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Supreme court nullifies section of law on tourism in Balearics

foto consell premsaThe superior court of justice in the Balearic Islands (TSJB, for its initials in Catalan) issued a partial ruling on the Formentera Council's suit challenging Decret 20/2015, a statute of the regional tourism law. The court, finding Title II of the statute does not comply with the law, declared it to be null.

In its verdict, the TSJB says the law's preamble contradictorily pledges to provide the Balearic island councils with “broad freedoms” —an idea which is reiterated in nine of Title II's chapters— to develop the content of the different chapters. However, the ruling reads, “the affirmations made in Decret 20/2015 are fictitious”, pointing out that “in practise the councils aren't given the ability to regulate on areas of local jurisdiction”.

According to CiF tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer, the verdict is proof that the regional tourism law encroached on the authority of island councils. (The island of Mallorca, which has never been given authority on tourism, presents an exception.) Formentera's legal services will now study their next move. Annulment, they say, is a possibility. In Ferrer's words, “it is our belief that the rest of the decree's titles are also contradictory, given they fail to bestow the island councils with the legislative authority which they are due”.

Rural revival, a prize for sustainable tourism

foto camp es capFormentera Council (CiF) president Jaume Ferrer, tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer, and chair of the Formentera Farmers' Cooperative, Carlos Marí, will attend an awards ceremony celebrating sustainable tourism in the Balearics in 2016. The ceremony is scheduled for 8.00pm in the Baluart museum of contemporary and modern art of Palma de Mallorca.

The Council will be awarded a prize for the best initiative in sustainable tourism for its rural revival project, Recuperació del camp a Formentera. The bid to establish a reserve of land is also an effort to promote jobs needed to preserve rural landscapes or return them to their earlier state and jobs in vegetable and livestock farming. Such initiatives, explained President Ferrer, help to preserve Formentera's culture, customs and local identity.

“Preserving and caring for our countryside means working our fields and protecting everything that makes the Formentera landscape unique”, said Ferrer. On Formentera, an island dedicated 100% to tourism, it is absolutely necessary to take clear steps and create incentives to work in the fields and in livestock farming. Such rural revival makes up an important part of sustainable tourism to the extent that it helps preserve our culture, customs and identity, ultimately the reason people visit our island.

The president expressed his thanks for the honorary award, an effort to disseminate, recognise and incentivise best practises in the Balearics, promoting the islands as destination in quality, sustainable tourism.

50 years of love on Formentera

diadelturista1This morning, Thursday September 22, as part of the island's tourist-appreciation day, Dia del Turista, the Formentera Council made a special salute to Federico and Gisela Schmidt, celebrating 50 years of Formentera visits. The couple took their first trip to the island in 1966. For many years the two spent their time on Formentera in a house in es Ca Marí, which they later sold. Since that time, they have spent their visits to the island lodging at their daughter's house in Venda des Pi des Català. Despite a recent spill at home, Federico made it out to the island to celebrate his 93rd birthday. “Every fibre of me loves Formentera. All I wanted was to be here today”, he said. Molts anys i bons!

Discounts, bonuses and fun activities are back...and all part of 'Discover Formentera in October'

nightskyEarlier today the Formentera Council's tourism bureau pulled the curtain back on Discover Formentera in October, a bid to boost pre- and post-season tourist travel to the island leveraging special offers and bonuses. “October is the perfect time to come spend a few days on Formentera,” proclaimed the island's tourism board director, Carlos Bernús, who invoked a mild climate ideal for late-summer swimming and a beefed-up calendar of events as two of the island's most potent draws.

Gastronomic Weekends
The first and second weekends of October, various restaurants will offer sample menus of typical island cuisine for a lean 20 euros. The idea is to encourage tourists to visit the island before or after the traditional high season, but as Bernús acknowledged, the effort has also become a hit among locals.

Activities
Brand new this year is Formentera Astronòmica, an event whose subtitle —“the universe at your fingertips”— is indicative. Bernús described the initiative in the following terms: “For 70 euros, participants will get a chance to discover, photograph, observe by telescope and otherwise marvel at Formentera's fabulous nighttime skyscape.” For the complete programme and to signup, visit www.formenteraastronomica.com.

In addition, this year, from October 8 to 11, residents and visitors will see the return of Formentera Zen, promoting approaches to healthy living. The entire programme can be seen online at www.formenterazen.info and registration costs 350 euros.

Sports
Sporting events on Formentera are a mainstay. Formentera's fourth annual triathlon is scheduled for October 8 and signups is possible on the website, www.triatlonformentera.com. Volta a peu a Formentera (“the walk round Formentera”) runs from October 8 to 11, and offers participants the opportunity to hike the island in groups and in multiple stages. Head to the www.amicsdeformentera.cat website for details and registration.

Local celebrations
El Pilar de la Mola's popular festival (“les Festes”) is another towering figure on the island's list of attractions. Live music, traditional dance, kids' activities and a procession are all on the agenda for locals and tourists alike starting October 12. Up-to-date information can be found at www.agendaformentera.cat.

Discounts
Transport companies offer discounts on boat tickets for the Eivissa-Formentera route for tourists that stay in any one of the 21 hotels and tourist lodgings that have signed up for the island's ploy to bolster off-season visitors. Three rental car agencies have also pledged to give discounts to tourists and active tourism firms offering bonuses. Details are available at Formentera's tourism webpage, http://formentera.es/beta/ca/content/descobreix-formentera-loctubre-2016.

Regional minister outlines push for consumer protections in car rentals

foto reunio consumThe chief of the Balearic Islands' bureau of consumer affairs, Xisco Dalmau, met today before members of Formentera's rental car sector to lay out a campaign championing consumers' rights when they hire cars. He described the push —an initiative fronted by Dalmau's office— at a gathering of local business and community leaders known as the “Council of Entities” (Consell d'Entitats). Alejandra Ferrer and Rafael González are the heads of Formentera's tourism and mobility offices, two branches of local government that are also pushing the campaign. They too attended today's event.

Dalmau framed the initiative as a way to “raise awareness about the rights of consumers and other individuals linked to the rent-a-car sector”. He also touted another of his office's goals: a code of best practises for the sector, something he described as “a seal of excellence for businesses that meet the requirements of the code”. Councillor Ferrer hopes the code can be adapted to Formentera's philosophy, and that it can be done with help from the rental car business community. In her words, the code will protect local enterprises in a number of ways, for one, “by ensuring optimal conditions and taking aim at unfair competition”.

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