San Antonio Mayor José Tur ‘Cires’ is confident that by following the guidelines set out in the town’s strategic plan significant changes will be seen from 2019 onwards and hopes to see a much changed San Antonio in 3 or 4 years with a different West End and a different type of tourism that allows for the recovery of businesses in the town centre, many of which have closed down.
The coming years will see many projects undertaken such as the redevelopment of the bay area plus the refurbishment of the former town hall building opposite the fountains in order to move some services there. A more immediate change will see the relocation of the Local Police to new offices in calle Alicante which are “more modern with easier access and will provide a better service to citizens”.
Tur stressed though that the strategic plan will not end all of San Antonio’s problems or its degraded image although it does give the town the chance to change course. The plan is a tool for citizen participation where important guidelines have been set out and a picture of the current situation has been made with its shortcomings and difficulties with clear objectives to be achieved.
“The strategic plan has to be a guideline for us as a government team and for future governments,” said Tur with the intention to improve tourism in San Antonio, “look for a more family orientated tourism, with a greater purchasing power that allows for the improvement of the town centre and look for a formula that’s more respectful for local residents who live there”.
When questioned about the future of the West End and it’s place within the plan the Mayor pointed out that the area needs to “improve” in order for the town (which was the island’s first tourist destination) to get back to when there were people living, there were restaurants and a normal life; In short, look for a way that allows businesses to work so that residents can also live with peace of mind “.
He also explained that a significant number of West End business owners realise that they can’t continue in this way and that they have to change course “although there’s a lot of foreigners who only think of a quick and easy profit but we don’t agree with this as it does not suit anyone”.
Facing up to the type of tourism that San Antonio currently receives, the Mayor understands that it equates to the type of accommodation on offer and although there has been very few hotel refurbishments in the last couple of years this will change this winter. According to Tur, 30 hotels or hostals around the town intend to undertake works to improve quality and “that will attract less unwelcome tourism, so we have already started on the road to recovery”.
SOURCE: NOU DIARI