Sunday, 29.11.2020
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   News from the financial sectors in Spain and the Canary Islands

Yesterday and tomorrow
If you have never seen whales and dolphins in their natural habitat, a trip to see them in the waters surrounding Tenerife is guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes. With plenty to choose from, why is an excursion on the MustCat so different? Justin Muscat, the man behind it all explains why.

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He hails from Malta and oozes old school British style.  He left Malta for the UK at the age of 12 and attended Downside school in Somerset, run by Benedictine monks.  Five years on, he attended Sandhurst before spending eight years in the British army which included  three official tours to Northern Ireland (bear in mind he is a Catholic). 


At Downside he met a Tenerife boy who became a friend for life.  He introduced Justin to Tenerife and they remain best friends having run many different types of businesses together, acted as Godfathers to each others sons and been best man at each others weddings.


When Justin came to Tenerife there was a massive gap in the market, only one catamaran offered whale and dolphin trips.  The business began in 2000 with the decision to offer a more personalised service while the naming of the catamarans came easily, with the insertion of one letter in Justins surname.  The business ran well until 2007 when they sold it.  In 2009, the purchasers went bankrupt and Justin managed to retrieve one of the catamarans and start again.


Justin feels comfortable on the island and loves to be close to the sea.  He says, the great thing about Tenerife is that if you are prepared to do things just that bit better, there is a niche for you.. I do business in a very British way, people pay for our product and deserve good standards.  They do everything in-house, including the catering, and have a fantastic well paid crew with the potential to earn more.  The human spirit needs to know that there are ways to progress, says Justin who believes strongly in hands-on management and added, working in tourism is not a job, you need to see it as a way of life.


He knows that internet has changed tourism and will continue to do so.  In 2000 his core business was from tour operators, they will always be important, they are the first focal point and have direct access to the clients, he comments.  He thinks that in time, tour operators will bring 35 per cent of all excursion business here and that the rest will be booked direct.  For us, the market from now on is Eastern Europe.  The Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and we are now in the next generation.  They all speak English and the Canary Islands to them are what the Caribbean was to us 35 years ago.  He told us that this summer, the MustCat did five out of every 14 trips with the commentary solely in Polish, two a week in German, and the rest were for other languages.


Of the crisis, Justin says, we had a fantastic summer following a drastic winter when the people were here but the good weather wasnt.  Some bars and restaurants have had a bad summer with so many hotels offering all-inclusive deals.  More of that and we will lose those businesses, which many people love.  Justin feels that the government focuses too much on the big picture, and fails to consider the local businesses.


Speaking of the future, Justin feels there is no reason why we cannot continue to pick up, but wonders how the Spanish government will handle issues like strikes, and what will be the effect of the new British governments money saving schemes.  I doubt that well ever get back to the levels of 2000, but with a bit of hard work and dedication we can have a good lifestyle.

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