A protocol was signed between the Government of the Azores and Google to optimize the Azores as a tourism destination, with the goal of reaching 200 million potential tourists over the next three years, the regional Tourism and Transport Deputy, Vítor Fraga, revealed Monday.
“This partnership will be crucial to enhance the awareness vis-à-vis our targeted markets and how we will present ourselves to potential markets and consumers with the goal to increasing tourism in the islands,” said Vítor Fraga.
According to Deputy Fraga, the partnership will meet the objectives targeted by the ‘Strategic and Marketing Plan of the Azores Tourism’ [Plano Estratégico e de Marketing do Turismo dos Açores] to promote the Azores through the digital networks offered by Google, including media platforms such as Adwords.
The partnership will provide the Azores with “new opportunities to promoting our tourism and improving the infrastructure of our information technology,” he added.
The agreement will also offer a “triple certification” to local education institutions, through the creation of a ‘Google Proficiency Center’ in the region, providing undergraduate and graduates students with digital skills in various Google products.
Tourism in the Azores has increased exponentially following a 2015 executive decision, by the central Government of Portugal and the Government of the Azores, allowing low-cost private airlines to establish domestic flights between mainland Portugal and the Azores.
In 2015, there was an increase in overnight stays of 19.6% over the previous year. In December alone, the increase was 51.8% over the same month of 2014.
The Azores based SATA’s Azores Airlines has strengthened its air links from the United States and Canada to the Azores and Portugal mainland by increasing the number of flights from to Boston and Toronto. Air carrier TAP Portugal has also added new daily non-stop flights from Boston’s Logan International Airport to Lisbon starting June 11, and a new daily departure from New York’s John F. Kennedy International to Lisbon starting July 1.
The Azores (population 250,000) is a region of Portugal composed of nine islands. The archipelago discovered by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, became an Autonomous Region of Portugal in 1976. The government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores includes the Legislative Assembly, composed of 57 elected deputies, elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term; the Regional Government and Presidency, with parliamentary legitimacy, composed of a President, a Vice-President and seven Regional Secretaries responsible for the Regional Government executive operations. The Autonomous Region of the Azores is represented in the Council of Ministers of the Central Government by a representative appointed by the President of Portugal. According to the latest US census over 1.3 million individuals of Portuguese descent live in the United States, the majority with roots in the Azores. It is estimated that over 20,000 US citizens live in Portugal.