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Formentera to elevate heritage, strengthen primary sector and more with €2m investment from Plan for Sustainability in Tourism Destinations

The Office of Finance and Economy of the Consell de Formentera reports that it will invest €2,000,000 from the 2022 Plan for Sustainability in Tourism Destinations to drive heritage restoration, create an agricultural interpretive centre in La Mola, install photovoltaic panels, promote local products and bolster big data, as explained by Bartomeu Escandell, finance councillor.

Escandell gave an overview of the four axes of funding to modernise and improve tourist destinations:

- One: green and ecological transition, €600,000. Create a rural interpretive centre and self-sustainable farm on Casa Ferreres estate in La Mola and rehabilitate the Casa Ferreres home. Es Garroveret defence tower will also be rehabilitated and its hiking trails improved.

- Two: energy efficiency, €1,000,000. Install photovoltaic panels and recharging points in public car parks.

- Three: digital transition, €200,000. Invest in digital transition; through the Data Observatory, collect information for tourism big data to enhance the destination and digital marketing.

- Four: competitiveness, €200,000. Promote local agri-food products. In this way, the primary sector, which generates a circular economy, will continue to be supported and promoted.

These plans are part of the state programme to modernise and improve tourist destinations. The programme has been prepared by the Secretary of State for Tourism with the participation of the autonomous communities and island and town councils. To that end, at the proposal of the Department of Economic Model, Tourism and Labour, the Governing Council has approved €36.3 million in direct subsidies for the island councils of Menorca, Formentera and Mallorca and various Balearic town councils. Formentera will receive €2,000,000.

23 May 2023
Office of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Formentera unveils record €38.4m budget for 2023: 13.5% bigger than in 2022

foto 2022xii pressupostToday Ana Juan, Alejandra Ferrer, Rafael Ramírez and Bartomeu Escandell (president, first vice president, third vice president and councillor of finance, respectively, of the Consell de Formentera) presented local government's 2023 budget. Total spending tops €38.4 million, marking a 13.5% increase from this year's budget of €33,835,500.

The president affirmed that the final year of the legislative term would see the Consell de Formentera managing the "highest budget in the history of this institution". "The administration's dual role as town and island council means we are essentially service providers", she said, "and that is the focus of this budget: continued deployment of the social policies that make up the DNA of our cabinet parties". The president highlighted more funding under the Councils Act –the total is now €11.4 million– and imminent final approval for Senalló 4.0, a project encompassing commerce, crafts and locally-focused policies which, though outside the scope of the 2023 budget, will receive €1.2 million in funding from the European Union.
Juan described the island's financial situation as "healthy" and declared that, in the face of the energy crisis and inflation, "we are prepared, if necessary, to direct everything at our disposal to support the people, freelancers and small businesses that need it most".

For her part, Vice President Ferrer stressed that behind the Consell de Formentera's largest ever budget were shared efforts by the two parties of the cabinet and asserted, "We have always worked in consensus for the sustainability of the island". Ferrer underscored "sustainability in terms of the local environment, but also in terms of people, and of striking a balance between the economy and quality of life of the residents we work to serve".

Councillor Escandell reviewed the evolution of the institution's budget since 2008, and traced its record size in 2023 to increased current transfers under legislation on funding for island councils, increased capital transfers from Next Generation EU funding, and the municipal administration's own improved fiscal efficiency. The spending plan also envisions 2023 roll-outs for new services like the old people's home and the scheme to regulate watercraft anchored at Estany des Peix. "We will also keep ramping up assistance for Formentera's fabric of associations, because despite the global crisis we face, the Consell de Formentera is a healthy, financially stable institution. Our budgetary deficit is still zero, with €6 million in strategic reserves to deal with externalities that may arise", said Escandell.

The councillor underscored €5.6 million in investment, including €380,000 (of €550,000 total) for a home for minors and €360,000 (of €1.5 million) to equip Es Ca Marí with sanitation. The investments will also translate into upgrades on Carrer Gregal in La Savina and at Sa Roqueta and funding to make Carrer de Santa Maria pedestrian only.

The budgets will continue to allocate resources to local production, with €270,000 to build an oil mill and €350,000 to develop the road network and improve road safety. In sport, a line item of €200,000 will mean new stands at the football pitch and new padel tennis courts. (The total budget of the two projects is approximately €1.5 million.)

In culture and heritage, €300,000 has been set aside for the Casa de la Roda Interpretation Centre in Ses Salines – half the total price-tag. Another €50,000 will go to the Espai Cultural de Sant Ferran, and €250,000 will go to rehabilitating Sa Capella de sa Tanca Vella and Can Ramon.

The budget also envisions €100,000 for new recycling plants and another €600,000 for solar panel-equipped pergolas in public car parks. One hundred thousand euros will be unlocked for projects in big data in tourism and €250,000 will go to technological infrastructure projects. Lastly, €325,000 will be allocated to the Participatory Budgets of the Consell d'Entitats.

15 December 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Presentation of Balearic budget on Formentera

foto 2022xii pressu governToday Rosario Sánchez, Balearic finance and foreign affairs minister, and Josep Marí, Balearic minister of mobility and housing, presented the new regional budgets to Ana Juan, Alejandra Ferrer, Susana Labrador, Rafael Ramírez and Bartomeu Escandell (the president, vice-presidents and finance councillor, respectively, of the Consell de Formentera). In the morning, the officials also met with and presented the spending plan to social and economic actors on the island.

In 2023 the Balearic Government's Formentera-specific spending will reach €25.4 million, a record high, with direct investment to grow and a historic €11.4 million to be allocated to finance the municipal government. These are some of the standout features of the Balearic Government's draft general budget for 2023, which, according to Minister Sánchez, is currently moving through parliament.

President Juan underscored features of the budget like "aid for stronger social cohesion, fiscal measures to deal with the effects of inflation and the energy crisis due to the war in Ukraine, and quality of life improvements for residents across the board". She also pointed up passage of an amendment presented by the deputy of Formentera, Antonio J. Sanz, for €120,000 to fund a new field of buoys for ecological moorings. "Work must be ongoing and include more policies to protect our sea", Juan asserted, "the goal being to gradually safeguard the entire coast of Formentera".

Among various lines of assistance, the officials underlined €0.6 million for a winter benefit of up to €600 for the unemployed, including eligibility for employees considered "fixed discontinuous".

Roughly 54 Formentera residents will benefit from a 15% increase in the guaranteed social income. Ultimately retained in the budget, the increase will mean 148 beneficiaries receive doubled dependency benefits in December and January. As well, roughly 26 local families will be able to forego co-pays at day centres and for home assistance, both essential for dependent individuals.

One line item which has continued to grow in recent years is localised spending, which in 2023 will hit €25.4 – 57%, or nearly €10 million, more than in 2022. This figure includes current and capital transfers to the Consell de Formentera, which next year will top €14 million, as well as close to €11 million of investment in government departments and companies and entities of the regional public sector (a year-on-year increase of 159%).

Additional investment will be funded through the Sustainable Tourism Fund (ITS) as part of the 2023 Plan, endorsed by the Commission late October, which will account for a total of €2.4 million for Formentera.

Particularly noteworthy are line items of €1.2 million to implement sewerage and upgrades at the tourism centre of Es Ca Marí, and €320,000 to guarantee Formentera's drinking water supply.

Funding increase
At €11.4 million, funding for Formentera reaches a new high, increasing €2.5 million from €8.9 million last year.

This is equivalent to an increase of 137%, or €6.6 million more, compared to the €4.8 million Formentera received in 2015.

Public housing and 061 base
Two point six million euros will go to build a development of 17 public housing units and €2.7 million to build a local emergency response base.

In education, the budget includes €326,000 to expand IES Marc Ferrer, as well as money to start drafting plans to expand CEIP El Pilar and to implement accessibility upgrades at CEIP Mestre Lluís Andreu.

In employment, €0.7 million euros will go to active employment policies for various local groups.

As for investments for the Balearic Energy Institute, the spending plan envisions a millon-euro storage project to make the island's electricity system more stable. In energy transition policies, plans envision continued installations of solar panels and other renewable energies in public spaces (€127,000); promoting self-consumption in public spaces of the region (€250,000) and opening an energy transition office (€141,517).

Water cycle and treatment plant
Next year substantial environmental investments will mean money to promote the water cycle, including by installing a new tank at the island's desalination plant (€885,035) and the start of plans to expand the wastewater treatment plant at year end, which will receive €4.6 million in total investment.

In agriculture, fishing and food, water quality improvements will come from a €200,000 investment in the Formentera reservoir, plans for which include regenerated water and efficiency upgrades in water pumping. Another point of interest for Eivissa and Formentera residents is an 103% increase in the basic, per-hectare payment under the new common agricultural policy (CAP).

The budget also forecasts investments through the regional public entity of telecommunications and innovation (IBETEC), including €716,667 for Formentera's channel-based provision of fibre optics and €188,376 for stations equipped with emergency services communication systems (TETRA).

Under the Graves Plan, approximately €80,000 will help put in motion phase two of plans to exhume Cementeri Nou in Sant Francesc and conduct a graves study at the historical cemeteries of Sant Francesc, La Mola and Es Pujols.

The budget also includes about €15,000 for travel grants which the Consell de Formentera awards university students; €75,000 for the Formentera Museum Foundation and Cultural Centre; €28,000 for the Ethnological Museum and €10,000 for the "Vive la cultura" programme.

2 December 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Formentera hosts presentation of CES report on Balearic economy, employment and society in 2021

foto 2022xi memoria cesToday Ana Juan and Bartomeu Escandell, president and finance councillor, respectively, of the Consell de Formentera, met with Rafel Ballester Salvà, president of the Economic and Social Council (CES), to present the CES's 2021 report on the economy, employment and society of the Balearic Islands. After the meeting, Josep Valero González and Anna Grau, secretary general and head of studies, respectively, of the CES, joined in a presentation before representatives of the media.

President Juan described the CES's work as "essential", and "key to our having a more accurate picture of Formentera's social, economic and environmental situation." She also highlighted the entity's coordination with the Formentera Data Observatory, which "will help us make future decisions that our island needs".

Councillor Escandell hailed the increasingly disaggregated nature of data in the report, and the fact that information is presented in relation to Formentera and not to Pine Islands at large. "There is still work to be done", said Escandell, "but we value the improvement." The finance councillor also highlighted "the important role of the Formentera Data Observatory in supplying the CES with information".

In 2021 the regional GDP shrink 20.6% - more than any other autonomous community in Spain. However, the 10.4% expansion that followed was not only more impressive than rebounding growth in the other Spanish regions, it also far outpaced Spain's recovery as a whole (+5.4%) and that of the rest of Euro zone (+5.1 %).

From 2017 to 2019, the Pine Islands' GDP grew faster than in the rest of the islands, but in 2020 it shrank by more than a quarter (25.4%). Dependence on tourism and foreign tourism in particular laid bare a vulnerability to sectoral fluctuations, despite the fact that 2021 also came with strong signs of resilience and an 11.8% uptick in the GDP that outstripped recovery in the rest of the islands. At 15.6%, Eivissa and Formentera's projected GDP expansion in 2022 will continue to outstrip the growth witnessed by our neighbours.

However, in 2021, the Pine Islands continued to fall short of pre-pandemic figures, with rates of change in GVA that remained negative across the region: -12.4% in the Balearic Islands as a whole; -11.9% on Mallorca; -11.1% on Menorca and -16.6% in the Pine Islands.

In the Pine Islands, the market services sector represents a larger share of the total regional GVA (71.4%), slightly above the regional average (71%). While service sector activities vary widely, the predominance of tourism is near absolute.

In 2021, the region received 8.7 million tourists, almost triple the total recorded in 2020, but still half that of 2019. Of all the visitors to the Balearic Islands, 22%, of 1.91 million, came to Eivissa or Formentera. Two thirds of our visitors are foreigners, and one third are Spanish. Ninety-four per cent of travellers come to the Pine Islands in the medium-high season.

On average, visitors stay in the Pine Islands 6.6 days - below the Balearic average of 7.2 days. And yet, their daily expenditure is higher in the Pine Islands (€146) than elsewhere in the Balearics (€141). On average, each tourist in the Pine Islands spent €963.60 in 2021.

The hydrological drought index measures changes in the availability of drinking water from surface sources and groundwater (in a given management system and over an undetermined period of time) which may prevent demands on the system from being met. In this regard, Formentera was in a pre-alert situation for four months in 2021 (March, May, June and July).

In 2021, Formentera had five ABAQUA boats for posidonia patrols. Checks were carried out on 66,518 vessels (the highest figure for all the islands) and 824, or 1.2%, needed to be moved.

In 2020, the pandemic and litigation meant that waste removal operations were not carried out along the island's coasts. A year later, one of 21 vessels in the Balearic Islands was stationed at Formentera. In 2021, 2,551.28 kg of litter was collected from the coastline, a 30% increase.

Formentera has seven swimming areas. In 2021, 100% were rated excellent, the best figure of the entire archipelago.

As for the local job market, in 2021 the number of affiliated workers increased by 9.8% (elsewhere in the Balearics the figure was 2.4%). Formentera's rate on the seasonality index -which compares the number of affiliated workers in July and December- was 144.1% (elsewhere in the Balearics it was 26.1%). In July there were 2.4 more affiliated workers than in December, which highlights the high seasonality of the island. In 2021, 87.9% of all new contracts reported were in the services sector (the share in the Balearics as a whole was 82.8%), 10% were in construction (12.7%), 1.2 % in industry (3.4%) and 0.9% in agriculture (1.1%). After 2020, an atypical year in which lost-time workday accidents were halved, they increased by almost 44% the following year (exceeding those reported in 2019).

In 2021 only four autonomous communities reported population gains, among them the Balearic Islands, with 1,465 more people. The year closed with a total of 1,173,008 residents. Among the characteristic features of the Balearic Islands is a high proportion (46%) of residents born outside the region. Specifically, 21.6% were born in another autonomous community and 24.4% -the highest rate in Spain- were born in another country. On Formentera, 64% of the population was born outside the Balearics -the highest figure in the archipelago. More specifically, 30.8% were born in another autonomous community and 33.2% were born abroad.

Individuals over the age of 65 account for 16% of the total population in the Balearics - for the first time, this group represents a larger portion of the total than individuals under 16 (15.6%). On Formentera, however, the share of under-16s (13.1%) is still comparatively larger than the share of over-65s (12.7 %). The average Formentera resident is 41.3 years old. In 2021 the average pension was €803, well below the Balearic average of €967.

At €107,711, the average of residential properties is 27% above the Balearic average, and the figure has increased by 402% since 2011. Since 2020, building permits  in the Pine Islands increased 60%, the highest increase of all the islands.

24 November 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

In 2023 regional funding to Formentera reaches €11.4m–up €2.5m from 2022

foto 2022x financamentToday Ana Juan and Bartomeu Escandell, president and finance councillor of the Consell de Formentera, respectively, together with Iago Negueruela, regional minister of economic model, tourism and labour, unveiled the Balearic government's planned funding for Formentera in 2023. At €11.4 million, the figure exceeds this year's package by €2.5 million.

As highlighted by Minister Negueruela, with the draft budgets for 2023, the Balearic government plans to provide the island councils with "the most funding to date, for an overall year-on-year uptick of 28.8%". If approved, the combined increase of nearly €124 million will set a new funding record of €553 million.

The president of the Consell described the funding bump as "good news for Formentera because it enables us to advance in self-government and direct management so we can continue developing actions and projects to improve the island's social equilibrium". Juan insisted that with social policies, "understanding and coordination between the local and regional administrations is crucial".

Councillor Escandell also applauded the funding boost, and voiced hopes that it would be "structural and not temporary, enabling us to continue making Formentera a better island for residents and visitors".

Formentera's funding from the Govern balear has gone from €4.6 million in 2014 to €11.4 million in 2023.

Elsewhere in the islands, the Consell de Mallorca will receive €392.4 million–an increase of €87.9 million compared to 2022. The Consell d'Eivissa will get €77.8 million (€17.2 million more than this year) and the Consell de Menorca €71.5 million (€7.5 million more). Overall, the current shape of regional funding in 2023 would mean an expansion of about 104% compared to 2015.

Today's data represent funding under Balearic legislation on financing for island councils (Law 3/2014) and are based on previsions of non-financial income and liquidated resources from 2021.

7 October 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

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