Friday, December 15, 2017

Dinner of Gremi d’Hostaleria de Sitges

Director General of Tourism, Councilor and First Deputy Mayor, President of the Hotel Association, President of Club del Tast, award winners, associates, good evening to everyone.

This evening's dinner marks an important milestone in the calendar, that of the 40 years of uninterrupted trajectory of the Hotel Association of Sitges, the oldest hotel association of our territory. 

During four decades the Hotel Association managed to lead the dreams of associates and responded to the woes of a sector of strategic importance in Sitges. In all this time, you have followed a path shared with the rest of the local society. For this reason, I would like consider the celebration as something shared by all. As to the institution that I represent, we will continue to watch over the tourism sector during the present and future.

Forty years have shown the importance of being associated. Working from the Association, you have contributed to promote a sector subjected to the changes of a fairly competitive market and to carry out the necessary modernization. You have done it together and always in a state of alert. It is partly yours, therefore, the merit that the Sitges brand is in a leading position. Tonight I would like to thank you for such a feat.

Two dates show the success achieved by Sitges as a destination in recent years. The first was the excellent hotel occupation figures, almost full in high season. This is the first of the great news. The second is that, unlike other places, we have done it by betting on a quality model. This has allowed us to overcome the threat of tourismphobia, which has not been seen in Sitges. But during current times, society at large is angry due to the severe economic and social crisis, and limitations imposed in the access to the labor market or in the maintenance of stable and dignified employment. Unstable jobs, housing deficits and the inconvenience and pressure that can generate hotel activities (any activity generates disturbances, also tourists) or the extensive calendar of events that we have in Sitges, makes that the risk a rebuke against tourism a possibility in Sitges.

And to continue making Sitges an international tourist destination of quality, four things are fundamental:

1) FIRST. The commitment of public governments with a tourism sector capable of generating wealth and jobs, even in times of crisis. And this commitment is yours: the municipal government firmly believes that tourism is the economic engine of Sitges and, as such, it is necessary to plan well and to transfer all kinds of resources. Along this line , let me say that the City’s Tourism Budget has increased in the last two years by 44%, from almost € 350,000 in 2016 to half a million euros that will be budgeted by the Department of Tourism next year. Not counting the renovation project of the Can Milà farmhouse, amounting € 440,000 more, also planned for next year as a reception center for visitors and tourist promotion, which will place us at a budget level in almost € 1M.

2) SECOND. Joint work and cooperation between the City Council and the private sector: public-private collaboration with consensus objectives and work plans and in the same direction. The format adopted by the public-private collaboration in the current mandate is the Tourism Advisory Council. Together with the Councilor for Economic Promotion, Tourism and Beaches, Aurora Carbonell, I would like to emphasize the continuity plan that this new tool implies. If at other times we gathered under the umbrellas of the Municipal Tourist Board or the Tourism Agency of Sitges, the Tourism Advisory Council now represents the new space where dialogue and collaboration are fully guaranteed. Now we just need to earn in agility and increase in technical resources.


3) THIRD. Coexistence. Meaning control, inspections and, if applicable, sanctions against annoying or irregular activities. As well as the maintenance of attractive urban surroundings and landscapes promoting coexistence and comfort. Most important in this area, improve the municipal management of the maintenance of urban space, beaches and promenades, parks and gardens, the cleaning and collection of waste and the security, as well as in the fight against illegal flea markets and all illicit activity. In this area of ​​control, yesterday, the Local Council approved the update of the Old City Usage Plan that, among many things, has been very sensitive to the requests that we have received from the Hotel Association to win In quality rather than in quantity and, therefore, the limitation of take away restaurants in the old town center as well as the determination of new shopping and leisure areas. On the other hand, next Monday, the municipal full house will approve the new plan for arranging tourist apartments, limiting the assimilation capacity by neighborhoods all over the entire city.

4) FOURTH. The economic and social return of wealth generated by tourism to every layer of society. We must be able to return to society the success of the tourist industry during the last seasons in terms of levels of employment, occupancy of each establishment and collection of the tourist tax in the form of improvements for the people, such as the fight against job insecurity or higher and more fair public policies through contributions that imply taxes. This return is, without a doubt, a direct opportunity to improve things, but also the best argument against any possible expression of rejection of tourism in Sitges.

In this Dinner of the Association 2018, we commit ourselves as City Hall to continue working together. We have spent many years doing tourism promotion together. Now we must also do more tourist management to achieve the sustainability, competitiveness, excellence that makes up the Tourism Quality Plan that we have approved and agreed upon this year.

Planning, control, a good governance plan and an adequate calendar of events, designed for all the tourist segments in Sitges (holiday, cultural, business, cooking, sports, LGTBI ...) are essential. But so is that each one of you, from every profession, continues to be a precious reference that transforms Sitges in a quality destination.

I would like to express my most sincere congratulations to all the businesses and professionals who have been awarded tonight. Such awards, fromthe Tastet de l’any to the Prizes to the Family Tradition, are a good snapshot of what this sector represents for Sitges. 

A vital, social, innovative, and strong sector, even in times of political uncertainty.
A sector that, as I stressed at the beginning, has been able to look at the bright side associating themselves and contributing an indispensable contribution to the positioning of Sitges as a high quality international tourist destination.

I wish Happy Christmas and a prosperous new year to the Hotel Association Thank you so much.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Sitges Awards Night 2017

Councilors of the City Council of Sitges, creators, cultural managers, scholars, representatives of associations and groups, ladies and gentlemen, very good night to everyone. The theater hall of the Prado Casino hosted this evening a new edition of the Sitges Award Night, the twentieth of its history .What we have seen and heard in the last hour has been a celebration of the richness that the town can offer from all sides of its cultural life. From the purest artistic expressions to the great events that place us on the international agenda, going through the folkloric and traditional manifestations that characterize us so much.

As every two years, we gather here, the theater hall of the Prado Casino, this architectural jewel that had to be polished and should show how it deserves it. I would like to dedicate my first words to this centenarian society. I did it last Saturday, at the gala celebration of the 140th anniversary of the Casino Prado Suburense, but I would like to emphasize it again. In 2011, I announced on this stage the desire to obtain resources to set up the theater. The journey we have had to travel to achieve this dream has been tortuous and full of obstacles. Certainly, the works should have been started and ended a long time ago. We apologize and apologize publicly.

But now we are celebrating the end of this whole process. We have a cozier, more comfortable lounge, with an orchestra pit that allows us to make a nostalgic jump of more than a century ago. In a nutshell, with the help of the Diputació de Barcelona (Catalonian Provincial Government), ​​we have brought up an equipment of great patrimonial value while preserving the spirit it had in the old days when was conceived.

In the future, Casino Prado still has to improve its appearance much more. That will be when the second phase of the restoration works of the entity arrives to the end, which will begin this autumn. Some works twill entail the adaptation of the social building to the norms of energy efficiency, as well as the remodeling of the facade of the garden.

I want to add our recognition to the Recreational Society El Retiro which will celebrate its century and a half of history, an entity that as its President and board of directors know, is also exploring to achieve public budgets to improve the facilities comprised by the theater hall and social facilities. 
We have always defended, it: in this city we always had since the nineteenth century two spaces of societies for the performing arts, dance, music and cinema, the spaces of two bicentennial societies. And at the City Hall we feel committed to them both to ensure their continuity. 

I told you that this is an evening of recognition to the cultural activity of our people. We can see it by going over the list of the winners of this Sitges Award Night, to whom I would like to address my warmest congratulations. Congratulations to all of you, and thanks for your contribution to culture, in the broadest sense of the expression.

- To the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, for an uninterrupted half century of activity that has made Sitges the global mecca of cinematographic events of this kind.
To the editorial board of 'La Xermada', with 50 copies published, it has become the reference publication of the popular and traditional culture that is generated in our town.
To Núria Camps Montané, an example of love of letters and culture expressed by her stories and the articles she has published in 'L'Eco de Sitges'.
- The couples formed by Alfonso Lügstenmann and Charo Sánchez-Cancio and by Estela Campaña and Xavier Lahoz , the pillars of two initiatives that have been able to ally sport with solidarity.
The painter Josep Manuel Aznar and the sculptor Aaron Pérez , winners of the Sanvisens and Pere Jou contests, whose works we can see displayed these days at the Miramar Cultural Center..
- To the Grup d'Estudis Sitgetans (Sitges Study Group) and the photography section of the same entity, for efforts in the area of ​​local research and photographic activity, respectively.
Three generations of the Gassó family that have been recording what is happening during more than half a century through their snapshots.
- To Iu Arnal i Bover, Josep Carbonell i Gener Award winner and to cellist Irma Bau and the pianist Irina Veselova , deserving the Chamber Prize of the Mirabent Magrans Contest, as well as to the soprano Paula Sánchez-Valverde , the first prize of Mirabent Magrans in this case, in the song modality.
- And finally, to the jury of the group of local journalists, the family Mirabent Magrans and the Concertante Association.

The civil society of Sitges is anxious, dynamic and very committed to the culture and to Sitges. As a city council, we must respond to demands that the economic and social crisis have not allowed us to improve over the last few years, especially as regards public infrastructures and cultural facilities. Today I want to announce that the waiting time is ending and that the efforts of recent years are beginning to bear fruit. The clearest example, as one of the main demands we have received, is that of the Santiago Rusiñol Library. During the first half of 2018, this emblematic ICT facility will once again open its doors (now, yes) and, most importantly, adapted to the demands of the present times.
If in 2017 we made a hard push to promote and improve cultural facilities, next year will be decisive in materializing the commitments that we have acquired with all of you: 
- Thus, cultural entities will soon have a second new equipment in the Annexes of the Cultural Center Miramar (This space will be, in addition , the new headquarters of the council of Culture, Traditions and Festivals) and the new Cau de Cultura that will be at the municipal facilities, at the building of El Retiro Society.
- In keeping with our heritage, the restored chapel and the Santa Bárbara farmhouse will be, in turn, two of the spaces recovered by the municipality for cultural activity, in a new natural and environmental setting: the Santa Bárbara Park .I take this opportunity today to invite you to the informative event about the start of the works on Santa Barbara invited by the board of owners on Sunday 3rd December, at 12 noon.
- The list of actions to improve our cultural heritage is completed by other relevant actions such as the rehabilitation of the Palau del Rei Moro , contemplated in the 2018 municipal budget, which will be subject to approval of the plenary this coming December. This year we will also see the restoration of the statue of Dr. Robert and the sculpture of the Mermaid by Pere Jou.
Our municipality will soon expand the stock of museums from the existing three to five in total. Not only this, but we will also see the four existing ones (the Cau Ferrat, the Maricel, the Romantic and the Stämpfli Foundation) all of them at full capacity at the end of 2018.
- One of the newly created museums will be Can Falç, where the reform works continue to advance .The last action was to clean up the remaining part of the ground floor and carry out a new archaeological survey .We are now confronting the studies for the consolidation and structural rehabilitation of the building.
- We also have the Stämpfli Foundation .The enlargement that Mr. and Mrs.Stämpfli have been carrying out will allow the facility to receive, at last, the cataloging of a museum next spring. A date from which Sitges will have a hall with more than 1,300 square meters dedicated to contemporary art.
- One of the great actions planned to begin this 2018 is the reform of the Palau Maricel, which will celebrate its centenary. This is a structural action that will affect one of the most emblematic buildings in Sitges and has one of the largest public budgets: 1.3 million euros. The centenary of Maricel was one of the official commemorations of the Government of the Generalitat of 2018, for which the Sitges Heritage Consortium is preparing various activities and publications, as well as an exhibition.
- The Romantic Museum, for its part, will initiate air conditioning works next year. Yesterday, Thursday, Museums of Sitges approved the updated project.

The museums are, without a doubt, one of the jewels that we have to help preserve. We should not forget that, beyond being one of the main heritage values ​​of our city, museums are increasingly attracting visitors to our town. If culture has to be one of our main attractions, cultural tourism must be one of our future bets as a sustainable and quality tourist destination.

I recommend, not without first mentioning the other two pillars of our culture, local entities and local talent .This year, we found ourselves in a special crossroad .What we have experienced in the hands of a veteran International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, which has surpassed the half a century line, together with the first edition of Jardins de Terramar Festival, an event celebrated in a green noucentista space that in 2018 it will be one hundred years. The success of both events signals a good future.

Indeed, one of the conditions to carry out the Jardins de Terramar Festival was the promotion of local talent .We will continue doing this, as we have been doing with the entities that contribute to building a calendar of cultural activities that practically do not rest during the twelve months of the year.

We are a lively municipality and cultural concern beats in the hearts of all of us, at the heart of the many events that we welcome (large and small), at the heart of each of the facilities we use, at the heart of each of the acts that help to cohesion our community ...All in all, it promotes Sitges as an increasingly important Cultural Capital.

We must deserve this privilege taking care and knowing how to continue ...Culture is our character. For many more Award Nights like this. Live the culture! Thank you so much.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Address by the mayor of welcome to the Catalan Republic

Good evening to all residents from Sitges

Good evening citizens of the new republic of Catalonia ... the new democratic and free republic of Catalonia.

Without a doubt, we live very intense days.
A few days that will go down in history, because we are part of the story, because, from now on we are history.

With open judicial processes, with political prisoners, with police charges, with violence ... we are here, because we have determination, because we have conviction, because we have a commitment ... and above all because we have dignity. The collective dignity of people. From a town that on October 1 voted YES to make Catalonia a new independent state in Europe. 
Welcome to the new republic of Catalonia!

The next few days we will have a lot of work. The republic that was born today is like a baby.
A baby with the weaknesses innate to newborns but with all the immense desire to live existing in those who see the light for the first time. 
Our Republic is made up mothers and fathers, we are grandparents and grandmothers, we are brothers and sisters, we are godfathers ... enough to make the Republic grow, to take care of it and make it mature.

This baby was born today as an independent and Free State .An independent state for all Catalans. ...And for all Catalans. 
For those who promoted their creation and have made it possible, from the smallest village in the whole wide country, going through all the other neighborhoods, towns, cities and counties. ...But also for those who did not believe in it or did not share it.

Our thanks to everyone. And above all, our thanks to the Catalan institutions that, following the people's desire, made the dream of millions of Catalans possible: the deputies of the parliamentary groups of the Parliament of Catalonia, headed by President Carme Forcadell, the Counselors of the Government of the Generalitat, Vice President Oriol Junqueras and President Carles Puigdemont.

The Country that was born today belongs to all. As has always been Catalonia. Without any distinction.
Neither origin, nor language, gender, belief, or sexual orientation, nor political choice, nor feelings or emotions ...Because during we managed to learn many things, including managing emotions.

I would like, as the mayor of Sitges, that we should take this night, once again and without ever tired of saying it and doing so, the commitment to make this new republic for everyone.Sitges can be a sample, of this normality, of this inclusion, of this tolerance and of this coexistence. Here, in the town, we have never made any distinction between the hundreds of nationalities of different origins , we are all residents of Sitges.We will not do it now either. 

Especially because freedom, democracy and republican values ​​of equality and fraternity are what unite us. 

It's precisely what yesterday I had the opportunity to explain, in an interview in international media, specifically in the national television of Belarus. Free states are the means to build the values ​​of freedom, equality and fraternity and, above all, to make them possible. Free states have the tools to make people's lives better and to make their personal and collective rights possible.

Because the nation is the people. The nation is a network of solidarity between people. The nation is a commitment to personal and collective rights. Like any nation, this is the Catalan nation. This is the birth of the Catalan nation with its own state..

The Catalan nation, which today has agreed to be a free republic, is the best instrument that we will
Have to make people's rights to be possible. It's not born against anyone. It's born to make people's lives better.

La nation catalane s'est battue pour obtenir cet instrument. Et le peuple de la Catalogne a été ferme dans sans sa décision lors des dernières élections catalanes et à la suite du référendum: étre un Etat libre et souverain. 

We have the republic. We have the free and independent state that we dreamed for,. But the work is not over. Now it's just beginning. We must built it. We will probably have to protect it from external and internal attacks. Fears and uncertainties will appear. But we will raise it with the same spirit of dialogue, civility and peace that has guided us to get here.

Let us remember all those who have preceded us. Let's not forget the ancestors. Remember those who have not seen it. But in a special way we think tonight, not only in them, but in us and especially in our children, and in those who will come after us.

We build the republic for ourselves and for future generations. 
Let's do it by clutching our hand for peace, looking at our eyes and never losing our smile.

As Gandhi said: "Let's follow the change we want to see in the world."


Long live Catalonia!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Address by the Mayor in the tribute to President Companys

Councilors of the City Council of Sitges, Mayor Jordi Serra, Mayor Pere Junyent, Representatives of entities and political groups, residents of Sitges, Beloved and dear compatriots. 

October 15, 2017. Just as the past year we are gathered before the monument to the memory of President Lluis Companys, the Martyr President.

Today we remember and honor the memory of Lluís Companys i Jover, President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, captured by the Gestapo and handed over to the Spanish fascist authorities and executed by a firing squad of the Spanish army on October 15, 1940 .Let us not forget that Lluís Companys was the only democratically elected president executed during the Second World War. Pablo Casado, a person that holds an important position at Partido Popular made parallels with such crimes, and he threatened to repeat them. Absolutely miserable.

Companys was the militant President of ERC, but it was, above all, the president of all the Catalans. He was admired by many citizens, no matter their political opinion. I see many similarities with the admiration felt by many people for the President of Generalitat of Catalonia, for the Vice President Oriol Junqueras and the Catalan government at large. Precisely because they are and will be the presidents of all Catalans, today we are happy to share this event with people from different political parties and representatives from different associations present in our city. What unite us is greater than what divides us. Because we all share the essential values ​​of democracy.

These values ​​were already shared during the difficult times of the Second Republic, Civil War and Francoism. I thank the family Tubau i Llorià for having access to the original letters that President Lluís Companys directed to Enric Tubau i Perelló (grandfather of our Rosa Tubau, Culture Councilor, here present) and father of Josep Maria Tubau i Gallinat (also present), in the difficult times of exile and repression. I would like to read a brief fragment of one of the letters, that reflect the solidarity between the defenders of the Catalan nation and those that suffered reprisals after defeat.

He stated: "Friend Tubau, I just wanted to tell you how I appreciate your sacrifice and remember the services provided to the Catalan cause, and do not doubt that now, that I have more possibilities, I will exert all my influence and I will exercise all the functions to be especially careful to promote any help you might need". (Lluís Companys)

Today, more than 70 years after his death, we can say that, despite the current execrable behavior of Spain towards Catalonia and all the constant humiliations, Lluís Companys would be proud of living with us what we are living now, holding hands and embracing us in peace. Today, we are not fearful anymore and we are united. We are not afraid of defeat, but we are even less afraid of victory because we are convinced that we will win .They don't even answer if we ask for dialogue. They don't even accept negotiation or arbitration. The world is witness and we will not stop. 

The Martyr President suffered the brutality of fascist authorities that led him to the death squad. In 2017, many Catalans (of all ages, villages, towns and cities) suffered the repression and police brutality (because some Spanish political or police authority gave the order to act with violence ) against people who peacefully defended the right to vote or were standing at a queue to exercise their democratic right to vote. We will never cease to repeat it: in Democracy, any form of state violence is unacceptable!

We will never forget October 1. Voters being clubbed, all the violent shoveling voters, the militarization of the police forces (which should protect people) ... were placed under the orders of a political stance .The violence has been denounced by various international organizations in the field of human rights. Because, yes, very fundamental rights have been violated and human rights have been stepped up.

But, President Lluís Companys, we will never forget October 1 because, above all, it was the day that the people of Catalonia freely and democratically exercised their right to decide, their inalienable right to self-determination .It was the day that, with all the police repression and all judicial actions ordered by the public prosecutor's office, the Spanish government, the Spanish intelligence services ... a whole country, in a large network of solidarity and personal and collective commitment, exercised the right to make a referendum with everything against. This network of solidarity and commitment is called the Catalan nation.

And the Catalan nation decided. Therefore, before they snatch our sovereignty (the one granted by limited constitutional autonomy), it's time to exercise full sovereignty. It is time to fulfill, with intelligence and cleverness, with civility and peace, the will of the majority emanating from ballot boxes. Confidence, perseverance, resistance and determination.

Let me, finally, read a fragment of the words of President Lluís Companys: “I will thank God for giving me such a beautiful death defending my ideals. He wanted this destiny, and I still give him the gratitude of this placidity and serenity that fills me when thinking about death, which I see approaching fearlessly .I could not hope as a humble human being for such a dignifying end. For Catalonia and all that represents concerning peace, justice and love”.

For him and for those words, and for so many others who have preceded us, we must continue to fight peacefully with our hands, and dearly caress with our fingers the longed freedom and the struggle for a more prosperous country with more social justice .The Government of Sitges and the municipal groups engaged in the process will not deceive you, and neither the Government of Catalonia nor the Parliament!

As Companys said: “Where freedom dwells, my homeland rests”. Honor and glory to the Martyr President. Long live Catalonia!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Ban de la Festa Major de Sant Bartomeu 2017

Vilatanes, vilatans. Dia rere dia d’aquest estiu tan xafogós, l’espetec de sensacions i emocions que és la nostra Festa Major s’anuncia, com ho fa cada any, oferint senyals del que seran la vigília i la diada, els jorns de més intensa celebració que es viuen a la nostra vila al llarg del cicle festiu. Com si d’un castell de focs es tractés, ens arriben aquells avisos que precedeixen l’es-pectacle. El brogit dels assajos de balls i músiques, les presentacions multitudinàries, el programa d’actes sortit d’impremta són, entre d’altres, els avisos a quarts d’una celebració que no deixa moment per al respir.

Amb prop de set segles d’història, Sant Bartomeu ha volgut per als sitgetans una efemèri-de lluïda i arrelada. En el seu honor, hem aconseguit una festa admirada arreu, que ha obtingut reconeixements, el darrer d’ells el de Festa Patrimonial d’Interès Nacional, con-juntament amb Santa Tecla. Podríem enlluernar-nos i dormir-nos en els llorers de la com-plaença, però un cop més s’anuncia una celebració que pugna per l’excel·lència. Aconse-guim que el folklore més arrelat passi de generació en generació, mentre anem amanint el calendari d’actes amb petits canvis que la fan més viva i adaptada als temps que canvien, d’un segle XXI que empeny amb la força de valors nous o renovats.

Una Festa Major com la nostra mereix que la gaudim amb generositat, però també amb civisme i amb la necessària precaució. És el moment de saltar, ballar i esbargir-se, sense oblidar que s’ha d’anar amb molt de compte amb les tradicionals carretilles i els elements pirotècnics. Per aquest motiu, recomanem seguir tots els consells de seguretat i que els vehicles no s’estacionin en els recorreguts de les processons i de les cercaviles. Els establi-ments i comerços convé que estiguin tancats el dia 24 d’agost, diada de Sant Bartomeu, festa local. Per últim, demanem que es prenguin les mesures necessàries de prevenció i autoprotecció en vehicles, tendals, aparadors, botigues i domicilis particulars amb la fina-litat de prevenir de possibles desperfectes i danys derivats de la crema de la pirotècnia. S’ha de tenir cura amb els infants i la gent gran, dos col·lectius especialment vulnerables.

Sitgetanes, sitgetans, visitants, arriba el moment de deixar-se anar amb el primer toc de la gralla i la flaire de l’alfàbrega. Sigueu protagonistes i espectadors privilegiats d’aquesta gran experiència que és la Festa Major de Sitges, una celebració que ens remet als ances-tres i alhora ens projecta al futur com una comunitat amb identitat sòlida i reconeguda. 

Gloriós Sant Bartomeu, que de Sitges n’és patró, visca la Festa Major!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tourism and positioning: new challenges

Last week, we held the first meeting of the new Council of Tourism Sitges. It is a new body promoted by the City Council, and has the presence and participation of all public and private entities charged with managing and planning local tourism. There are representatives of hotels, restaurants and bars; also representatives of campsites and apartments; the services of the beaches or marinas as well as the Heritage Association and the Garraf Park, among many others. The new Council compositions plural and multifaceted, because tourism today is transversal and needs planning from different areas, both public and private, including associations.

The Council of Tourism's mission is to plan the promotion policy of the city of Sitges and detail the actions and the line that interests the whole municipality, both from a global perspective as in specific sector-wise actions. In this regard, the Council will have working groups in different areas and among its objectives has conducted an ongoing dialogue with the public to obtain their concerns and proposals.

The triangle composed by public sector - private sector – community (residents of the municipality) is one of the foundations of the new Council of Tourism. The bilateral work that has distinguished tourism planning policies in recent decades has been replaced the new trilateral policies. In this sense, the new Council of Tourism was already designed from the very beginning along this line to adapt to new challenges. One of the first actions will be the Public hearing to present the Quality Tourism Plan 2017-2021, which will on 5 June. In this event, the public hearing will submit a strategic plan for tourism, for which we want a consensus among governments, private sector and citizens.

Tourism is the industry of Sitges. For over fifty years the town has been living from tourism, and during more than twenty tourism is the breadwinner for all year round, thanks to conferences and conventions, that allowed to break the seasonality that had prevailed decades ago. For this reason, the City Council has among its priorities promoting, planning and implementing structural actions to support this type of economy.

In this regard, the City Hall is implementing several actions, some properly oriented to tourism and other that do benefit tourism itself. On the first point, in recent years we have implemented actions such as the moratorium on the licensing to tourist apartments, minimarkets and other businesses that do not fit into the image that Sitges needs.; the regeneration of beaches (both bringing sand every summer as the stabilizer project in which we are working with the Ministry); promoting festivals to provide activities throughout the year (some organized directly with municipal participation, such as the brand new Gardens of Terramar, Sitges Next for advertising, or the Jazz and also Cinema, which this year celebrates its fiftieth edition); or the design and implementation of actions that have a direct impact on tourism (promotion campaign Sitges Viu ·Sitges Lives·, Salt Road, wine tourism ...).

For its part, the actions carried out by the municipal government that have a direct impact on tourism is the project of the  Usage Plan, to finish in the coming months; actions to reduce illegal street vendors; premier cultural actions such as holding the exhibition Ramon Casas- that contribute to position Sitges as a cultural reference point and the new Architectural Heritage Plan, which aims to protect buildings that mark our uniqueness and identity.

Much remains to be done, but we are moving in the right direction, according to reports and evaluations prepared by experts who point that Sitges maintains its leading brand in the whole country. Employment data, organizations of events and initiatives that reach Sitges have multiplied in recent years and illustrate our potential and attraction we have in this moment. However, Sitges needs to be constantly in motion, generate new initiatives and act as a laboratory of ideas and proposals that mark tourism in the XXI century. And the brand new Council of Tourism is an excellent tool for making this possible.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Closing of the exhibition Ramon Casas in Sitges


Speech on the occasion of the presentation of the facsimile edition of Desde El Molino and the closing of the exhibition Ramon Casas, modernity desired, we organized Maricel Museum from 16 November 2016 and 19 February 2017.

From El Molí gather different chronicles from Paris that Rusiñol wrote for La Vanguardia to explain the vital experiences of artists at Montmartre, leaving no details for the imagination. No matter if it's just a portrait of Catalan artist that used to visit the Moulin de la Galette, as the shadows plays at Cabaret Chat Noir, or night like at Montmartre, tavern songs or the can-can dance. One of such chronicles, written and drawn in first person, today would be call self-fiction. They are, as explained in the presentation text, the self-biography of the bohemian life of Santiago Rusiñol and Ramon Casas.

Rusiñol describes his experiences in Paris with a style that describes the work of both friends, in a direct, real and we could say sentimental. Ramon Casas illustrated with a drawing pulse and will that approaches photojounalism, a very swift and expressive style. Written between 1890 and 1892, corresponding to the years that culminate the aesthetic complicity of both artists.

Between 1890 and 1892, something important happens also in the life of Rusiñol and also for us, because he and Casas in Paris are making incursions in Barcelona to present their new pictures both at exhibition halls and all sorts of cultural happenings. This was the reason why Casas came to paint in Sitges during the fall of 1891, he was curious about the patis that Casas commented to him, and at the same time he was going to Vilanova to watch the Greco at the Museum of Victor Balaguer.

This is why From the Mill also has references to Sitges. Specifically, in the tenth chapter, entitled "Impressions of an arrival", one arrival after discovering our town, Because Rusiñol writes that "when (....? you leave those beaches in Sitges (...) when you leave that eternal sweetness in the ambiance with not fakeness whatsoever and you have breathed and inspired it, when you leave a land that apart from being our land, it's also because it's good land (....) you can truly complain and use it as pretext to warm your spirits." And that January 1892 is now exactly 125 years in our past. Not a long while ago Rusiñol pronounced his first speech in Sitges, saying good bye to all those that received him so warmly:

" " My friend, I was a man that was walking around the world, following trails and jumping streams and dales when I met a land that was more sunny than the rest, were the sky was bluer, the sea was bluer and also the houses were white and with no snow and everything was green and blossoming, and I decided to stop. (...) But I will say aloud what my pictures won't say so everybody can hear me, and I will say with my breast full of enthusiasm. That France could have many millions, but they could never buy a land like this, were the wine is malaria, the coast is gold, the sky is light, women are fire and everything swims in an atmosphere of life and friendship.

Also during his first stay he wrote an article about the nostalgia of two homelands, in which deeply affected by the emigration of people from Sitges to America, he places yearning for you homeland in first person, already divided between the attraction to sun and the light of Sitges and the grey mist from Paris representing modernity that he still wants to assimilate, but that he will drop to build a house that will be also be an atelier and a museum in Sitges.

Meanwhile, we must take time to savor his Parisian chronicles, this grey Paris covered by fog but so attractive for the fight for art and freedom in which, as well as Rusiñol, both end wining, importing it as the legacy of modernity to the Catalonia of their times.