From Barra to Brazil: millions tune in to see island’s world famous landing strip

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BARRA’S world famous beach landing has been featured on one of Brazil’s most watched news bulletins.

The island’s airport, which was recently included in a list of the world’s favourite airport approaches, was featured on Globo TV, Brazil’s largest media company, during the channel’s prime time evening news programme, watched by around 60 million people.

A crew from Globo TV flew to the island last month to experience the beach landing for themselves and interview staff at the HIAL owned airport.

Michael Galbraith, station manager for Barra Airport said: “We were astonished when Globo TV told us that their film about Barra Airport would be watched by around 60 million people.

“It’s fantastic exposure for the airport and for the island. The beach landing at Barra is one of the many unique features of Scotland and continues to capture the imagination of people from across the world.”

The 4:27 minute video shows the crew from Globo flying from Glasgow to Barra and landing on the beach runway, interviews with airport staff and passengers and stunning footage of the island itself.

With a population of around 190 million, Brazil is the sixth largest economy in the world – one place ahead of the UK – and the economic powerhouse of South America.

The country is seen as a target market by tourism body Visit Britain. The inbound Brazilian tourism market grew by 21% between 2007 and 2011, the equivalent of around £41 million every year, according to Visit Britain.

And with direct flights from Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro to the UK, it’s hoped that visitor numbers to the UK will increase.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland and HIAL Director said: “We are delighted to see that Barra and its airport are attracting interest from around the world. With the footage broadcast on a prime-time news programme in Brazil, this is tremendous exposure for the region.

“This is the Year of Natural Scotland, which showcases Scotland’s stunning natural environment. This coverage will raise awareness of Barra’s stunning scenery and pristine natural environment, bringing Barra and Scotland to the forefront of viewers’ minds when they are considering where to take their next holiday.”

Latest figures show that Barra Airport handled 11,432 passengers in 2012, an increase of 9% on 2011 – making Barra the second fastest growing of HIAL’s 11 regional airports (Sumburgh recorded 13.2% growth).