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Formentera flexes cultural heritage at World Travel Market

wtm londres 2018 1Only Balearic Island at Global European Market—'speed dating for international tourism'

The UK's biggest travel trade show, World Travel Market, opened its doors today in London for a run that will continue until Wednesday November 7. Three administration officials —chairman Jaume Ferrer, tourism secretary Alejandra Ferrer and department director Carlos Bernús— are in the City to attend the travelers' happening and promote the island at a stand shared with spokespeople from across the Balearics.

Tuesday at the WTM is for islands, and this year, to celebrate European Year of Cultural Heritage, Formentera is unveiling its brand-new catalogue of cultural heritage sites. Going beyond the purely cultural features of an island that has been home to a rotating cast of civilisations throughout history, the Formentera team will spotlight the island's physical beauty as well. Natural heritage sites put Formentera in a category all its own, and associated tie-ins abound, like the local network of nature trails, or rutes verdes, that gives visitors a fast-track to a vast stretches of the island's cultural and historic heritage.

Global European Market (GEM)
Formentera was alone among its neighbours at the GEM, a series of 12-minute one-on-ones, roughly thirty in all, where Council reps sat down with spokespeople from selected businesses —mostly from the UK, though some came from China, India and USA— to discuss a range of proposals. Carlos Bernús described the conversations as “very professional and very business-oriented. We certainly hope the interest our interlocutors displayed —in discovering Formentera and then heading back home to promote it— translates into action”.

Formentera will seize the occasion of the WTM to meet with British, Dutch and American travel agents and communication firms to begin planning for 2019 as well as related communication and marketing strategies. Gatherings will also be held with online portals and several airlines.

Tourism-ecology balance debated at Formentera's Posidònia Fòrum

foto-posidonia-forum-1The Formentera Council's departments of tourism and environment launched Posidònia Fòrum on Friday, a day for dialogue between business, island residents and the administration about tourism on the island, how it effects neighbouring ecosystems and how sustainable forms of it could promote sound use of natural and cultural resources, a stable economy and quality of life improvements for Formentera's inhabitants.

Posidònia Fòrum

The day, which kicked off at 9.30am in the Sala de Plens of Formentera's dependent care centre, had two points of focus—first, tourism and second, Save Posidonia Project-related initiatives.

Tourism secretary Alejandra Ferrer got the Fòrum going with an opening address. She was followed by journalist Carmelo Convalia's talk on changes in local tourism in the last decade. Convalia gave an overview of recent years that included the transition from the era of mammoth tour operators to à la carte holiday deals and online bookings. He also explored the shift from Italian mass tourism to the current trend of courting medium- to high-spending visitors as well as some of the attending pros and cons.

Up next was Carlos Bernús, head of tourism, who detailed Formentera's arsenal of promotional activities, from workshops with small-scale travel agencies, to trade shows across Europe, to pursuing off-the-beaten path travellers in China and North America. Bernús spoke about discounts and specially programmed events aimed at propelling tourism in spring and autumn, as well as reaching out to communication firms and niche media outlets and organising journalist junket trips in an effort to spread the word about Formentera.

Analysis of the so-called “tourist barometer” was handled by Ainhoa Raso of CEGOS, a specialised consulting and training firm. Raso looked at the barometer's most recent readings including responses from 864 individuals and identified some peoples' most and least favourite features. While people raved about the island's stock of beaches, vistas, safety and peace and quiet, they bemoaned high prices, crowds and noise, particularly during the high season.

After a break, environment secretary Daisee Aguilera ushered in the second part of the day with a report on SPP's progress in 2017 and 2018 as well as some of the take-aways. Participants then heard from Raquel Vaquer of IMEDEA about the group's Antroposi project.

Antroposi examines the footprint humans leave on posidonia meadows, monitoring the impact of marine traffic in shallow waters as well as the effects of the surging nutrient levels linked to treatment plant drainage and ballast water from ships. One more focus of the project is to study changes in the way posidonia siphons CO2 that are due to effluent waters and watercraft.

Up next, GEN-GOB's Xisco Sobrado led a presentation on posidonia and sustainable uses of marine ecosystems. The featured study, an environmental audit of mooring points on Formentera's coastline, strives not just to pinpoint the main points of impact and create use maps for those areas, but to offer a diagnosis of the health of posidonia meadows where ships anchor.

Moderated by Carmelo Convalia, La convivència, no sempre fàcil, entre el turisme I el mediambient (“Tourism and ecology: a sometimes tricky coexistence”) saw Vicent Tur, Santi Costa, Pep Mayans and Manu San Félix sit down to exchange perspectives and explore ways to align environmental safeguards with tourism, the economy and quality of life improvements for islanders.

After the discussion, San Félix took the floor to discuss Posidònia Maps, an application that proposes detailed maps of posidonia meadows, a crucial step towards protection from the anchors and chains of nearby ships.

Secretary Ferrer oversaw the Fòrum's closing, which included an overview of the day's conclusions.

SON Estrella Galícia Posidònia festival showers discounts on Formentera residents

foto-festival-son-1With support from the Formentera Council, the SON Estrella Galícia Posidònia festival will be back on the island from October 12 to 14. Part of Discover Formentera in October, the festival will mean three days of music, gastronomy and nature during which eager travellers can discover a brand new Formentera and experience the island in autumn, plus live shows, outings and delicious hometown food with a special touch from a Michelin-starred chef from Galicia.

Hours and locations

Artists and locations will once again be kept under wraps until the festival gets going...that's the magic of the event.

Perks for islanders

In a special bid to get islanders interested in this year's event, not only is there a free concert on Friday October 12 as part of La Mola's patron saint celebrations, there will also be a whole series of perks made available especially to residents.

Both Saturday evening and Sunday midday, islanders can purchase tickets for that day's event at a special price of €50. The all-inclusive price tag includes concert admission, food and drink.

To be eligible for the discount, islanders should visit http://bit.ly/2IAKCpE

Remember, space is limited.

Save Posidonia Project

SON Estrella Galícia Posidònia takes place with support from the Formentera Council and in association with the Save Posidonia Project. A similar partnership in 2017 resulted in the adoption of 10,000m2 of posidonia meadows.

October's a great month to rediscover Formentera

foto btt-formenteraThe Formentera Council's office of tourism unveils the newest edition of “Discover Formentera in October”.

It's the return of the twice yearly campaign of special discounts and deals to draw travellers at season's end (and beginning), serving up serious discounts on ferries, rental cars and lodging. For up-to-date info visit www.formentera.es.

Tourism secretary Alejandra Ferrer encouraged tourists to come get to know Formentera after high season. “The weather is still nice”, said Ferrer, “and visitors in October have a jam-packed —if slightly laid back— programme of culture and sports to look forward to”.

In 2018 two transport companies, Trasmapi and Mediterranea Pitiusa, are taking part in the “Discover Formentera” push, giving travellers 25% to 35% discounts on tickets. Fifteen local lodgings will slash prices by up to 40% and five car-hire agencies as well as two diving centres are joining the drive.

Gastronomic weekends

The two first weekends in October (5, 6 & 7 / 12, 13 & 14), a host of local restaurants will serve gastronomic sampling menus of typical fare for €20 (drinks not included).

Seven Formentera restaurants will offer sampling menus specially designed for the occasion. Some focus on time-honoured dishes and others go for fresh twists and rebooted versions of old classics, very often with exclusive, creative takes at affordable prices.

For details visit: http://bit.ly/2MIru9P


October 12-14 Formentera welcomes Son Estrella Galicia Posidònia, a 360º experience in gastronomy, music, nature and heritage.

Music: Lineup (as yet under wraps) of alternative artists performing acoustic and electronic sets.
Gastronomy: Formentera restaurants do gastronomy with the help of a Galicia-based, Michelin-starred pro chef.
Nature: Local guide takes participants to some of Formentera's signature spots, with stops in between to hear local artists perform unplugged.

For details visit: http://bit.ly/2MOiWOK

Save Posidonia Forum

Fresh off the success of the Save Posidonia Festival in 2017, this year it's the Forum. October 19 will see participation of biologists and NGOs like Greenpeace, Oceana and WWF.

For details visit: https://www.saveposidoniaproject.org/

October 12-14 it's the fourth Formentera ZEN, a competition with three full days devoted to health and wellness, both physical and emotional. Mindfulness, an organic food expo, yoga, dissemination, training and much more. For info and details about how to sign up, visit http://formenterazen.es/?lang=ca

October 11-12 it's La Mola's Festes del Pilar, an event with live music, traditional dance, kids' activities and a festive procession.

La Mola and Sant Ferran's craft and artistic markets will remain open, too.

Sporting events

October 6 will feature two events: the Formentera Triathlon and the Formentera Sprint. www.triatlonformentera.com

October 12, get ready for the 22nd Pujada de La Mola and a “bike ride round the island”, Volta Cicloturista a Formentera October 26-28. www.unisportconsulting.com/formenterabttrace

The Amics de Formentera group have put together the Volta a Peu, a “walk round the island”, for groups and in stages, this October 11 to 14. To see the programme and register, visit: http://amicsdeformentera.cat/

Formentera welcomes visiting 'Energy Observer'

foto energy observer 2Secretaries of tourism and environment Alejandra Ferrer and Daisee Aguilera stopped for a visit this morning at Energy Observer, the world's first greenhouse gas emission-free, autonomous, hydrogen-powered vessel, set to anchor the coming days in Formentera waters.

The futuristic, electric-propulsion vessel uses a mix of renewable energies and a system tuned to produce decarbonated hydrogen extracted from sea water. The system, which renders unnecessary the outsized batteries used in normal electric vessels, means a lighter, more efficient watercraft, and special built-in storage equipment makes the sporadic recharges of the past obsolete, both on land and at sea.

Partnership with Save Posidonia Project
During the visit the secretaries saw close-up how the boat works and spoke with the crew about Save Posidonia Project and Formentera's environmental and sustainability strategies.

In the words of the tourism secretary, “we're honoured—not just that the Energy Observer crew has chosen to include Formentera on its route, but to hear them talk about our island as one of the best preserved in the Mediterranean”. Ferrer said it was important to safeguard the island's natural spaces and pointed up 2017's Save Posidonia Project, in particular—“it's the reason behind our partnership with the Energy Observer and what allows us to work with the ship's crew towards life-preserving environmental sustainability in our seas”.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera called navigation on the Energy Observer “noiseless” and the vessel's emissions “basically innocuous”. A matchless experience, said Aguilera, “and one we hope will serve as an example for other ships in places like this where marine traffic is heavy and use of harmful fossil fuels is high”.

Raising global awareness
From 2017 to 2022, the Energy Observer's “Odyssey for the Future” will find the crew pulling in at 101 ports at fifty countries around the world as part of an effort to put cutting-edge tech to work in extreme conditions and feel out the planet's energy networks of the future.

The crew imagines the world tour as a showcase for innovation in environmental transition, and, in the case of the ship's travelling exhibit, social media and numerous documentaries, a chance to educate the world about renewable energy, biodiversity, low-impact agriculture, mobility and even the sharing economy.

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