TENERIFE – The recent announcement that Tenerife has been chosen as the host destination for the Routes Africa forum has coincided with a recent uplift in connectivity to the island. As one of the world’s most important connectivity meetings and the only route development forum for the African region, Routes Africa will take place from 26th to 28th June 2016 and is supported by the Canary Islands Government. The choice of Tenerife as host destination is testament to the continuous increase of air connections to the island from Africa, UK and Europe and aligns with the strategy of the Tenerife Island Government.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Routes Africa is expected to attract around 250 route development professionals from all over the world – including airlines, airports and tourism authorities – to the island to discuss air services to, from and within the African continent. Tenerife has been selected as the host venue because of its strategic location; being just 300km off the coast of Morocco makes Tenerife the closest European region to West Africa and, therefore, a gateway to four continents – Europe, Africa, North America and South America.
Mr. Alberto Bernabé, Tourism Minister of the Tenerife Island Government, said: “We are delighted and very honoured that Tenerife is hosting this prestigious event. Routes Africa is an exciting opportunity for us to showcase our island as a business hub to key aviation industry leaders from Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.”
Over 200 companies from the Canary Islands currently operate in Africa, generating revenues in excess of £173 million in 2015. This is the reason why Mr. Carlos Alonso, President of the Tenerife Island Government, has made the increase and improvement of the island’s air connectivity a top priority for the next few years, not only with Africa but also with the UK, Europe and the Americas. On this matter, Mr. Carlos Alonso commented: “We didn’t have any direct flights to Africa four years ago and today we have four: to Casablanca, Agadir, Marrakesh and Dakar. With continued efforts we expect this number to continue growing.”
As well as direct routes to Africa, Tenerife has also seen a recent increase of air connections from the UK. These include the recently-launched route from Heathrow to Tenerife North Airport with Iberia Express; two new twice-weekly services to Tenerife South Airport from Edinburgh with Jet2.com and Norwegian Airlines; and the introduction of a daily service from Gatwick with British Airways (up from 5 times a week). Also, Thomson Airways is launching a weekly service from Humberside Airport to the island in November 2016 and Thomas Cook Airlines is increasing its weekly flight to four times a week from this winter. Other European carriers, such as Lufthansa, Wizz Air and Brussels Airlines, have also added new routes to Tenerife from Munich, Budapest and Brussels, respectively.
The increase of air transport links to other continents is one of the key priorities of the Tenerife Tourism Corporation’s Why Tenerife project, aimed at promoting the economic, social and cultural development of Tenerife for businesses to establish a commercial base on the island. One of the island’s main business incentives is its unique tax system which is lower than the rest of Europe – 4% corporation tax for registered companies and 7% VAT.
Tenerife transports over 12 million air passengers to the island’s two international airports annually.