan and taking on job insecurity, and noted «the Council has called for just such a plan since 2007, when we took office». He said the plan responds to the demands of business associations like the Pimef and reconfirmed the Council's intent to continue working with the executive branch on the matter. Though Ferrer asserted that the bulk of unqualified professional practise and job insecurity is experienced during the tourist season, «periodic checks in other sectors – like construction – are needed during other parts of the year». The call was well-received by Negueruela, who concurred: «These are checks that need to happen in the winter as well».

Two new programmes
The regional secretary thanked the CiF administration for assisting in the plan's implementation at the local level and announced the roll-out of two additional initiatives: a youth guarantee workshop and another programme, developed specifically for unemployed Formentera residents above 45, «to re-enter the work force with the help of special six-month job contracts». At the end of the morning's press conference, the officials, together with CiF councillor of social welfare and human resources Vanessa Parellada, visited the local job-seekers' office (SOIB).

At WTM in London, tourism reps tout Formentera as ideal training site for athletes

triatlo premsaToday was the first day of the World Travel Market, the most important day in tourism promotions on the English calendar. CiF president Jaume Ferrer, tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer and head of the local tourism advisory board (el Patronat de Turisme) Carlos Bernús met before media and travel agency representatives to give an idea of some of the most important sports events slated to take place this season on Formentera. The half marathon, triathlon, the lighthouse-to-house race (de Far a Far) and the Formentera All Round Trail were just a few.

But, said Councillor Ferrer, they explained to WTM attendants that Formentera is more than just a backdrop for sports events: «We underscored the fact that the island is absolutely ideal for athletic training. Fortunately, they don't have to look very far — at our very first Olympic contender, windsurfer Mateo Sanz, or the 32 different green trails offering athletes the chance to get in shape in an unbeatable setting — to see this is the case».

Conversations with members of the press and travel agencies were aimed at getting the word out about several more niche tourism attractions — like the island as a destination for photographers and birdwatchers. «Our idea», said the councillor of tourism, «is try to increase numbers in the pre- and post-season». After the presentation portion of the event, the island's catering college served a gastronomic sampling and wine from the island's own Terramoll vineyard.

Formentera asks Govern Balear for accord on tourism spending

Illetes Alfredo-Montero webEarlier today, the Formentera Council's office of tourism sent a letter to the Govern Balear urging «the start of a negotiation process to turn the transfer of authority on tourism promotions into a reality». With the negotiations on that transfer expected to continue beyond the first semester of 2016, In the missive, Formentera's tourism councillor suggested signing «an interim agreement to enable the local tourism advisory board» — el Patronat de Turisme de Formentera — «to assume responsibility of tourism spending».

In a letter addressed to regional tourism minister Biel Barceló, Councillor Alejandra Ferrer describes the Patronat's work in recent years with the entirety of the public and private sectors of Formentera. «In particular», she wrote, «the board has focused on defining and improving the image of our island. In addition to developing a multi-pronged approach to marketing Formentera's particular brand of tourism to different sectors, they have succeeded in at once establishing the loyalty of the Italian market and diversifying our business by incorporating both the national and German markets». Proof of their efforts' success, Ferrer points out, are the unwavering high occupancy rates even throughout the economic crisis.

In the letter, Councillor Ferrer noted the previous Govern Balear administration's refusal to reimburse the Formentera Council's 2011 spending on tourism promotions — and their refusal to reimburse spending over the four years that followed (2012-2015) — despite the Palma government's signing of an agreement to that effect. Now, after Formentera's rejection of the previous administration's proposal to fund a tourism promotion transfer on the grounds that it was too meagre, Councillor Ferrer is requesting a return to the negotiation table «in order to hammer out a plan that truly complies with the text of the Balearic statute of autonomy and represents the consensus of all the regional island councils, while at the same time covering our tourism promotion costs».

Biel Barceló presenta l'Impost de Turisme Sostenible a Formentera

Foto visita vicepresident premsaEl president del Consell de Formentera, Jaume Ferrer, s'ha reunit avui matí amb el vicepresident i conseller de Turisme del Govern Balear, Biel Barceló, a la Sala de Plens del Consell de Formentera. A la trobada també han assistit la consellera de Turisme, Alejandra Ferrer, i el conseller d'Hisenda, Bartomeu Escandell, així com la directora general de Turisme, Pilar Carbonell.

En aquesta reunió, els responsables balears han presentat l'esborrany de l'Impost de Turisme Sostenible. El president del Consell de Formentera ha explicat que ara la institució insular «estudiarà el projecte per saber com funcionarà l'impost i tindre temps per fer aportacions per millorar-lo». El vicepresident i conseller de Turisme ha assegurat que «una vegada es presentin les propostes dels consells insulars es millorarà el màxim possible la proposta del Govern».

Tramitació
Fins al novembre es recolliran les propostes dels consells, i després s'elaborarà l'avantprojecte de la llei, segons ha declarat Biel Barceló que ha avançat que «en uns dos mesos s'aprovarà la norma en Consell de Govern perquè s'inicii la tramitació parlamentària abans de final d'any, es debati en el Parlament durant el primer trimestre del 2016, i s'aprovi en el segon trimestre de 2016».

Inversions mediambientals i turístiques
Respecte a les inversions que es faran amb la recaptació de l'impost, Jaume Ferrer ha explicat que Formentera respondrà a les «demandes mediambientals o del sector turístic per millorar zones envellides». En aquest sentit, Biel Barceló ha dit que «qui coneix millor les necessitats de cada illa són els mateixos consells i que a més les peticions de Formentera quadren amb la finalitat de llei, que tracta de donar prioritat a les inversions mediambientals». D'altra banda, el president del Consell de Formentera ha destacat que «és important que els turistes coneguin en què s'inverteix l'impost que pagaran».

Pel que fa a la promoció turística el conseller de Turisme del Govern ha declarat que «en vista el 2016 se signarà un conveni puntual amb Formentera perquè les accions de promoció es facin de manera coordinada i l'illa disposi de recursos». Biel Barceló espera que durant el 2016 es negociïn les condicions del traspàs d'aquesta competència i que la transferència «sigui una realitat durant el 2017».

Formentera expects of Govern same will to compromise re: tourism promotion as that displayed during finance law negotiations

seccio insular FRM 190115This morning by video conference call, a meeting was held of the Formentera section of the mixed transfer commission regarding the transfer of authority on tourism promotions. Similar versions of the same meeting will be held with Mallorca, Menorca and Eivissa to preface the work to be overseen by each island's mixed transfer commission.

In the words of Formentera Council President Jaume Ferrer, the meeting was “disappointing given that representatives of the Govern remain unwilling to change even a comma of their original proposal”. However, with time left on the clock before the final meeting is convened, Ferrer indicated his belief that “the Govern still has time to rectify things and adopt a position of compromise”. Evoking the lead-up to the law on financing of the island councils, Ferrer recalled “a real willingness to negotiate on the part of the Govern...[At that time] our island was listened to and a real effort was made to make the accord happen”.

According to President Ferrer, “Formentera wants this accord. We are not acting capriciously here. We make our living almost entirely off of tourism and want our say chiefly because we need it. However, it is clear that the behaviour of the Govern is not one of an institution seeking an accord”.

Support from the local board of tourism

Yesterday, 18 February, in a meeting held by the local board of tourism (el Patronat de Turisme), representatives of the tourism and business sectors of the island voted unanimously to reject the present conditions of the authority transfer. Concurring that the proposal in its current state was neither fair nor sufficient, Patronat attendees found that acceptance of the conditions would be “irresponsible”.

Tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer indicated that the rocky progress of negotiations had been set at the beginning. She lamented: “Mallorca has been allowed to set the rules of engagement, while at the same time, they have already made their position perfectly clear. [Mallorca] would prefer for the authority transfer not to happen, that tourism promotions remain in the hands of the Govern Balear in Palma. The situation is illogical, because Mallorca's goal is clearly for control to remain in the hands of IBATUR, the Govern entity presently charged with tourism promotions across all four islands. What Mallorca wants is for IBATUR to retain a maximum of financing and infrastructure”.

Ferrer explained: “As a result, the dialogue shifted and people began calling the change a transfer of authorities, although in reality it's nothing of the sort. [The current plans] call for the staff, structure and majority of the budget of IBATUR to remain where it is, and that entity would continue operating in favour of Mallorca. Meanwhile, the other three islands would be required to construct a new infrastructure from the ground up, doting it with a staff and budget allowance that can barely cover attendance at tourism trade shows. In a word, nonsense”.

The councillor of tourism continued: “So, to start, we had Mallorca insisting they didn't want the transfer to happen and yet they have been the ones defining its evolution. And now, adding insult to injury, not one of our suggestions has been accepted over the course of negotiations. We have thus ended up with a proposal from the Govern that includes a minuscule allocation for Formentera. While the overall budget for tourism in the Balearics grows and the allocation of each of the other three islands grows with it, Formentera is left with a quantity that will remain more or less at its initial level. This would mean, from year to year, a steady loss of ground with respect to our competition”.

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