Agreement on the management of the Roque de los Muchachos Visitor Centre

Representantes del Cabildo de La Palma, del Ayuntamiento de Garafía y del IAC en la firma del acuerdo de gestión del Centro de Visitantes del Roque de los Muchachos. Crédito: Cabildo de La Palma

The Cabildo of La Palma, the Town Council of Garafía, and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), joined via a videoconference, signed an agreement to collaborate in the management of the future tourist centre which will be devoted to the popularization of Astronomy, and of the natural and cultural heritage of the highest point on the Island of La Palma, were the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory is sited.

The President of the Cabildo of La Palma, Mariano Zapata, the Mayor of Garafía, Yeray Rodríguez, and the Director of the IAC Rafael Rebolo participated in the signing. Also present at the event were the Councilor of Infrastructure of the Cabildo of  La Palma, Borja Perdomo, the Councilor of Tourism of the Cabildo of La Palma, Raúl Camacho, the Deputy Director of the IAC, Casiana Mujoz Tuñón, the Manager of the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, Juan Carlos Pérez Arencíbia, and the Manager of General Services of the IAC, Jesús Burgos Martin.

Mariano Zapata stated that this Centre will offer the visitor “a complete and unique experience” and stressed the impact it would have on the tourist offer of the Island: “From the Cabildo we continue to support the strengthening of a modern sustainable island which will have aspects which pick it out from other tourist destinations which may be our competitors. This is something that, with no doubt, we will manage to bring about with the setting up of this centre which will be one of the most important in the world, and which will complete a network of interpretative centres of high interest on La Palma”.

Yeray Rodríguez also expressed the importance for the municipality to have a reference point containing such an important facility. “This agreement between administrations is one step further towards making a reality this centre which will complete the experience of those who visit the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory” he afirmed.

Rafael Rebolo, said that in his view “the coming start-up of this Visitor Centre will mean an important advance for the island and for the Observatory too, because it will satisfy a demand of those who live in La Palma, as well as its visitors, who wish to obtain a deeper insight into the work we do at the telescopes and how important it is”. For the Director of the IAC this centre “Shows in this way our best wish to create even better relations with the Cabildo of La Palma and with the Town Council of Garafía, to foment the economy of this town, a collaboration which will continue with the creation of the Museum of the History of the Observatory, strengthening sustainable tourism, and contributing to the needed diversification of the La Palma economy”.

The Roque de los Muchachos Visitor Centre is situated on road LP-4 close to the installations of the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, on a plot of some 14,000 square metres. The landscape of its surroundings and the fact that it is close to one of the most important Astrophysical Observatories in the World make this a first class tourist attraction on the Canary Island of La Palma which is visited by more than 100.000 people per year.

The building is noteworthy above all for its irregular form and basalt covering, making it blend perfectly with its volcanic environment. As well as its exhibition halls, the building will also have a shop, a cafetería and a restaurant.

The three institutions hope that very soon, when the pandemic conditions permit, this Visitor Centre will be opened, and will benefit the town of Garafía, the Island of La Palma and Canary society in general.

Contact at IAC:
Juan Carlos Pérez Arencibia (adminorm [at] iac.es)

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