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Ana Sala Fernández: It is worth getting up every morning for the challenge of helping others, despite all the difficulties

Ana Sala Fernández: It is worth getting up every morning for the challenge of helping others, despite all the difficulties

An interview with the Mayor of Calp, in Spain

Ana Sala Fernandez (Calp, 1966) has a degree in Law from the University of Alicante (1988). For most of her professional career, she has been working as an administrative consultant. Since 2019, she has been serving as the Mayor of her city, having won the elections that year, running on a PP ticket.

Madam Mayor, how would you describe Calp in your own words?

I am proud to say that I live in the most beautiful town in the world. Calp is the place to which everyone wants to come and where everyone wants to live. We are a municipality that stands out for its business, cultural and tourist excellence, and that makes us a star destination, not only in Europe but also worldwide.

What are the main economic sectors in your municipality and how have they been affected by the Covid crisis?

It is true that, like the rest of the municipalities, we have been affected by the pandemic. Being at the head of a town like Calp in the most unusual year of our lives is the greatest challenge I have ever faced. The only certainty we had at that time of total uncertainty was that, as we have always done and always will, our priority was the well-being of the people of Calp. And it is worth getting up every morning with the challenge of helping others, despite all the difficulties, no matter how great they may be.

What has been done to improve the competitiveness of the city in the tourism market?

We are a municipality of services linked to tourism and unfortunately all commercial and business sectors have been affected, none have escaped the crisis. For this reason, the Government Team has presented the new line of aid for our people in 2021. It is an ambitious plan that includes aid, suspension of fees and an employment plan for which Calp will allocate more than 3.5 million euros.

At the same time, to improve competitiveness in the city in the tourism field, we have focused on making the most of and taking advantage of the magnificent natural resources that the town has: sea, mountains, a good gastronomic offer, even the reaching of 3 Michelin stars in local restaurants.

There are countless reasons to choose Calp as a holiday destination, not only because of the sun and beach tourism that other municipalities have, but also because we focus on promoting seasonally adjusted tourism, giving special importance to sports tourism, becoming thus a reference in this field at the national level.

Can you tell us more about the improvement of accessibility to the old town?

It should be noted that the old town is one of Calp’s treasured jewels. In its foundations lie our own roots. In a town like ours where the magnificent beaches, hotels and businesses are preferably located in the lower area near the sea, it can be a real obstacle to go up to visit the historic quarter due to the innumerable slopes that our municipality has. We try to improve accessibility by installing several flights of stairs or mechanical ramps at different points to bring the historic centre closer to the sea, especially to help those with mobility difficulties.

This type of investment makes up the EDUSI Strategy, which includes, among other actions, the implementation of technology to turn Calp into a smart tourist destination, as well as the improvement of pedestrian mobility on various streets in the town or the promotion of accessibility and technological transparency of electronic administration services.

Are there any other current revitalization projects?

There is a project, financed by the European Union through the ERDF Funds, that includes different lines of action grouped into 4 strategic objectives, the first of which is to improve the accessibility and transparency of the municipal website and electronic administration as well as the entire development of Smart City initiatives, from sensorization, the use of big data to the expansion of the Wi-Fi network throughout the municipality.

The second objective seeks to promote the transition to a low carbon economy by developing actions to improve mobility and accessibility and the implementation of energy efficiency measures.

The axes of the third objective are the protection of the environment and the promotion of the efficiency of the resources with the recovery of green spaces and the improvement of the urban landscape.

And with the last objective, social inclusion and the fight against poverty are promoted through an activation plan of the old town that includes a commercial action plan, a social centre for people at risk of social exclusion and the Tourism Office of the 21st century.

Finally, what is your vision for the future of Calp?

Thanks to these and other essential investments for our people that we are carrying out at this time, we are feeling optimistic. We cannot think otherwise. In the near future and with the development of the business park, we will be able to diversify the job offer in our town, definitively moving it away from the tourist seasonality.

We improve Calp day by day. We must show the unity, exemplarity and know-how that has characterized this administration, taking these values ​​as a roadmap to continue working tirelessly by and for the people of Calp.

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