Authorities intend to manage the growth of tourism on the island, in order to avoid excesses that are harmful to the environment.
The Azores want to “raise sustainability standards” and achieve, in 2024, the certification of gold as sustainable tourist destination, said today the regional secretary of Transport, Tourism and Energy, Mário Mota Borges. The head of Tourism in the Azores was speaking, in Ponta Delgada, on the island of São Miguel, at the meeting of the Advisory Committee for the Sustainability of Destination.
In 2019 the Azores went to first region of the country certified as a sustainable tourist destination, a distinction awarded with the “silver” category by Earthcheck. This is an international group of certification and consultancy for scientific benchmarking in travel and tourism, in business since 1987. The certification responded to the criteria of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council [Conselho Global de Turismo Sustentável], international accreditation body for the certification of sustainable tourism.
The Azores certification process began in 2017, proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism.
Today, at the meeting of the Advisory Committee for the Sustainability of the Destination, the regional secretary for Transport, Tourism and Energy highlighted the need to “raise the standards of sustainability” of the Azores as a tourist destination, preserving nature, “an asset” of the Region. “In 2024, we intend to achieve gold certification as a sustainable tourist destination”, underlined the holder for the Tourism portfolio of the Regional Government of the PSD/CDS-PP/PPM coalition.
The government official added that obtaining that distinction “it’s not automatic“, hence the need for a job “joint with multiple entities“, in a “collaborative posture”. Before reaching the goal of gold certification as a sustainable tourist destination, the Region “is already being the target of a local audit” with a view to “reaching level two” of the category of silver held, as he explained to journalists Mario Mota Borges.
“Some of those present at this meeting have been in the Azores for some time and are checking what is being done, requesting some corrections. And, therefore, it is a process in continuous development”, he said.
The government official stressed that, throughout this strategy, there are “two fundamental pieces“, namely the elaboration of a new Strategic and Marketing Plan for Tourism in the Azores for the horizon 2021-2025 and a new Plan for the Planning of Tourism in the Region. “We are in this domain of certification very positioned, but there is still a way to go until reaching a value that allows us to go further”, he said.
In preparation are also the Legal Regimes for Tourist Accommodation, for the Pedestrian Routes of the Region, as well as the Legal Regime of Tourist Animation of the archipelago.
“In everything in life there are waves, there are fashions and trends. Our action is also intended to control the excesses of what is on offer in certain branches, in the positive sense of control so that there is collective benefit and not in the sense of unilaterally repressing any tendency. We want people and agents to understand that the control that will be done is beneficial for all in the medium term”, he maintained.