Saturday, July 26, 2008
This is the longest post I've ever made!
When we came home last night we started discussing `the new time' that Tenerife is facing right now. When you live and work here you can feel how it's bubbling under the surface.
Maybe it sounds like a boring topic to talk about in the middle of the night when you normally would sleep, but I think social planning and criticism is quite interesting topics and like to parse and evaluate different trends and developments thats up.
Right now it feels like some kind of reform is going to take place here on Tenerife, maybe during the coming ten years, and the businesses that will resist will probably disappear from the market in the end.
Fifty years ago when the tourism started growing on the island it was very easy to get a good business. If you were the owner of a small space somewhere you could make it a bar or a restaurant and the tourists just poured in and you made a good business.
There was no demand of good service, lavish interior or education and the tourists were satisfied with the most of everything understanding they were on an undeveloped island which was just cute and picturesque and everything was very cheap. At that time you could have a good business without expending much money.
In these days it isn't the same anymore. Today the tourists are more enlightened and people who have been traveling a lot abroad demand a higher quality.
They work hard to get money to travel somewhere and their vacation is a highlight of the year when they for ones get time to relax and live a luxury life.
Not many tourists laugh and accept to be fooled anymore and the most of them like to get value for their money when the prices have gone up. If they don't they maybe will choose another place where to go next time.
One problem, as we see it, is that there is not much understanding of `the new time´ among some of the old business owners.
-Some of them don't believe that a good costumer service and a nice staff policy will benefit. They many times prefer to employ people they know instead of educated people and don't think about how skilled the person is when it comes to languages which is of an utmost importance when you work with tourism. Many old waiters, taxi drivers and other don't speak anything else than Spanish!
Foreigners get to work if they are willing to serve as slaves for a salary that is unacceptable and many people from the eastern countries of Europe are made of use.
Why would we boycott companies who use children as workers in Asia and accept the fact that these people are working like slaves in the daylight in the middle of Europe? We need to boycott all kind of slavery! These people, many times with such a nice personalities, need to be treated like the other workers! The worker needs to get the salary he deserves!
-They don't believe it's important to put money into renovations of the facility to make the place more attractive to the customers when they before was crowded even when they only had hard benches without any back support for the guests. Some of the restaurants and hotels haven't got any face lifts the last 20-30 years and the furnitures would fit better in the place where they bring all the trash! The government is running after them now and tell them to do something or close, which is nice. But many are good in doing compromises. They maybe start painting a wall and stop before it's ready and that means they are working on it.
-They can't understand the idea of marketing when they before didn't even need a sign that told the name of the business. Advertising in daily news papers is only an expense and some have still the same menu they had when they started 30 years ago.
Today the ministry of the tourism is worried about the creasing amount of visitors on the island. They talk a lot about the necessity of getting quality into all the businesses that are depending on the tourism but in many cases they speak to deaf ears.
But my believe is that there is going to be a reform in the end.
Now the new generation get education and they become familiar with topics like marketing, market investigations, well developed business ideas, customer service etc. They get the keys that will play a decisive role in the final conclusion of surviving. The competition is getting more tough.
Non serious businessmen will probably face problem to find competent workers who are willing to conform to their obsoleted ways of doing business in the future. Who would like to put years into an education and end up working in a place where the time did stop sometime in the sixties? As soon as they find something better they probably will leave. If they don't it will put their profession on shame to act like they are not educated at all and be forced to make tricks to the costumers to make the owner earn more money.
It's not only the tourism that is getting more enlightened. There is also a new generation growing up who gets a know-how about their future profession and that hopefully will cause the positive effect that is needed.
The times are becoming more tough for us musicians as well! This summer has been hard for many and some artists have lost their job when the restaurants haven't been able to pay any salary.
Some restaurants have closed down and the opportunities of venues are not so many anymore.
Before they just could employ a quiet piano player and they got people in, but now they need to find musicians that are attractive to the tourists to get anybody in.
Many tourists are also expecting more from the entertainers. It's not enough anymore to just stand and sing song after song with a terrible sound coming out from the speakers.
No! You have to speak to the audience and dance and bring up everything you know to try to make a show of it and try to build up a nice atmosphere. It's not easy!
The guests are much more conscious today and have been watching TV programs like Idols and Fame Factory where they have learned to be more critical to what they hear.
However, the government have been practicing in real what they now try to speak to the businessmen. They have in a few years given the tourist areas a face lift and it's now more beautiful here than ever .
And it needs to be said that the most of the restaurants are nice and have a high quality but some times it's the tourists themselves that choose to go to one of the old restaurants to find food for less money. Then they start complaining when the service was bad, the drinks were wrong, nobody did speak English and the bill wasn't right.
Quality costs and it would be nice if more people would be willing to sponsor the nice restaurants too, by going there and eat every now and then. These restaurant owners have brought up a lot of money to make it as enjoyable as possible for the tourists!