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Air links with Portugal a key priority for Canaries 

PAGE 16 AIR

Portugal is becoming a strategic market for the Canary Islands with arrivals already 33 per cent up on last year.

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sports, Isaac Castellano recently inaugurated the direct new route from Lisbon to Tenerife North awarded to the airline Binter Canarias and promised further connections for the archipelago.

The tourism department of the Canary Government has so far backed 22 new routes, to the tune of 2.9 million euros, since the launch of its Flight Development Fund.

“This is an incentive programme, managed by Promotur Turismo de Canarias, for the implementation of new air routes that connect our archipelago with the world,” said Sr. Castellano.

This winter, he revealed, the Canaries will have five direct routes with Portuguese airports, which will mean a total offer of 33,000 places, 325 per cent more than last winter.

“It should be noted that 73 per cent of Portuguese tourists arriving in the Canary Islands in 2016 did so on a direct flight from Portugal, while the remaining 27 per cent did so through peninsular airports, suggesting the need to expand connectivity direct from this market, ” he said.

Between January and September, the Canary Islands received 67,000 passengers on direct flights from Portugal, representing a 33 per cent increase over the same period last year.

Of these, 67 per cent of the passengers went to Gran Canaria, another 22 per cent to Tenerife and the rest divided between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.

The Portuguese tourist who visits the Canary Islands has an average daily expense lower than the average market (€ 117 vs. € 136). Also, their average stay is shorter (7.2 vs. 9.4 days). They mostly come as couples or families and favour hotels and all-inclusives.