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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.

'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.”

Special afternoon of 'La Ventana' in Formentera

Carles Francino fotoWith nearly one million listeners tuning in to hear Cadena SER's radio programme La Ventana, the show, hosted by Carles Francino, has got higher ratings than any other in its slot. Next Friday, Francino and the show's crew are packing their bags and setting sail for Formentera. From 4.00 to 8.00pm, the crew will broadcast a special episode, live, from plaça de la Constitució in Sant Francesc.

Seeing the event as an unparalleled opportunity, Formentera's tourism advisory board (el Patronat de Turisme) has decided to back the show by bankrolling its 13,000-euro production costs. Securing such promotion, says CiF tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer, is one of the board's duties. “The Patronat's work involves collaborating with local, family-themed programmes that place importance on the things that make us unique,” she said. According to Ferrer, the fact a programme is broadcast in the off-season makes it even more liable to attract the board's attention. Such programmes are more likely to appeal to tourists coming from the Spanish mainland, which, the councillor added, “have got the most connections to Formentera and constitute the island's biggest low-season market.”

On the day of the programme an audience area will be set up on the Sant Francesc square and all of Formentera is invited to come out to see the show recorded live. Ferrer, suggesting other audiovisual collaborations might be in store, said the Council was currently in talks to programme more events like this one.


Certificates of completion for students of quality tourism courses

Entrega diplomes PimefToday in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council, councillor of commerce Alejandra Ferrer and Pep Mayans, president of the Formentera small and medium-sized business association (PIMEEF), handed out certificates of achievement to students of the PIMEEF's Council-sponsored courses. Some 130 individuals participated in the training sessions, which spanned ten days and were designed to improve students' skills in retail work settings, leadership and tourist customer service. Additional courses were focused on traditional Formentera pastry-making and cocktails.

According to Councillor Ferrer, the courses were aimed at “providing workers and tradesmen training opportunities to improve the services offered to visitors and residents.” In the councillor's words, the initiative is “less about infrastructural improvements and more about bettering the quality of services provided.” The PIMEEF president thanked participants for taking part in the training and stressed the importance of promoting such opportunities on the island. The Council has provided €15,000 in funding for the courses. 

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