Located just off the coast of Portugal and surrounded by marine protected reserves and a magnificent backdrop of nine volcanic islands, the Autonomous Region of the Azores has achieved EarthCheck Bronze Benchmarked, with a goal of becoming a world-leading sustainable destination.
Azores Green Team, at São Miguel Island
The Regional Secretary of Energy, Environment and Tourism, Marta Guerreiro, said that achieving EarthCheck Benchmarked Bronze is important for the Azores as a destination that is determined to preserve their natural and cultural heritage.
“This is something we are very proud of because it reveals the first external recognition of a commitment that we worked hard for, with all entities, companies and people, positioning us closer to achieving the destination certification,” said Marta Guerreiro, who spoke at the opening of the ‘Green Team’ on the island of São Miguel.
According to the Regional Secretary, this is “a commitment that we believe it belongs to everyone, where we can make the difference between who will be in the past and who will have a leading role in building a better future in the Azores”.
“We are highly focused on the science behind EarthCheck’s sustainability program, as well as the need for engagement with our local communities and stakeholders,” the Destination Management Organisation Coordinator, Jorge Alves, added.
“We want to be accountable for our energy, waste and water usage to attract eco-friendly tourists. Our policy and vision will guide the Azores as a leader for responsible tourism, encouraging conservation and supporting our local communities.”
Tourism is one of the few economic sectors consistently growing around the world, translating into socio-economic development, employment, infrastructure development and export revenues; but it will only be sustainable if developed and managed considering both visitors and local communities.
EarthCheck CEO and Founder Stewart Moore said the Azores joins a global movement of EarthCheck Sustainable Destinations that dare to make a difference.
“Together EarthCheck can help build the Azores’ reputation as a leading sustainable destination for visitors and local communities,” Mr Moore said.
“I’d like to congratulate the entire Azores team for their dedication to measure their impact and benchmark their performance against industry best practice.”
“Destinations around the world are recognising the need to embrace sustainability. Only when a destination fully understands its environmental and social footprint and has community ownership can it make informed decisions on how to plan and manage its future.”
“It is important to acknowledge that you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” Mr Moore said.
EarthCheck’s Sustainable Destinations program will provide the Azores with a scientific framework to benchmark, certify and continuously improve their environmental, cultural, social and economic performance. The Azores will undergo an independent onsite certification audit in October with the goal of achieving EarthCheck Silver Certification.
Mr Moore will be visiting the Azores as a keynote speaker at the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Conference which will be held on Terceira Island from 4-7 December.
Get involved in this path, towards Sustainability. Check the Azores Destintation website: http://sustainable.azores.gov.pt/