By Luis Aparício | Published 21/08/2018
Photo 1– From left: Gavin Eccles, Commercial Director of the SATA Group, Luis Barros, consul of Portugal in Toronto, William Delgado, Country Manager of the Portuguese National Tourist office and Carlos Botelho, Managing Director at Azores Airlines in Canada. By LML
Azores Airlines, a SATA Group company which operates flights out of the Azorean archipelago, promises to be a major player in the North American continent with the intention to attract more tourists from Canada.
On May 30, Azores Airlines, in partnership with Turismo de Portugal, announced the reactivation of the “Stopover” program. A large number of tour operators and representatives from travel agencies from Portugal and Canada attended the event at the Old Mill in Toronto.
The “Stopover” program allows passengers on North American long-haul routes to spend time between one and seven nights in the Azores at no extra cost.
Gavin Eccles, Commercial Director at the SATA Group, says the “Stopover” program will provide more tourism opportunities to the archipelago. In the summer, Azores Airlines will have 11 weekly flights from Boston, in the U.S, to Ponta Delgada, as well as five flights departing from Toronto.
Eccles pointed out that the company reported a 16% growth in the number of seats sold to the Azores and Portugal between 2013 and 2018. He also said that in the winter they will start flying with a new aircraft – the A320neo, a state-of-the-art airplane produced in Hamburg, Germany. “We want to fly out of Toronto with a new aircraft, so we can give our customers a safe, reliable and memorable experience”, he added.
Photo 2 – “If I were a passenger and they offered me this package, I would accept it without blinking. The Azores archipelago was voted best tourist destination in the world according to the World Travel Awards in 2017.” Adelino Sales, president of JM Vacations. By LML.
Photo 3– Carlos Botelho, managing director at Azores Airlines in Canada
DISCOVER – What are the main objectives that Azores Airlines intends to achieve with this new commercial strategy?
Carlos Botelho – “Stopover” is a product that still requires a lot of promotion inside and outside the Portuguese market, as the Azores and Azores Airlines are still little known. By using the stopover, the passenger will have the benefit of being able to visit two destinations for the price of one – as a result, that will generate growth and wealth to all.
DISCOVER – Do you think that this new package is the final catalyst for a tourist boom in the region?
Carlos Botelho – The Canadian market still needs a lot of planning. I believe this promotion will help attract more Canadians to the Azores.