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Friday, February 11, 2022

Teide aims to be first large cable car in the world powered by renewable energies

Teleférico del Teide (Teide Cable Car)

The Teleférico del Teide (Teide Cable Car) has opted to take advantage of the conditions imposed by the pandemic "to accelerate many changes related to the quality, safety and sustainability" of its offer, which has earned it various recognitions, such as becoming the first activity the Canary Islands to obtain the Safe Tourism Certificate in 2020, or to be awarded in the Sustainable Tourism Practices 2021 contest. 

This is explained in this interview granted to DIARIO DE AVISOS by the director of Teleférico del Teide, Ignacio Sabaté, who highlights that the company will continue working in this direction in 2022. “We want our facilities to be the materialization of our commitment to environmental sustainability. We intend to be the first large cable car in the world powered by renewable energies”.

-How has COVID affected Cable Car activity?

“Well, as for the entire sector, there was a moment of hiatus, but at Teleférico and Volcano we have taken advantage of the pandemic to accelerate many changes that we had already been implementing related to the quality, safety and sustainability of our experiences. All these changes have been born and have been made possible by the talent and commitment of all the workers at the Teleférico, from the cabin attendants to the waiters at the Rambleta Restaurant, from the environmental guides to the Administration staff, from the digitization area to that of attention to the public. Everyone has contributed ideas and effort to make it possible. 2021 was a year of many changes and a lot of uncertainty for everyone, also for tourism on the island and for the Teleférico and Volcano. However, Tenerife has shown itself to be a destination not only of excellence, but also safe and responsible, and visitors have valued it as such and have trusted the Island”.

-And how have they adapted to this new reality?

“A lot of measures were put in place. We have reinforced sanitary control measures to the maximum, significantly reducing the number of customers per cabin, reinforcing their air renewal systems, constantly sanitizing cabins and facilities. It is noteworthy that in 2020 we were the first tourist activity in the Canary Islands to obtain the Safe Tourism Certificate which, after a very demanding audit, gave our visitors confidence that we were scrupulously complying with the measures that guaranteed safety. We have also digitized to the maximum, with systems and apps developed by our IT department, our relationship with our collaborators and with the visitor, practically eliminating paper. In this way we lower our carbon footprint, while reinforcing health security and the visitor perceives a higher quality by not having queues”.

-How did Cable Car close last 2021?

“The year 2021 has been positive in terms of economic results, and that's with a decrease of around 40% of clients compared to 2019. But, by far, what I am most satisfied with is that, in such a complex environment, we have been able to advance in quality, in the creation of new experiences, to be rigorous with the maximum health safety and to improve in environmental commitment. And what I am most proud of is that this change has come from the intelligence and contributions of the almost one hundred workers of the group”.

-As for this 2022, how do you foresee the year?

“In 2022 we want to continue improving the quality, emotional value and commitment to the sustainability of our experiences, our proposals and our facilities. Everything indicates that the recovery is going to be powerful and citizens have a great desire to go out and travel, and, furthermore, I believe that not only Teleférico, but that the entire sector has taken advantage of this time to face challenges in the field of quality of the product and sustainability, which is why Tenerife and the Canary Islands emerge stronger from this crisis in terms of the power of the tourist product”.

-Do you think there is a lack of environmental awareness among those who come to visit the Teide National Park? Especially at specific times like when there is snowfall ...

“I think that, in general, the behaviour is very good. We measure not only objective aspects, but also their feelings and vision to improve the products, and we can say that, in general, the environmental commitment has permeated society, especially among the youngest. Of course there are specific problems, such as when there is a massive climb to Mount Teide, and what needs to be done is an effort of education, also control and convincing, and I am very optimistic in that sense because I see that behaviour is getting better every year ”.

-Related to this, a debate that is always on the table is to reduce traffic in the Park. Do you think it is necessary for its sustainability?

“I think it is good that we find a balance between a demand from visitors to the island and the inhabitants themselves who want to get closer to the natural space, with its ability to withstand a reasonable number of impacts. And, in that sense, there are many measures that can be taken to order this process, so that there are no times when there is an over demand, such as after snowfall or during the Perseids, with access control. At Teleférico we are committed to favouring access to the park that allows limited vehicle access, but prioritizing collective transport of the highest quality and comfort in which the experience begins from the pick-up at the different hotel zones. In this line we make many efforts, which are working, but also in the line of ordering access with reservation systems like the ones we already have today. Thus, whoever wants to visit us knows that he has a slot on a certain day and time, and that allows us to control that the capacity is optimal”.

-And are you working on new innovations in the cable car offer?

“First of all, we want our facilities to be the materialization of our commitment to environmental sustainability. We intend to be the first large cable car in the world powered by renewable energy, with a reduction in CO2 emissions of one tonne per year and the goal of zero emissions. We are working on a photovoltaic energy implementation system. Likewise, we want to install a pioneering water recovery and reuse system, a waste minimization system and establish an environmental commitment to our suppliers. Regarding novelties in the offer, I can anticipate that during 2022 we are going to launch a new immersive experience, in the Teleférico facilities, which complement, from a scientific, artistic and emotional point of view, the visit to Mount Teide. There are new guided tours, new educational material designed to bring children closer to volcanism, we are going to renew the audio guide and redouble our efforts with public transport access to the park”.