Canarian Government announces transformation of current tourism model

Canarian Government Tourism Minister Yaiza Castilla. Photo: Gobcan.

Canarian Tourism Minister, Yaiza Castilla, has set out the regional Government’s Canarias Destino strategy, a policy which will redefine the tourism model of the archipelago over the next three years. The Government says that the project, unveiled this morning, will initiate a “transformation of the current economic model” of the archipelago by incorporating all the economic sectors of the Islands through technology with the tourism sector and tourists themselves. This will facilitate, the Government intends, the development of the local economy and the improvement of the tourism sector by connecting businesses in the primary, industrial and commercial sectors with tourism businesses and tourists themselves so as to provide visitors with an experience that is both more authentic and sustainable.

This remodelling of the tourism sector will produce a collaboration between private and public sectors, a shared strategy of transformation needed to face the changes and challenges of post-Covid tourism, the Government explained. It will facilitate cooperation between industries and entities that will need to work together to build a new ecosystem that is more sustainable, resilient and competitive, creating increased value for the destination as well as its visitors. When I posted THIS only the other day, I was aware of this upcoming conference call but obviously wasn’t privy to what specifically was being prepared for presentation. This is the future, however, and the way forwards doesn’t start in a few weeks or months, but has already started as of this morning! Castilla emphasized that the Canaries will be the first Spanish region to lead this digital transformation of tourism. “Our goal is to boost the development of the Islands’ economy by giving local businesses direct connection with tourists to help them experience the full range of what’s on offer here”.

Over and above all this, Castilla stressed, was the essential safety in a health emergency that the islands need. She said that the pandemic has been a decisive element in forcing forwards plans long on the back burner, and the fight against climate change forms an unavoidable challenge for the future. “The best response for the millions of people who will return to the Islands in the near future is to make every part of the wealth of what we have on offer here visible through a platform that develops a business model similar to that of global operators. We do not want to replace them, we want to join them and offer a different alternative to our economic fabric and our visitors”.

The Director of Canary Islands Tourism, José Juan Lorenzo, said that the digital tools they were talking about would provide “greater knowledge about the buying habits and preferences of tourists, strategic information that we did not have until now and that will be essential to offer a better service to tourists and generate value for both the destination and the sector”. He was talking about platforms such as Smart Cities, Artificial Intelligence or the Internet of Things (IoT), which he said would drive and orchestrate the digital transformation of the thousands of small businesses that make up the Canaries’ experiential product, benefiting the local economy while improving the tourist experience.

“Experience”. That word has been in travel experts’ mouths for some time now, with Experiential Travel being a global trend which is exactly where the Canarian authorities are now positioning themselves. It is considered to be immersive and transformative to some extent, allowing tourists to focus on meaningful engagement with the place they are visiting, whether its history, culture, gastronomy, night skies, vineyards, honey producers, environment … all the areas that have been increasingly promoted here as part of the upmarket trend. I know it will go down in some quarters like a lead balloon but this is where these islands are heading, and it’s a clarion call to change with not just support from the authorities, but policies to lead the way that sound very much like a complete rejection and abandonment of old models of all-inclusive hotels and internationally anodyne enclaves with no authentic local culture.