European tourist islands advance strategies in the Canary Islands to match their competitiveness with that of the mainland

The Minister of Tourism, Industry and Trade of the Government of the Canary Islands, Yaiza Castilla, inaugurates the 1st Convention of these territories, assuring that “the devenike air jordan 1 mid se nike air max 270 men’s nike air max 270 men’s air jordan 4 military black red and black jordan 1 nike air jordan mid wmns air 1 mid air max retro 4 nike air max 270 women’s sale nike air max 97 wmns air max 270 air jordan 1 element nike jordan series 06 jordan air force 1 nike air max 97 gucci lopment of common proposals and projects will improve our resilience, reduce our weaknesses and multiply our opportunities and strengths”.

The President of Excelcan, Santiago de Armas, expressed his confidence that this first meeting will serve to initiate a joint action plan to be developed in subsequent editions in order to “lead the historic change that is going to take place in Europe”.

The 1st Convention of European Tourist Islands kicked off today in Gran Canaria with the firm intention of these island territories to develop common strategies that will allow them to become more competitive with respect to the continent. The Minister of Tourism, Industry and Trade of the Canary Islands Government, Yaiza Castilla; the President of the Association for Research, Study and Excellence in the Tourism Sector in the Canary Islands, Excelcan, Santiago de Armas; and the President of the Special Commission on Insularity of the Regional Parliament of Sardinia, Michele Cossa; were responsible for inaugurating this meeting which is being held today and tomorrow at ExpoMeloneras with more than 350 registered participants, to which will be added the people who follow the event ‘online’.

During the inauguration, the Councillor for Tourism, Yaiza Castilla, stressed the importance of “putting on the table the reality of a European island tourism with its own identity, from which to make a lever on which to promote a common tourism policy in the islands and archipelagos of Europe”. Castilla expressed her conviction that the singularities of these territories require it and that “creating a common space for collaboration between those of us who share so much has never been more pertinent than now, when the climate and energy crises are calling into question the very foundations of our industry”.

“We are aware that European island tourism, which we defend as an instrument for the creation of wealth and employment, is developed in fragile, vulnerable and limited territories, as well as being more or less distant from their natural markets of origin,” the Minister explained.

Hence, the challenges of sustainability, connectivity, digitalisation and the fair distribution of the wealth that tourism generates are of paramount importance, of which the islands are more aware, as Castilla emphasised. “Facing all these challenges through common proposals and projects will improve our resilience, reduce our weaknesses and multiply our opportunities and strengths“, concluded the minister.

In his speech, the president of Excelcan, Santiago de Armas, recalled that the pandemic and the war in Europe have damaged European economies and even more those that depend on tourism, making it more urgent than ever to “transform the tourism industry and make it more sustainable, accelerating measures and setting more ambitious goals for the 2030 horizon”.

De Armas explained the need for European tourist islands to come up with “a joint action plan to address the serious current challenges”, which is why the convention was created, with two central axes. “The first is to establish a new common European tourism policy to tackle the green and digital transition and, within this strategy, to pay special attention to the islands, the most vulnerable and damaged by the successive crises,” he said.

The president of Excelcan expressed his confidence that this first meeting will serve to initiate this joint action plan and that it will be developed in subsequent editions. “We don’t want to remain in the back of the pack, but to lead the historic change that is going to take place in Europe,” said De Armas.

Finally, the President of the Special Commission on Insularity of the Sardinian Regional Parliament, Michele Cossa, valued the importance of this convention in terms of achieving “recognition of the uniqueness of the islands and strengthening their position in the European Union as a whole”.

Cossa recalled that in June the European Parliament approved the ‘Pact for the Islands’, “which contains all the principles in which we believe and which we have been working for for a long time”. The representative of Sardinia expressed his conviction that “this meeting led by the Canary Islands will allow us to find the necessary synergies to advance along this path that has already been opened up. As of today, the appropriate conditions already exist to promote the necessary sensitivity in Europe and for the islands to have the same conditions of territorial competitiveness as the continent,” Cossa assured.

Analysis tables

The first day of the convention focused on the major challenges facing the tourism industry today: sustainability, digital transition and data management.
Under the title ‘European green islands in the face of climate change’, the first round table discussion, moderated by José Manuel Rodríguez, director of Atos Consulting Canarias SAU, focused on how tourist islands are tackling the challenge of climate change and sustainability. “We are talking about highly vulnerable territories and the only possible way forward is to be aware of our carbon footprint, by calculating and measuring it, in order to put all the measures in place holistically to reach clear reduction and compensation commitments,” said Rodríguez.
The regional director of Atos highlighted the importance of the Canary Islands as a leader in the decarbonisation of tourist destinations, always with technology as a base, and gave as an example the first carbon footprint calculator that will be at the service of the entire Canary Islands tourism ecosystem and that will accompany companies and entities on this journey to decarbonisation.
Pablo Lorenzo, Operations, Processes and Development Manager at Lopesan Hotels; Ireni Mikelis, Project Manager at Insuleur; and José Juan Lorenzo, Managing Director of Canary Islands Tourism, also took part in the round table, who recalled that “to meet the challenge of decarbonising our economy, the key is to measure to reduce, and this can only be achieved with the commitment and individual effort of each of the destination’s stakeholders”.
Lorenzo assured that “success will only be achieved if the movement is collective, massive, global, measurable, communicated and well orchestrated”. To this end, Canary Islands Tourism will provide small and medium-sized enterprises with a carbon footprint measurement solution that is adapted to their specific activity, easily understandable and oriented towards long-term work.
“We will provide them with the necessary support to be able to move forward, monitor and communicate at all times the progress of each company and that of the destination as a whole, all from a single centralised solution in the cloud based on international scientific protocols and at zero cost for businesses,” concluded the managing director.
The second panel, ‘European islands and digital transition’, included Francisco Morcillo, CEO of MB3 Gestión; Enrique Martínez, president of Segittur; Aurelio Domingo, expert in digital transformation; and Valentín Pagador, head of Business Development-Tourism at Telefónica.
This panel was moderated by Agustín Cárdenas, Director of Business Transformation at Telefónica, who emphasised that without digital transition there is no green transition. “Digital tourism involves providing tourist islands with intelligent management capabilities, integrating the tourism component into local management in order to anticipate adverse scenarios such as saturation or the potential negative effects of the activity”, explained Cárdenas.
It is therefore necessary to deploy an ecosystem of digital tools that allow the destination to provide the traveller with personalised attention and accompany them from the first stages of inspiration until they make a recommendation. “Technology is key, along with the talent of professionals in the sector, for the sustainability of island tourism. What is not measured does not improve, and continuous improvement is necessary for the adaptation and survival of destinations,” said the Telefónica representative.
The morning session ended with the ‘Data and People’ panel, with speeches by Juan José Cardona, founder of The Wise Dream; María Guardiet, director of Tourism Intelligence Projects, Planning and Connectivity of Canary Islands Tourism; and Ramón Sánchez, head of Strategic Projects, Travel Audience and Amadeus for Destinations.
Sánchez explained that today’s traveller “is becoming more and more informed, more and more aware of technology and is waiting for the destination to surprise him or her through the use of this technology, which is why we have to combine the needs of this traveller with the destination’s offer”.
The head of Amadeus explained that developments such as the metaverse, virtual reality or the ‘Internet of Things’ will generate “large amounts of data that we must combine with tools for estimating or forecasting visitor arrivals because, by combining these large numbers, we can make the traveller stay longer and spend more money at the destination”.

The convention

Climate, digital transition and connectivity are the focus of the programme of the 1st European Tourism Islands Convention, which will be attended by executives from the main national and international tourism companies, as well as representatives from the European Union, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and islands such as Gozo, Corsica, Crete, the Azores, Guyana, Madeira, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands.

Canary Islands Tourism, together with the Association for Research, Study and Excellence in the Tourism Sector in the Canary Islands, Excelcan, is organising this meeting, which has multinational companies such as Telefónica, Atos and Amadeus as co-organising partners, and the Starlight Foundation as a sponsoring partner.


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