Sonia Álamo Sánchez – Councillor for Beaches, Tourism and Public Health at the Ayuntamiento of Puerto del Rosario
“It is important for cruise boat tourists to have a good image of the town”
Although she was born in Gran Canaria, Sonia Álamo has lived in Fuerteventura for many years working in the private sector and more precisely in the bank industry, which is why she came to the island. But for this latest term, she is in charge of the Tourism, Beaches and Public Health councils at the Ayuntamiento of Puerto del Rosario.
How was the change to a public position?
I am quite serene, but I keep on asking myself questions such as, why don't we do this like that or why is it done this way, etc.? With Peña Armas who had a lot of experience in politics and who I had befriended through my previous job, I got this opportunity before the Carnival season. I thought about it, as it was quite a big change, furthermore, the banking sector is very practical, you have everything at your reach, but when I was elected, I went for it, although with a little bit of fear. My departure was quite emotional with my colleague and the bank where I felt quite good.
We imagine that the first few months must have been quite a shock going from a private entity to a public one as the bureaucracy is very different.
Indeed, this is what is happening to me. I was used to picking up the phone and solving matters quickly. It is difficult for me to get used to the lack of agility and all the procedures that the administration requires. Everything is slower.
Tell us about your councils, your hopes and projects...
For the Public Health, we deal with problems as they occur and together with my colleague who deals with the animal shelter and the other who is dealing with the environment, parks and gardens, we are going to launch a campaign of prevention regarding pets and propose sanctions, not to penalise but to educate the population. All three of us are very involved with this. Regarding Tourism, we organised a meeting on 29th July for the collaboration between businesses, shop keepers and the public administration in order to create a plan of improvement of the area. We have collected all the data and there are internal factors that we can control, such as infrastructures and improving the entertainment offer, but there are factors that don't depend on us. We have also dedicated special interest to the cruise ships. We know that cruise ship tourism isn't everything, but at specific times and days of the week, up to 7.000 people will arrive in Puerto del Rosario per day from October onwards and we must prepare for it. Those people need to move about and they need services adapted to those punctual requirements. They need to get the best possible image of the town. This is why we are creating a strategic plan with the Tourism Board and we are showing the goodwill of the Tourism Council and the necessity for the public and the private sectors to collaborate. We are open to private initiative and willing to find ways to collaborate. As for the beaches, their maintenance, cleaning and services, they are undoubtedly linked to tourism. We are also concentrating on the interior areas of the municipality that need to improve. It is the case of Tetir for example and now for Tefía we are going to open the bidding on behalf of the Cabildo for work to be done on the Ecomuseum of La Alcogida and also for the area of Los Rugama in Casillas del Ángel.