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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

Formentera asks telecoms for better telephone and Internet coverage

foto 2022xi coberturaThe Formentera Office of New Technologies is pleased to report that the main telephone and mobile data providers have been asked to improve coverage and address communications problems on the island.

Vanessa Parellada, councillor of new technologies, and department chiefs, met with Ramon Roca, regional director general of modernisation and digital administration, and representatives of the main telephone and data providers (Telefónica, Orange and Vodafone). Also on hand for the meeting was Antoni Font, of the Telecommunications User Service Office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation.

The meeting was convened by Mr Roca at the request of Councillor Parellada, who explained the objective as "once again denouncing the communications problems that islanders face, and pooling possible solutions with representatives of the main service providers".

"Beyond historical 'dark zones' and summertime service issues, in recent months sectoral communities like taxi drivers and regular islanders have highlighted additional issues. Numerous incidents generating economic losses have been reported by companies and freelancers, many of whom work from home. "But this also affects people on a personal level", Parellada added.

Mr Font urged providers to carry out not only reactive but also preventive maintenance of infrastructure. For their part, provider representatives asked for more details on coverage issues affecting residents. To this end, islanders are asked to report any voice or data incidents to their telecommunications company and the Telecommunications User Service Office (usuariosteleco.mineco.gob.es).

The Formentera Office of New Technologies has agreed to collect the data requested by the telecom companies, and asked them to conduct an exhaustive review of existing infrastructure to assess and improve it if necessary. All those present agreed to follow up on the agreements reached.

24 November 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Consell d'Entitats meets to set fees and dates for formentera.eco in 2023

foto 2022xi pres for eco AYesterday at 7.30pm, Formentera's league of associations convened to review and evaluate the results of formentera.eco, the scheme to regulate vehicles brought and driven on the island in 2022. Attendees of the gathering reviewed two proposals on the fees and start and end dates of the scheme in 2023. On Monday 12 December, the Consell d'Entitats will reconvene for a second session to review feedback from the island's associations and vote on proposals.

President Ana Juan explained that this was formentera.eco's fourth year and the third year in which the number of permits to drive vehicles on the island is reduced. Since the scheme launched the number of permits available has been lowered by 12%. Next year Formentera will reach legislators' goal of cutting the number of permits by 16% in four years. Juan emphasised the importance of "continued work on policies that seek social and environmental equilibrium and quality of life for our residents". The president added that the new contract for public transport "will mark a quantum leap forward in the service for tourists and islanders".

Weighing results
Rafael González, councillor of mobility, trumpeted the results of the scheme in 2022. "There has been a significant and perceptible drop in traffic", he said, pointing up an 8.5% decline since 2017, while insisting on the need to do more. Visitors' average stay is up from 3.5 days in 2021 to 5.4 days in 2022 and single-day visits are down: in 2021 they made up 40% of bookings, while this year they accounted for 27%. "Day-trippers are still constitute a considerable portion of our visitors", conceded the councillor, but he asserted that "the situation has improved, and we think that can be traced to last year's fee rise, which penalised short stays by creating minimum per-day fees of €15".

González also drew attention to impressive increases in cycling and cab-hailing, which are up 150% and 70%, respectively, since 2017. Bus ridership has also returned to pre-pandemic levels, he said. With all these data, the councillor argued that, as agreed at the start of the term, the ceiling on vehicles must continue to be lowered and one-day stays must continue to be penalised.

Discussing fees and enforcement period
To continue with the regulatory scheme, attendees reviewed two proposals which they will now relay to their associates. Vanessa Parellada, councillor of citizen participation and moderator of the gathering, said a vote would be held next week on the terms of formentera.eco in 2023.

Start and end dates
Option 1: extended regulatory period (1 June to 30 September).
Option 2: no change (15 June to 15 September).
Option 1: doubled fees from 15 July to 31 August, no change during rest of season (€6/day with €30 minimum for cars; €3/day with €15 minimum for motorcycles).
Option 2: doubled fees for entire regulatory period.

This last proposal was included at the request of associations. As a second option, the Consell proposed maintaining fees at the 2022 level during the entire regulatory period (€3/day with €15 minimum for cars; €1.50/day with €7.50 minimum for motorcycles). By request from the participants of the Consell d'Entitats, the second option was replaced by the option of doubling the fee for the entire regulatory period.

24 November 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Consell de Formentera revives volunteer language exchange

The Language Advisory Service (SAL) of the Consell de Formentera is pleased to announce that it has reactivated "Shall we talk?" (Parlam?), a language exchance programme which consists in putting people keen to share their Catalan in contact with people keen to learn it better, gain confidence or simply practice it.

Whether volunteers or beneficiaries, participants need only be 18 or older, have one hour available per week and commit to meeting a minimum of five times. The first encounter is always arranged through the Language Advisory Service and takes place, after the first contact, in a local bar. In fact, the first round at this meeting will be paid for by the SAL.

Raquel Guasch, councillor of language policy, remarked that this initiative is about "creating new spaces for conversation where learners can use Catalan with more confidence".

To register, interested parties should send an email to sal@conselldeformentera.cat and a first meeting will be arranged with the language partner based on availability.

24 November 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

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