Photo: Tenerife Cabildo.
Updated 8 November 2017: It’s just over a year since Tenerife president Carlos Alonso launched the “big warm hug” campaign in the shock of the UK’s Brexit vote in the referendum, and now he is in the UK, for the World Travel Market, and has used the opportunity to propose that the Canaries should be excluded from the effects of Brexit. The president says that he envisages maintaining current conditions between the UK and these islands “in accordance with the specific provisions of the EU’s Outermost Regions Policy” which gives ultraperipheral status to those areas of the EU furthest away from the European continent.
The Canaries is one of the regions covered by the policy and, says Alonso, permits exceptions such as he is proposing in this case. Other exceptions are, for example, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the customs union or fiscal policies. The measure the president is calling for would maintain the four basic freedoms which allow free movement of people, services, capital and goods between the UK and the Canaries, and “would let us keep our economic and social relationships and friendships as strong as they always have been, very important for Tenerife in particular since the British market is the main one for us from a tourism point of view”, said Alonso.
Whether there is any mileage in this from a negotiating or legal viewpoint is one thing, but it is reassuring once again to get the sense of value that the British community, residents and visitors, has for Tenerife.
Original post 8 July 2016: “A big warm hug” is the slogan for a new Tenerife Cabildo and tourism business campaign aimed at the British holiday market in the wake of the Brexit vote in the recent EU referendum. The campaign was unveiled at a press conference this morning by Tenerife president Carlos Alonso, who expressed his affection for the British and their friendship, dating from before the UK joined the EU, and his confidence that we will remain friends of Tenerife. The campaign aims to repay the loyalty of British tourists with a big warm hug.
Ashotel and the tenerife Chamber of Commerce have joined the campaign, which will be rolled out from Monday in specialist travel media in the UK, and more widely on youtube, twitter, facebook and instagram with the hashtag #bigwarmhug. President Alonso said that some 1,700,000 British tourists come to Tenerife every year, and that they would continue to receive the most friendly welcome, regardless of the UK’s situation with respect to the European Union.
The campaign aims to reach the hearts of British tourists, and the Cabildo is keen that we help spread the message with that hashtag – #bigwarmhug – whether on twitter, Facebook or any other social media. Cabildo tourism chief Alberto Bernabé said that even if we might now be heading out of the EU we would always remain in the hearts of those in Tenerife, as Tenerife was clearly in the hearts of British visitors, since half of all UK tourists in the Canaries came to Tenerife. It was like a love affair, he said, between the British and Tenerife, and it went both ways: neither could be understood without the other, and he had great confidence for the future.
Santiago Sese, representing the Chamber of Commerce, said that although there was uncertainty at present, there was no need to anticipate any negative effects on business, certainly not for the next two years. His main concern, said Sese, was that Sterling’s fall could provoke inflation and affect flight prices given its relation with the US dollar. Ashotel president Jorge Marichal called for calm at a time when British travellers were increasing in numbers – up 20% on last year – and expressed his confidence that the Pound would recover in the medium term despite its current “difficult” situation.
The Big Warm Hug campaign wants all Brits to know that Tenerife is always here to welcome them with a smile and open arms. In return, they ask that we share the love and download the logo HERE onto an A4 sheet of paper and take a selfie holding it, and post it on Facebook, twitter or instagram with the hashtag #bigwarmhug! Many others have already done it, and the campaign hasn’t even started properly yet!