24 Jul Discovering Innovatur (I)
Three tourist destinations and one shared challenge: the renewal of the tourism products and services in Los Cristianos and El Puerto de la Cruz, in Tenerife; Funchal, in Madeira; and Terceira Island, in the Azores. They all come together in the European project Innovatur. Here we speak with its members, who explain what this joint initiative consists of.
Luis Gutiérrez Valido (L.G.V.). Cabildo de Tenerife. Tourism.
Assis Correia (A.C.). Associação Comercial e Industrial do Funchal. Câmara de Comércio e Industria da Madeira.
Ricardo Martínez Cedrés ( R.M.C.) Turismo de Tenerife.
Sancha Cruz (S.C.) Câmara do Comércio de Angra do Heroísmo.
Can you define the Innovatur project in three words?
L.G.V: Opportunity, Unique and Renovation.
A.C: Modernisation, Innovation, Competitiveness.
R.M.C: Trasnational, Improve and Competitiveness.
S.C: Innovation, Renovation, Dynamism.
What do the Azores, the Canaries and Madeira have in common for them to be included in one same project for the modernisation of commerce and tourism, such as Innovatur?
L.G.V: They have many possibilities and they also have many needs, especially in terms of business and infrastructure. There is a lot of room for improvement still. What they have in common is the need to jump on the modernity train, adapt to change, redirect themselves and renew themselves.
A.C: These three regions are archipelagos that face challenges due to their remoteness and geographical discontinuity with the continental territory. They are tourist destinations that require modernization and adaptation to the preferences and expectations of their visitors.
R.M.C: The three regions share geography, proximity and a tourism reality that is more or less intense depending on the island.
S.C: First of all, they are three island regions, situated in the same ocean and distant from their respective countries. They are also three regions of outstanding beauty that have many natural, cultural and historical features in common. Although they are at different levels of the development and have different tourist profiles, the three regions have their priorities well defined for their respective areas of intervention and renovation objectives.
At what stage is the destination you represent as regards the development of tourism innovation?
L.G.V: At least there is a will to do it, and right now there is an opportunity because we have professionals who can guide businesses and both accommodation and commercial companies. In addition, at present, we have the funding required to do it.
A.C: Funchal is a very pleasant city with a strong tradition of tourism that has adapted itself, as far as possible, to the new trends and demands of its visitors. However, particularly in the urban commercial areas, obsolete and poorly adjusted establishments predominate. Their renovation and adaptation to the characteristics and modern standards required by tourists are of vital importance.
R.M.C: Obviously, the tourism sector is the most predominant sector in the economy of Tenerife. In some aspects, innovation is difficult, especially considering the association the island and its tourism activity has with the accommodation sector, but through certain projects and situations, such as the Tourism Innovation Factory (FIT), the town councils, Ashotel, works we are carrying out, many innovation and technological projects are being undertaken, which help to create new activities or to improve the already existing competition.
S.C: The island is receiving a growing number of tourists, and therefore the supply of facilities has increased, both in terms of accommodation, the products available and commercial spaces targeted at visitors.
What kind of visitor is being targeted in this tourism modernisation strategy?
L.G.V: We are not so much looking for a certain type of visitor, to attract them to the island. Rather, we are providing those who already come with what they want to find on the island.
A.C: Tourists who visit us don’t just look for a single product but rather a complete experience, following global macro trends that greatly influence the behaviour of the Tourism Sector.
R.M.C: What we are seeking is that those tourists who come continue to come, and continue to return. Tenerife has very high customer loyalty and return rates. Almost 70% of the tourists who come to Tenerife return; therefore, we are keen on continuing to attract them and on being competitive.
S.C: Tourists who visit the Azores are, above all, lovers of nature and outdoor activities, together with those interested in the island’s unique culture. The modernization strategy aims to tailor what’s on offer to this tourist profile.