Christine M. Watterson Maó
Bright colours and three-dimensional images are used on the advertisements to promote the Balearic Islands which are currently being shown on more than seven German television channels and, from April, will feature on British stations. Tennis star Rafael Nadal is the central figure in the 3 million euro campaign to attract tourists to the region and, although the adverts cover all the Balearic Islands, each island is individually represented; Menorca by the fiesta horses, the port of Maó and the local gastronomy. The advertisements were shown at the FITUR tourism trade fair held in Madrid last week and appear to have been well-received by those viewing them.
The Island Council has also produced an advertisement, which will be broadcast on British and German television from this month, showing Menorca's attractions, other than the sun and beach aspect. Images of sailing, the fiestas, golf and diving are just some of the 12,000 that the Fundació Destí holds that can be used to change the advert at a later date. The aim is to show that Menorca is not only ideal for family holidays but also for the more active tourists. In addition to being broadcast on television, the first steps have been taken towards showing the video on the world's main on-line audiovisual website; youtube.com.
The island needs all the publicity it can get as, according to Aurelio Vázquez, president of the association of hotel chains, bookings for Menorca are down 20% in Britain and 15% in Germany compared to last year. Tour companies have warned that a holiday in Menorca will cost a British family 40% more this year than in 2008, due to the low pound to euro exchange rate.
The tourist foundation, Fundació Destí, used the FITUR fair to make contact with tour operators and low-cost airlines, such as BMIBaby and Jet2.com, to try to attract them, and thus the holidaymakers, to the island this summer.
The Menorca Activa association was also present at the fair, to promote complementary tourist activities, such as sailing, car hire, shops, bars and restaurants. General information on the island, including a map and contact details for tourism-based services, were handed out in folders and also interactive CDs.
ASHOME, the hoteliers' association, presented its updated holiday booking website, the increasingly popular and comprehensive visitmenorca.com, at FITUR.
Certificates for 17 beaches
At the end of the year, 17 of Menorca's beaches will have a certificate of environmental quality (ISO 14001). At present, ten beaches hold this award - six in the Ciutadella district, two in Alaior and one each in Ferreries and Es Mercadal. The beaches aspiring to be added to the list this year are Sa Mesquida, Es Grau, Binibèquer, Punta Prima, San Adeodato, Sant Tòmas and Son Saura (Son Parc).
As more people become "environmentally aware" it is increasingly important that the island shows potential visitors that it is "environmentally friendly".
Ferreries Council is playing its part in helping to sustain the beaches, in this case the various services, by reducing the prices charged for the beach concessions at Cala Galdana (three restaurants, a bookshop, sunbed and sun umbrella rentals, and boat, kayak and jet ski hire).
The Council decided to lower the prices this year in view of the current difficulties faced by the tourism sector.
Nevertheless, anyone thinking of taking on the concession to hire out sunbeds and umbrellas will have to pay 287,000 euros for the privilege for one year.