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European turistic destiny

It was precisely because of the shipping traffic that the tourism industry was born in Gran Canaria. Over the years, tourism would eventually become the main source of income for the island, which would become one of the main tourist destinations in the world. From the second half of the 19th century, Gran Canaria started gaining popularity in European circles as a place of rest for tourists and the infirm. Shipping companies soon took advantage of the opportunity to equip their vessels with cabins for the transport of passengers. These companies would also take the initiative in the building of the first hotels on the island, one of which was the hotel of Santa Catalina (1890) in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, this being the only hotel dating from the early beginnings of tourism that still remains open.

The development of tourism and the services that had sprung up around tourism was interrupted by a number of wars (the World Wars and the Spanish Civil War) and it would only be in the fifties when the island would again receive any significant numbers of tourists. During this slump, the tourism industry could not even be revived by the opening of the Airport of Gran Canaria (called Gando in those times) in 1930.

At Christmas of 1957, an aeroplane of the Swedish airline, Transair AB, landed at Gando with all 54 of its seats occupied. This was the first of a series of charter flights with which Gran Canaria launched itself in the organised mass tourism market as well as the modern tourism industry.

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