Without destiny there is no future. Preserving the natural wealth and the friendliness of the climate of the Canary Islands are essential factors to ensure that the tourist machinery of the Archipelago continues to move at the pace demanded by the ultradependent – of the housing activity – economy of the Islands. An indisputable condition that, however, runs into the bad press that has been installed around the use of airplanes for their contribution to the emission of harmful gases.
The Canarian president, Ángel Víctor Torres, participated yesterday in the X Exceltur Forum that this Alliance for Tourism Excellence organizes every year on the eve of the start of the International Fair oftourismfrom Madrid (Fitur). Together with his counterparts in the Balearic Islands, Francina Armengol, and Comunidad Valenciana, Ximo Puig, Torres stressed that the Archipelago was the first autonomous community to approve, “in this mandate, an emergency declaration against climate change.”
Now, putting that “unquestionable environmental awareness” ahead, said the president, is not compatible with being part of those who demonize the use of airplanes. In the course of the debate in which he spoke – Promoting the regional image and competitiveness of tourism in Spain – several “tourism experts and representatives of private companies” alluded to the confusion generated.
Undoubtedly, airplanes, as carriers of combustion engines fueled with hydrocarbons, are responsible for a part of the dirt in the atmosphere (2%). However, it is “a collective transport, there are others that pollute more and have to do with the land,” said the head of the regional Executive.
The president of the Islands explained the vital importance of air transport for the Canary Islands, due to its remoteness and fragmentation. “If other countries want to increase the fiscal pressure to use kerosene,” Ángel Víctor Torres explained, “when arriving in the Islands there are tourists who pay in the hotels an amount equivalent to the carbon footprint that their planes have left and that sum is destined to reforestation, for example “.
Apart from pressing for research on less harmful fuels, the Islands cannot afford any type of moratorium or an increase in displacements that laminate their competitiveness. “There is no way to get there if it is not by plane and we receive 15 million tourists a year,” said the president; “Our highways are the skies,” he said. In addition, he stressed that the mobility of the Canaries also goes through the use of the plane and, in this case, not only for recreational reasons only, but also for work or health, for example.
As for the operation of the tourism industry during the past year, the head of the regional Executive was satisfied by the volume of arrivals reached, those 15 million visitors. Especially for how it was possible to overcome, “together with other institutions and private companies”, the bankruptcy ofThomas Cook, which occurred in the second half of September.
However, he acknowledged that there is still a way to go to recover some of the lost connectivity. For that and other issues, he said he will be demanding “with the Government of Spain and with Brussels.”
On the steps taken in the autonomous community in favor of the preservation of the environment, he recalled that they already have the unanimity of Parliament. Based on that fact, he wished that the same thing should happen in Congress and the Senate with the climate emergency declaration approved yesterday by theMinister council.