Elections 2019: There is too much dependence on tourism and construction. How will you diversify the economy?

The political parties fighting the local elections in 2019 answer questions posed by Para Una Xabia Sostenible based on the EDUSI project

Question 1

There is too much dependence on tourism and construction.

……Part of an exile of young people is due to the great economic dependence of two sectors: especially tourism (services account for 80% of the economic activity of Xàbia) and construction, despite the decline since the crisis it still strong, at 11%. The bulk of great labour in these sectors is constituted by older citizens. This economic monoculture does not attract young people. Xàbia lacks economic diversification towards sectors such as the knowledge society, the collaborative economy and the multimedia industries.

How will you diversify the economy?

PSOE Reply

When analyzing the economic reality of Xàbia, we must look at two factors. The first is that we are in a positive situation: the employment rate in the Valencian Community is above the Spanish average. And Xàbia is above even the Valencian average.  Also with regard to per capita income and the creation of new companies. That’s to say, we can not be triumphalists or relax, but we must admit that the general situation is positive. Now, as you say, there are challenges that must be addressed.
There is a basic factor to attract investment: political stability. Nobody wants to risk their capital in insecure, divided or tense environments, and our administration has made possible the period of greatest political stability that Xàbia has known in decades. So the first thing is to continue like this: offer the certainty of a close and transparent government, which manages well and offers stability.
In the second place we have to know our strengths and grow around them. In Xàbia the main industry is the quality of life. That's why when we protect 8 million m2 in the General Town Plan we are preserving that which makes us unique and attractive. When we launched programs to attract talent like Ambaixadors Plus, and dynamized the environment of local entrepreneurs with the Beers & Bytes project, when we put ourseleves forward as the axis of the new Digital District, when we channeled regional plans such as Avalem Joves or opened a new coworking centre … what we are doing is putting our enduring values (talent, landscape, culture, environment, quality of life, social cohesion, coexistence, security …) into a showcase of global innovative investment. We have enormous respect for the traditional sectors of our economy, which have brought us together so far, but we are going to wager on openings towards new fields of investment based on that which makes us unique.

Compromis reply

In Compromís we believe that in addition to the natural environment and heritage, the main value of Xàbia is from our people, its diversity and the fact that it is a pole of attraction for people from all over the world. And amongst these people there are professionals of all types, knowledgeable about a great variety of economic sectors and that thanks to the Information Technologies they perform or are capable of doing a great part of their work at a distance. Many of them already create or manage their own companies and work from Xàbia for at least one period a year, and within the strict tourism sector, VFR, Visiting Friends and Relatives) is one of the fastest growing in Spain right now. Our challenge is to convert much of this potential into attracting residents and quality jobs.
In Compromís per Xàbia, we have an Internationalization Plan in the program, which consists of putting this transnational potential of our residents to work at the service of the local economy. For this, we propose to create specific work groups for different sectors (agri-food, cultural, industrial manufacturing, construction, or more specific sectors such as design) in which we bring together the residents of Xàbia and also non-residents with strong links here. Along with people from Xàbia who live in other Spanish cities and abroad, according to their profile. Civil society has already made progress in this direction - there is the Pechakucha Night Xàbia, which is a forum for people from creative sectors - but we believe that we must go further and give it a strong impulse from the public, as well as provide them with a budget to develop activity delivered by CREAMA. Thus, we will align ourselves with what is being done in the major European cities - such as London, Amsterdam and Copenhagen - in which we are committed to development agencies based on the attraction and care of people: without going any further, the agency of London's promotion is called London & Partners. We want to go towards that model.

Partido Popular reply

It is difficult from a municipal level to change the paradigm of the local economy, when during these years tourism has been the sole engine of our economy, but this does not prevent, the Town Council to commit to the promotion of activities that take advantage of the opportunities offered by our territory without undermining their environmental and cultural values. This is in line with the "European 2020 Strategy, towards smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth", facilitating the implementation of new economic activities that create employment and are fully compatible with the conservation and improvement of the environmental values ​​of our municipality, and this, under four different optics:
1º) Eliminating fees for starting up new activities and subsidizing the tax on economic activities for young people;
2nd) Fostering training with courses and / or workshops (face-to-face and / or online) for young people;
3º) Helping in advising young people so that they can carry out their economic projects;
4º) Facilitating from the planning the implantation of the tertiary (hotel, commercial, leisure, etc.) and industrial uses respectful with the natural environment. As well as, educational and welfare uses (public and / or private), to ensure that they can settle in our municipality, both international colleges and university centres, care centres that our older citizens need, etc.
And of course, encourage agriculture, especially the ecological one. And also, the industry respectful with the natural environment.
Installing fiber optics throughout the municipality, to facilitate teleworking and the connection with the digital world.
Create an Economic Development Council.

Podemos reply

Totally agree. In Podemos we are in favour of tourism, but we have to radically change the model. The same goes for construction. In the 70s, uncontrolled construction for sun and beach tourism was launched to boost the economy, and in essence that approach has not changed, it has only been masked by subsequent governments, including the current one (which has determined the destiny of Xàbia since 15 years). They are still convinced that we enrich ourselves, while actually we are destroying our most important heritage: nature.

We can offer an alternative economic model in several aspects:
1. With the outsourcing of services, management and organization posts remain in the headquarters of the contracted company, while those in the lower levels (sweepers, concierges of the Palau d'Esports, etc.) are for the local people. By remunicipalizing the services we achieve that also the more qualified positions remain in Xàbia.
2. Go beyond seasonal tourism by focussing on promoting sports (eg the Club d'Atletisme Llebeig has suggested to us - and we think it's a great idea - to raise the triathlon, which is already very popular, to a national and even an international level), cycle tourism and ecotourism. It would eliminate uncertain seasonal jobs and increase the demand for physiotherapists and masseurs, for example.
3. Bring a network of 5G to Xàbia as soon as possible as a bait for ICT companies and provide the ideal conditions for the University of Alicante to establish a branch of the Faculty of Information Technology here (in Dénia there is Gastronomy). If the internet speed is up to the mark, the beauty of the environment can be used as an extra incentive.
4. The construction of a biomass plant will provide stable and highly qualified jobs and promote energy independence and environmental protection.
5. We want to restore value to agriculture, encourage and support the production of km 0 (local merchandise), putting the empty stops of the central market at the disposal of small farmers of biological and local products.
Also to promote processed products - for example a small cannery, souvenirs (promote a brand Xàbia) -, since it is very difficult to live on agriculture alone.

Ciudadanos reply

Young people do not really have many expectations and a model relying on only two sectors does not allow others to take root. However, to resolve this situation I want to have the opportunity provided by new technologies to bring work, ideas and projects closer to people. For that reason, I understand that Xàbia has to get on the train of the Digital Revolution.
It is necessary to invest in the first place in training in the digital competitions of our young and not so young people, since at the end of the day, the triumph of an idea or project comes from the people. That is why from Citizens we are committed to providing the means for entrepreneurship strategies to go hand in hand with new technologies and we understand that we have a privileged opportunity for Xàbia to become a reference, an engine of the union of culture and innovation technology, which can also be exposed to the rest of the world, using future infrastructures that serve as a speaker, as the future Auditorium, combining an offer in which culture and tourism, feed back.
In another sense, it is about creating and attracting talent, but we also have to think about developing it and for this, we have to invest so that companies that see in Xàbia a place in which to establish themselves and to grow, respecting our environment, invest in us and come to stay; and this involves developing once the industrial estate, to generate employment, tourism and a stable and year round cultural offer.

Ciudadanos por Jávea reply

Decidedly yes, we have exploited our natural resources but we have not added value. We have lived on the fruits of our environment without valuing the natural and cultural resources that we inherited from our ancestors. We have to work for what makes us unique, our landscapes, history, gastronomy, a microclimate with many hours of sunshine per year, but above all we have to look collectively for our model of tourism without changing course depending on who governs. We must add to obtain positive synergies because otherwise, if a party proposes a new way to generate a tourism product, such as valuing our environment , the other suspects that what is intended is to destroy natural values. It is time for everyone to agree on the model and strategy and work in one direction.
From recognizing our weaknesses and the need to rationalize our growth so that it is sustainable. Let us all commit ourselves to a culture of participation. In 2007 the European Parliament recognized that we are on the right path, forging the image of the new Xàbia together.

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