The tourism boom
Its pleasant climate and the mild temperature of the sea made Tenerife into a tourist destination in the last few decades of the 19th century. At that time, thousands of people suffering from health problems were flocking to the Island from Europe to recover from their rheumatism, skin problems and breathing difficulties, taking advantage of the Canary Islands' pure Atlantic air and clear waters. Although it was already popular among explorers, botanists and geologists, Tenerife began its rise to becoming the major holiday destination it is today.
In 1886, the Valle de La Orotava Hotel and Sanatorium Company was founded in Puerto de la Cruz, which was in charge of managing the Orotava Grand Hotel health centre. A few years later, other buildings were erected for the purpose of providing accommodation and ensuring the comfort of visitors in the north of Tenerife, making this the first hotel resort in the whole archipelago.
As from the 1960s, Tenerife started to receive tourists who came in search of rest, sunshine and sea. It is important to highlight the natural beauty of the Island's peaks and the rich historical heritage of its towns and cities as an added bonus to its profile as a sun and sea destination, leading Tenerife's popularity to grow year after year. Already in the 1980s, tourism spread to the south of the Island and settled in key areas such as Los Cristianos, Playa de las Américas and Costa Adeje. Moreover, Teide National Park is the second most visited national park in the world.
Among the most illustrious figures to have visited Tenerife is British writer Agatha Christie, who spent her stay in Puerto de la Cruz in 1927. It was here that she finished writing two of her best-known novels: The Mystery of the Blue Train and The Mysterious Mr Quinn”. Back in 1959, a luxurious yacht from Morocco would dock in Santa Cruz transporting Aristotle Onassis together with his wife and Winston Churchill, who by that time was 85 years old. George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney also came to holiday in Tenerife after launching their first album in 1963, where they blended happily into the crowds of foreign visitors and were able to enjoy their last holiday undisturbed by bodyguards, fans and the press.