THE CANARY ISLANDS: new & improved

by Norman Warwick to friends in the UK and elsewhere

Given that Lanzarote had for many years been increasing its millions of new and return visitors to the island it might be tempting to think that, as we learn to ´live with covid´, as the UK government advises seemingly with its scientists as naysayers, we simply need to offer more of the same old same to bring back the hundreds of planes a week that used to land at our airport. That might be a reasonable  assumption to make, as I was relieved to be re-assured by an article in the current July August September magazine, Lanzarote viva.

I´m not quite sure what I am supposed to precisely deduce from this but apparently The Canary Islands are ´hoping for´ a 25% recovery in tourism in June, 50% in September and a release of 1.4 million air seats from October onwards´.

The excellent magazine was informed by a piece from Yaiza Castilla, the Consejera de Turismo Gobierno del Canarias (Tourism Minister in the Canary islands Government). She developed her theme on the sentence in the paragraph above.

Acknowledging that new opportunities arise out of adversity, Señora Castilla said that her department is developing ways of offering alternatives to the traditional models of  ´sun and beach tourism´.

´We have been promoting some alternatives to ´sun and beach´ holidays for a long time now,´ she told glossy Lanzarote viva magazine that produces many of tis articles in side-by-side Spanish and English.

Yaiza Castilla

´We have focussed instead on holidays geared for Nature and Sports lovers or families, weddings, gastronomy, culture and identity, LGBTI and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) to the business sectors. We´re now looking for further new markets, that generate longer stays, such as the ´silver´ market or so called ´digital nomads´. In fact we are hoping to attract 30,000 professionals over five years with a marketing plan based on the concept of ¨Your office. with the best climate in the world.

We can provide ´digital nomads´ with high quality broadband in co-working and co-living space, compatible working conditions and date line. good flight connections, lower cost of living, reduced taxation, the use of the Euro, personal and legal security and an exctraordinary natural setting.

Recent technological and digital advances in the tourism industry have made it possible to create a more individual profile of each of the eight Canary Islands, and we are in the process of taking that advance one step further. We now have a marketing strategy that has taken a qualitative leap. from market segmentation to personalisation, by focussing on the needs of each and every tourist. Our new web site at holaislascanarias.com is equipped with state of the art data-management technmology that allows us to adapt to the individual tourist, enabling us to send recommendations and alerts tailored to their tastes. It pinpoints the places they visit, their interests and where they spend most of their time.

A Manrique wind toy
ubiquitous on Lanzarote

Lanzarote, for example, attracts tourists with a wide variety of interests, which reflect the range of attractions the island offers such as The Cesar Manrique Centres Of Art, Culture and Tourism, unrivalled sports tourism facilities and, of course, the unique natural landscape with its jewels that include spectacular volcanoes and stunning beaches.

The Minster believes we have reason to be more than just cautiously optimistic.

´On May 14th of this year, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark approved The Canary Islands as a covid-safe destination and the UK are shortly to do so, too. The outlook for tourist figures on the island is good for the ´winter season´. We have invested over three million euros in a strong marketing campaign and have collaborated in co-marketing campaigns with airlines and tour operators.

A CRUISE LINER IN ARRECIFE

As for cruises, The Canary Islands have been one of the few airlines in the world to receive cruise liners during the pandemic, and further scheduled arrivals remain in place.´

It is instructive, perhaps to remind ourselves how cruise line operators ´sell´ Lanzarote as a destination.

Located on Lanzarote’s east coast, Arrecife is the capital city of this tropical volcanic island, and is the gateway to a world of rugged landscapes, stunning beaches and amazing wildlife. Understandably, most people come to this part of the world to do little more than lounge around on the shore while basking in the year-round sunshine, although there is a lot more to discover here if you’d rather do a little exploring. A quarter of the island’s surface is covered by the Timanfaya National Park, which is a moonlike region of volcanic rock, punctuated by the stunning Montañas del Fuego – or Fire Mountains. The views across this island from the tops of these geological monsters are simply breath-taking. Alternatively, you may want to stick to the coast, where you’ll find no shortage of superb beaches that are perfect for soaking up some rays as well as getting active in the water. Indeed, the island is famous for its water sports, as the winds that circumnavigate the isle are perfect for activities like windsurfing and kite surfing. There is also a fantastic array of marine life to discover beneath the waves, with whale and dolphin watching excursions available at certain times of year.

It is good to be mindful of that, rather than simply, if understandably, lamenting what we have lost from our recent past, such as live arts and sports events, Yaiza Castilla and her tourist team have, after all, been hard at work seeking to not only protect that glorious past but also to create an even brighter future.

Despite her AUA (Annoying Use of Acronyms) and technical jargon she sounded, nevertheless, to have her finger on the pulse, and to be calming and reassuring about the situation in a way that politicians in the UK have patently not been.

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