While researching for the news round up for Tenerife Magazine I came across a couple of interesting snippets.

The first was that pharmacies on Tenerife were completely doing away with paper communication between themselves and colleges. All updates and information about new drugs, procedures etc were going to be done purely electronically. It’s a modern and efficient way of communicating – great.

Another snippet that caught my eye was about tourist statistics. The Tenerife government released figures that showed that 8 out of 10 people had booked their Tenerife holiday online. 8 out of 10. That’s quite a staggering figure.

So what’s the connection between these two groups? The answer is wildly opposing practices on Tenerife.

Tenerife’s pharmaceutical profession by its very nature has to stay at the forefront of technology, but there’s a reason why the news piece about them caught my eye. It’s not consistent with the way that other occupational sectors on the island are embracing the internet.

You’d think that bars, restaurants and anyone at all trying to attract the attention of the millions of visitors to Tenerife would have long ago woken up to what was staring them in the face – that the internet might just be their best friend,. But many are working almost as though they exist in a stand-alone cottage industry.

Recently Andy compiled information about restaurants for travel website Simonseeks. Even though we’ve already accumulated mountains of information about Tenerife’s restaurants over the years, details change. But trying to find updated info without actually visiting restaurants again can be a nightmare. Many still don’t have websites; some don’t even have phone numbers. In businesses which rely on income from tourists this is almost retarded. At least one restaurateur smugly commented that they didn’t need a website; all their business was word of mouth. That way of thinking is beyond comprehension. Even in the midst of an economic crisis they just won’t open their eyes.

But if some restaurants are backward, some bars are positively Stone Age. I recently read a letter from a British bar owner in Puerto de la Cruz in one of the English language papers. He bemoaned his lack of clients and listed what action he felt should be taken to bring tourists back to Puerto and his bar. There was nothing wrong with his list…if he’d written it in 1984. At no point did he mention using the internet or social media. It simply did not enter his consciousness to have an online presence and his bar is not in an obvious spot in the town.

The reason that I mentioned the number of people booking Tenerife holidays online is how many of those 8 out of 10 people are visiting Tenerife for the first time and have decided what bars they were going to drink in and where they were going to eat long before they ever set foot on Tenerife? What’s sure is that the bars and restaurants in the resorts without any online presence are in danger of being overlooked. For them not to have a web presence seems positively suicidal.

But here are a final couple of points that seem blindingly obvious to me, but clearly not to bar, restaurant and shop owners who continue to plough what little advertising money they have into newspapers on Tenerife.

The people reading those papers are already on Tenerife. By the time a visitor sees an advert for what looks like a nice bar, or a good restaurant, their holiday may be all but over. But that’s not the only reason why I personally think advertising in them is money down the drain. One of the English language papers on Tenerife has currently 15 pages out of around 52 which are dedicated to what’s on British TV.

Nearly a third of the paper dedicated to British TV listings. As Tenerife’s hotels don’t have ITV, BBC etc, these pages can’t be aimed at visitors staying in hotels. Therefore it would appear that they’re for the benefit of ex-pat residents. If that’s who businesses are aiming their adverts at, then fair enough.

But if not, then these businesses really have slept in. The coffee stewed long ago.

  1. islandmomma says:

    I couldn’t agree more! On returning from living in the US last year my son saw a niche for providing low cost web sites, realizing exactly what you say here, so he started a small business, but was not only disappointed but also frustrated by the results. I don’t tend to frequent the tourist areas that much, but the places I do have to go, I’ve noted that the ones keeping up with the times are doing far better.

    From the point of view of English bars and restaurants I’ve been saying for years that a change is going to come, and I think I saw it yesterday in Los Cristianos. After getting my prescription filled in the pharmacy near the harbor (I think they’re always open Sundays) I drove past Las Vistas Beach and noted waves, which is unusual, so I stopped and went to look. I was struck by the low per centage of Brits in passersby. Not only do British bars need to get with the digital age, but they need to know they are dinosaurs in thinking they have a captive, British market. The market has been changing and they need to appeal to other nationalities. If Swedes want English food they will go to England, not come to Tenerife!

    • dragojac says:

      I think for too long with Tenerife it was a case of open up any old rubbish and someone will come. But times have changed. I hoped that the crisis would be a wake up call and sort out the wheat from the chaff.
      But still there are too many running around like headless chickens blaming everything from the euro to 9/11 to a yak with flatulence in Tibet…everyone except themselves or how they’re doing things. Apparently the motto here is even if it is broke, don’t change it.

      Your son’s business idea just illustrates the topsy turvy world that can exist in Tenerife where excruciatingly bad ideas are embraced and smart ones are sneered at.

      Where else in the world is like this? Don’t ya just love it?

  2. islandmomma Life on a Small Island and Beyond says:

    The crisis is doing that to some extent, it’s survival of the fittest, although there are some fit business around simply because they have savings to fall back on, not because they ever did anything other than just jump on a bandwagon at the right time years ago. As this goes on longer, maybe they will fall by the wayside too.

    I’ve seen it before to a lesser extent. Over the years I can’t recount the number of places (both business and residential) which have lain fallow rather than a landlord drop his intended rent. There is no level that it makes any sense.

  3. Ian Meyer says:

    All to many businesses in Tenerife are stuck in a time warp. Having lived in Tenerife for many years of and on i have seen a sharp downturn in fortunes for many bar and restaurant owners. I think generally people want and expect so much more. Bar owners seem today to want to put the cheapest muck on a plate a charge accordingly. Many bars and restaurants will close down in the coming year or so and most only have themselves to blame. Tenerife has grown out of the cheap British pub grub era and the sooner bars and restaurants wake up the better.

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