The Azores Trail Run, races race on rails that takes place this year from May 24 to 26, has taken to the Azores around 1,000 foreigners in five editions, and wants to increase the number of participants.
"Since 2014, we have thousands of participants. By our numbers, we already had out of the region in these events more than 1,000 foreigners. The number may not seem very significant, but it is an increase of tourists to the region in low season. Usually, at this point we have exhausted hotels and travel, "Mário Leal, director of the Azores Trail Run, told Lusa news agency.
Comprised of six events on the islands of Faial and Pico, the 2019 edition of the Azores Trail Run already has 600 registered participants from more than 20 nationalities, but the organizer of the event says there is still "an ambition to grow more a little".
"We have a strong participation already from many European countries and North America. The event is already well known. Overall we are quite satisfied. Now we wanted to increase these numbers, especially in the longest race, "he said, referring to the" Great Whalers' Route "with 118 kilometers.
According to Mário Leal, about 90% of Azores Trail Run participants come from outside the Azores and 20% from abroad, but accessibility is still an embarrassment.
"Especially for those who come from Europe, access to the Azores, and in particular to islands a little smaller, takes some time," he said, revealing, however, that the participants of the United States already surpass those of France and Spain.
The director of the Azores Trail Run said he believes in the potential of the Azores next to a tourism market that is in "strong growth".
"Although we are not a mountain destination, we are islands, we have this characteristic of having something mystical in volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic," he said, claiming that many people discover the Azores through the race.
Started in 2012, the Azores Trail Run has conquered not only tourists, but also locals, who increasingly adhere to hiking, walking routes and even competition races.
"This type of events and the race in general in the Azores has grown a lot, even exponentially, since we started," said Mário Leal.
The Azores Trail Run, which runs from May 24 to 26, begins with a "vertical kilometer" on the mountain of Pico and integrates five other races in Faial: the Family Trail, the " "With 25 kilometers, the" Faial Costa a Costa "marathon, the 65 kilometer" Ilha Azul "course and the" Great Whalers Route "with 118 kilometers.