Interview with David Perez, CEO for the Tenerife Tourism Board

We spoke to David Perez, CEO for the Tenerife Tourism Board, and asked him what measures have been taken to make Tenerife Destination a safe place to visit, explore and play golf during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

How did you deal with the COVID-19 situation initially?

From the outset, Turismo de Tenerife sought to obtain all the information available on the spread of the pandemic, and seek to ensure that the island’s tourism sector, whether accommodation, active leisure companies, theme parks or restaurants had all the information available to them, as and when it emerged. The aim was for them, in turn, to suitably convey this to tourists and customers. At an external level, our maxim was to also maintain the sector informed (airlines, tour operators, travel agents) of the spread of Covid-19, to which end we held regular meetings with them, and frequently sent information on the destination and on the spread of the pandemic to our emitting markets of tourists. To that end, we used our media and public relations offices abroad: in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Russia.

What safety measures have been put in place?

Apart from the general measures for the whole population, such as maintaining a personal safety distance, the use of face masks and frequent hand-washing, the different sectors were covered by other specific measures. From leisure centres to hotel establishments and nature activities, to quote just a few cases, measures were adopted that were established by the public authorities with the aim of containing the spread of Covid-19. Measures which, to the extent that the Regional Government of the Canary Islands is the competent authority on the matter, have been maintained according to the indicators on the spread of the pandemic.

Are you confident that Tenerife is a safe destination to travel to this winter/spring?

Of course, Tenerife is a completely safe island. On the one hand, the health institutions have performed commendable vaccination work, and hence we can say that the target of achieving more than 90% of the population vaccinated has been met. On the other hand, those measures that the authorities establish in regard to venue capacity and social distancing have been maintained which, together with the widespread use of face masks, guarantee that visiting tourists are perfectly safe during their holidays on the island. The free insurance policy offered by the Regional Government of the Canary Islands to tourists that visit the islands, and which covers the main medical costs, transport and extended stay, reinforces the idea of Tenerife as a safe destination.

How do you see the tourism industry evolving in the next five years?

The tourism industry has an historic opportunity over the next five years. If the pandemic has brought anything positive, it is that the needs to adapt to digitalisation and sustainability are more pressing than ever. In both these aspects, Tenerife has adopted a leading role. As regards digitalisation, it has been certified as the first Smart Tourist Destination, after being evaluated by the State Trading Company for Innovation Management and Tourism Technologies (SEGITTUR) with the STD methodology of the State Secretariat for Tourism of the Government of Spain. As regards sustainability, it has been awarded the BIOSPHERE badge, which guarantees its environmental, social, economic and cultural commitment in line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.

Our aim over the coming years is to continue progressing along this path, such that we are capable of responding to the needs of this new tourist who also seeks a destination that offers experiences they will remember when they return home. This is something that Tenerife has made a great effort towards, and will continue doing so in the near future.

What role did golf play in the development of Tenerife as a travel destination? 

Golf in Tenerife offers golfers everything they could wish for. Its eight golf courses (as well as two pitch and putts), designed by leading figures such as Severiano Ballesteros, Jon Jacobs and Donald Steel, distributed around the north and the south of the island, offer spectacular paths and breath-taking views of the ocean, El Teide and other islands including La Gomera. But that is just a part of it. Top ranking hotels are specially prepared to satisfy the needs of players, including spas and wellness centres; complementary activities to relax, from enjoyment of natural spaces, gastronomy and wines to whale and dolphin-watching… And all with the possibility to do this at any time of the year, whether summer or winter, thanks to its mild temperatures all year round, with an annual average of 22 degrees centigrade.

One experience you shouldn’t miss when in Tenerife?

There are many, but if I had to choose one, I would perhaps say star-gazing in the Teide National Park. The island’s skies are among the cleanest in the world, which is why national and international scientists carry out research from the telescopes at the Izaña Observatory, located in the park. For walkers, the possibility of seeing the stars, whether by yourself or by using the services of a specialised company, will allow you to appreciate the Universe like never before. And not just this, but also the possibility to do so in such magical surroundings as El Teide – one of the world’s most unique and spectacular volcanoes. 

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