LONDON – Spain’s Canary Island of Tenerife wants the world to become reacquainted with its wines, which were once so popular that even the poet and playwright William Shakespeare wrote about them, having clearly enjoyed their quality.
To this effect, the island’s regional government presented on Tuesday at the World Travel Market exhibition in London its latest promotional strategy seeking to associate the island with its Denominations of Origin products.
“Wine production takes place in various districts at altitudes that go from sea level up to 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) above it on the island’s northern and southern slopes, making it possible to visit the archipelago through its wines,” said Carlos Alonso, president of the Cabildo (government) of Tenerife.
This way, tourists can enjoy the diverse gastronomical experiences the island can offer “and therefore discover Tenerife,” he added, speaking to EFE.
It is the first time the island’s government has based its tourist promotional strategy on the fame and quality of its renowned wines. In past campaigns, it had resorted to sports activities or even stargazing, given that the European Space agency has one of its top observatories on the island.
Alonso added that Tenerife wines share a long historic tradition with the United Kingdom and are featured in some of Shakespeare’s plays, such as in Act 2, Scene 4 of Henry IV: “But I faith, you have drunk too much canaries and that’s a marvelous searching wine.”
Back then, wine was a costly commodity reserved exclusively for the elite as a glass of could cost 12 times the price of a jar of ale, Alonso said.
“An important wine trade flowed between Tenerife and England during the 16th, 17th and early 18th centuries,” he added.
This was thanks to the wines’ special properties that reflect the island’s climate and its volcanic soils, imbuing it with special taste characteristics.
According to Alonso the tourist industry is focusing on destinations with an added vital experience factor, “where the traveler seeks more than just sun and beaches.”
Alonso added that the number of tourists staying at five-star hotels had multiplied by 10 in the past decade and tourists that once traveled on charter flights now fly with low-cost airlines.
Last year, Tenerife welcomed 2.3 million tourists, of which 70 percent did so during the winter season.
“Tenerife is the UK’s top winter destination and tourists that visit the island often return,” said Alonso.
According to statistics, 80 percent of tourists do return and give the island 8.5 points out of 10.
“But we must increase the number of activities available to tourists,” Alonso said.
“The island is literally an all-inclusive destination boasting aquaparks, sun, the Teide volcano and La Laguna National Parks, two World Heritage sites, good gastronomy with Michelin stars, spectacular nature, a biosphere reserve and outdoor sports,” Alonso explained.
The final target is to get the tourists to spend more per individual, the more they spend, the more it activates the local economy, he said.
The local authorities’ ultimate intention is to lower the island’s unemployment rate, which in 2014 was 34 percent and in 2017 dropped to 20 percent, but their final target is 10 percent.