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Just a quick catch up with some news, I have had a busy few days and Saturday a group of us did a rather long walk, it turned out to be 24 km took us 7.5 hours, we are all glad we made it, but never to be repeated as 2 hours was up hill. You can see photos from this walk HERE.

Madeira airport registers 390 weekly flights from 40 different airlines connecting 60 cities in 17 countries, this will also rise and there are more places interested in Madeira including America.

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The Judicial Court of the Region of Madeira has scheduled for today (Wednesday 8th Feb) the beginning of the trial of one of two men considered suspected of forest fire crimes that caused the fires in August last year in Madeira.

The 50-year-old man from Madeira is suspected of starting a fire in the Camacha parish of Santa Cruz, the neighbouring municipality east of Funchal, and was detained by the Public Security Police (PSP) at night From 15 to 16 August.

The defendant allegedly started a fire in the forest near his home on the Vale Paraíso site in that parish, the least serious of the cases related to the fires of August last year, which caused three deaths, one seriously injured and dozens of houses destroyed, people homeless and material losses estimated at 157 million euros.

Another 23-year-old man, considered responsible for the fire that broke out in the parish of São Roque, in the highlands of Funchal, and reached greater proportions is also under preventive detention.

A date is still to be set for the trial.

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The Regional Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Susana Prada, announced today that Madeira will have the first specific cetacean protection area in Portugal.

“We have created as part of our strategy for the sea, the cetacean site of Madeira. It is a protected marine area in which it is intended to protect whales, dolphins, turtles and even the fur seal. This is an area that currently has a regional scope and we want to see it classified or recognized as a Site of Community Interest, with the designation of SIC-cetaceans, “she explained.

This site will be proposed to be included in the European list of Sites of Community Importance of the Nature 2000 Network, in a project which is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

To that end, Susana Prada acknowledges that 12 years of scientific work, developed by the current scientific coordinator of the Madeira Whale Museum, allowed the political strategy to be supported, even to meet the European goals in this area.

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Hotel occupancy in Madeira surprises World Tourism Organisation.

The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, Taleb Rifai, said today in Funchal that the average annual hotel occupancy in Madeira, 71%, is probably the highest in the world, which translates to a good utilization of the infrastructures.

“No destination, no city, no country has a level of occupation of this caliber,” said the official, after signing the protocol of adhesion of five Madeiran hotels to the Global Code of Ethics of Tourism.

Taleb Rifai stressed that the average level of hotel occupancy is “absolutely crucial” to understanding a tourist destination, so the 71% annual registered in the autonomous region made him “very happy”.

“This is a sign that they are using your infrastructure in the best possible way,” he said, noting that “when making an investment, it is not only important to do it, but also to use it in the best possible way.”

The Porto Bay, Pestana, Savoy and Four Views hotel groups and the Quinta do Furão Hotel today adhered to the Global Code of Tourism Ethics, committing themselves to developing the activity in a sustainable manner, namely in terms of resource management, Energy, water and waste reduction and reuse.

All news stories and photos taken from the Diario Noticias