Why the island needs everyone to work together
Do you ever get the impression that someone, somewhere wants Tenerife to stay in the 20th century rather than move with the times?
It seems that when projects start within the Island’s control, they either achieve success or are completed on schedule. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case when there is outside interference or other parties involved which diminish Tenerife’s control.
Take the insular ring road, for example. Tenerife Cabildo and business representatives recently joined forces to press for the unlocking of infra-structures on the island, including completion of this route.
They believe there is an “inequality” between Tenerife and Gran Canaria, saying that in the same week this important project was frozen, a new highway was opened on Gran Canaria.
You can see their point. Now, they are having to fight for an estimated 20 million euros to finish the stretch between Adeje and Santiago del Teide.
Completion of the ring road would substantially cut journey times and make the north accessible from the south in just ten minutes rather than 40 minutes. Businesses say it will also help to maintain and create jobs.
The committee says it is not looking for confrontation or litigation but for a balance of investment, as Tenerife residents have the same rights as others to a first-class infrastructure.
They do indeed but why does the Island have to fight for everything? There’s an old saying that local people know best and nothing could be more true when it comes to Tenerife, yet getting something done about it often seems to involve hitting a brickwall.
Take tourism, for example. Tenerife Cabildo and its tourism department know only too well how to attract visitors to the Island and mounts an extensive campaign to do just that. Yet obstacles in their way include the abolition of concessionary airport bonus rates which has undoubtedly led to a drop in tourists coming here. Not a substantial drop but it is just so frustrating that figures have proved there is a direct link between preferential airport taxes and visitor numbers.
This in turn is affecting the number of airlines who put on routes to and from Tenerife, including the budget airlines, and therefore impacts on connectivity. Tenerife knows this so why don’t the powers that be? Are they perhaps afraid that the Island will become too popular and attract even more people away from holidays on the mainland? Or is there some sort of jealousy about Tenerife’s success and a feeling that it should be clamped?
The same is true of the train projects. Yet again, Tenerife Cabildo knows a train route for both the north and the south is essential for the future of the Island. It would link both parts of Tenerife instead of making them separate entities and lead to greater job opportunities, business and a fairer balance of tourism for both.
Can the project go-ahead yet as planned? No, because the funds are not forthcoming even though train projects are progressing elsewhere in Spain.
It was interesting to note that during a recent conference in La Laguna, both Cabildo president Ricardo Melchior and tourism chief and deputy, Carlos Alonso called for “more autonomy, freedom and independence” for Tenerife.
Sr. Alonso said there was no question of asking for special treatment, they just wanted councils to have more freedom to decide.
“We would have more opportunities to exploit our capabilities,” he said.
Last week, another incident happened which bears this argument out. Not surprisingly, Tenerife was delighted when British Airways decided to come back to the island after an absence of nearly five years and wanted to make a bit of a fuss about the inaugural flight from Gatwick to Tenerife south. A press conference was planned to help with vital publicity but for one reason or the other, the airport authority AENA refused to allow it at the south airport. Instead, it was held in London.
Why this latest obstacle? Why is it that when one body wants to move forward, another puts obstacles in the way. Shouldn’t everyone be working together for the benefit of Tenerife?
Tenerife Cabildo has now called for a regional management change of AENA and reveals there have been a succession of problems over the last few months. It has also expressed concern about the new terminal at the south airport being under-used, despite millions of euros having been spent on its construction.
What Tenerife wants is for everyone to work together and yes, to have more autonomy. It’s time the Canary Government and Spain realise that to prosper and flourish, the local view is invariably the most sensible one and the path to follow.