The Canary Archipelago is formed by a chain of islands of volcanic origin that has a maritime extension of about 100,000 km². Its endpoints are Punta de Mosejos on the Alegranza islet at the north, and Punta de la Restinga on the island of El Hierro at the south. The total surface of the Archipelago, according to the National Geographic Institute, is of 7,447 km. The largest island is Tenerife with 2034.21 km2 and the smallest island is El Hierro with 268.70 km2. The Archipielago is located in the Atlantic Ocean in North Africa, near the southern coast of Morocco and northern Sahara. The island of Fuerteventura is about 95 km from the African coast. The distance to the mainland Europe is about 940 km (from the islet of Alegranza at the end of San Vicente).
Due to its privileged location, it is considered a bridge between Europe, Africa and America.
It has a population of 2,108,121 inhabitants (Istac 2017), making it the most populated Ultraperipheral Region, with a population density of 283 inhabitants per km².
As an Autonomous Community within the Spanish State, it has a Government and a unicameral Regional Parliament, and is endowed with the Statute of Autonomy since 1982.
Each of the islands has a body of government and administration called the Cabildo. In addition, in the Canary Islands there are 88 municipalities with their respective City Councils.
The islands, of volcanic origin, are part of the natural region of Macaronesia. Its climate is subtropical, although it varies locally according to the altitude and the north or south slope of the islands. This climatic variability gives rise to a great biological diversity that, along with the landscape and geological wealth, explains the existence in the Canary Islands of four national parks and that all the islands have Unesco biosphere reserves, and others have areas that have been declared as Heritage of Humanity.
The Canaries is the second Spanish region with the highest number of foreign tourists, more than 11.5 million tourists annually.
Most of the companies belong to the services sector, followed by the commercial sector. Its business network consists mainly of small and medium-sized SMEs (between 10 and 49 workers) and MICROPYMEs (less than 10 workers).
The traditional activities of the Canary Islands are the cultivation of banana, tomato and potato, livestock, fishing, fish farming, the cultivation of plants and flowers, wine making and the agri-food industry, as well as energy and seawater desalination.
Its cutting-edge activities are research and development in biomedicine, astronomy and tourism. It has two astrophysical observatories, the Teide Observatory on the island of Tenerife, and the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, which has one of the most complete telescope compilations in the world.
Also, the Government of the Canary Islands is making an important commitment to the promotion of the film and the audiovisual activity. In recent years, a large number of films, both national and international, have been filmed in the islands.
The Canary Islands’ primary sector accounts for 1.8% of the Canarian Gross Domestic Product.
The privileged geographical situation of the Archipelago makes it a platform that unites the European, African and American continents.
Its subtropical climate and its cultural and landscape richness make the Canarian archipelago one of the favorite tourist destinations among tourists from Europe, especially the United Kingdom and Germany. Such is the importance of tourism for the regional economy, that the sector generates more than 35% of employment and its contribution to GDP exceeds 30%.