The travel sector trade fair Atlantur is promoted and financed by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria and organized by Infecar.
The 2021 edition from April 23 – 25 focused on digitalization, sustainability and creating a safe destination. It has concluded with the firm conviction that, in order to reactivate the economy and the island tourism sector, both hotel and non-hotel offers must adapt to a “new normal” — which means to consider changing demands of customers for a tourism (and conferences in that regard) increasingly respectful of the environment, using smart solutions and guaranteeing safe procedures.
More than 800 professionals have visited the fair in person and virtually — which was made possible through an innovative hybrid edition that has allowed attendance both in person at ExpoMeloneras in the South of the Island and virtually.
At the ‘Tourism and Covid-19’ workshop on the last day of the fair, professionals discussed the implementation of different measures in tourist accommodation as a result of the pandemic crisis. The day has been focused on the safety solutions adopted by the tourist market for its reactivation — among which exhaustive cleaning, hygiene and disinfection measures, the reduction of capacity and the adaptation of catering and entertainment have stood out through the pandemic times.
The director of the Gran Canaria Tourist Board, Pablo Llinares, recalled that the total closure of the destination Gran Canaria was an unprecedented situation in the fifty years that the island has been a key player in tourism, and he hopes for a recovery to pre-Covid figures of around 4 mio tourists a year to happen in the next few years.
Co-working and co-living as new modalities, both for tourist and business trips, also had their space at the fair with the conference ‘Covivienda & Cotrabajo As a Result of COVID-19’ – introducing innovative alternatives for sharing homes and workspaces for a specific target group: the digital nomads.
The Gran Canaria Biosphere Reserve is important for the development of a sustainable consolidation in tourism. The manager, Pilar Pérez Suárez, presented ‘Tourism sustainability in areas declared by Unesco’ and spoke about the importance to reconcile humanity with the rest of the natural world, which does not necessarily mean to remove human action from protected natural spaces, since humanity is also part of the natural environment.
The other two leading Topics of this 43rd Atlantur — digitalization and sustainability — were covered during the first two days of the fair. Digitalization in form of new technologies and solutions, promoting the tourism sector abroad will be key aspects in reactivating the tourism sector in Gran Canaria and the entire archipelago.
Professionals are aware that both natural and cultural resources are limited and, therefore, one of the main objectives for the tourism sector must be their careful conservation. Any tourism development must be linked to the people’s well-being and improvement of quality of life, and it must be made available to the entire population.
Among the proposals to create a more sustainable model in the destinations’ tourism sector were the installation of photovoltaic panels in tourist establishments, the provision of seedbeds on the facades that act as thermal insulators to reduce spending on air conditioning or the centralization of the management of organic waste from hotels and flats to generate biogas, which could reduce the cost of heated swimming pools or be used in vehicles such as garbage collection trucks. E-mobility with the use of electric buggies on golf courses or the promotion of electric vehicle rental is also a strategic topic for Gran Canaria.
Tourism development must take into account that economic growth has limits that run up against environmental and natural barriers, to which social and cultural barriers are added. For this reason, the correct management of natural and cultural resources and the progress towards greater energy efficiency are some great challenges for the post-COVID era of the tourism sector in Gran Canaria.
Johanna Fischer, tmf dialogue for Gran Canaris CB
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Sergio Macanti, Convention Bureau of Gran Canaria,