Agents' Choice 2020
Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Jan 06, 2020
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It’s a natural for the Azores

Sustainable tourism

RODNEY TUGWELL

In December 2019, The Azores was certified as a sustainable tourism destination through the EarthCheck certifier and under the strict criteria of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). This is the world’s first and only archipelago with this certification and the only region in Portugal.

For the Azores, the goal of environmental sustainability is to provide a true experience to tourists in a natural and genuine setting.

With only five per cent of the Azores Islands being developed, all visitors can easily interact with the cultural heritage and natural resources, while enjoying a unique European experience. Almost 25% of the archipelago’s territory is classified as a protected area managed by the natural parks on each of the islands.

There are many activities available to visitors on the Azores: canyoning, cycling, hiking, soaking in natural hot springs, sailing, surfing, diving, golfing, bird watching, and whale watching. All activities are easily found and key to the Azorean economy. On both sea and land, the Azores takes conservation seriously to make it a nature lovers place to visit.

Some fast facts

Spread out across the Atlantic, the Azores are made up of nine islands. These islands have been referred to by National Geographic as one of the best places in the world to visit.

With its wide range of geologic characteristics and landscapes the archipelago is one of the most beautiful in the world. UNESCO has recognized Angra do Heroismo (Terceira) and Pico Island Vineyard (Pico) as World Heritage Sites. Corvo, Graciosa, Flores and Sao Jorge Gajas are recognized as UNESCO Birosphere Reserves. Nature and ecotourism are premium tourism products and the main pillars of UNESCO World Geoparks.

The sustainable development goals in the Azores include no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry/inovation/infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace/justice/strong institutions and partnerships for the goals.

Helpful tips

For agents sending clients to the Azores, here are 10 responsible tourism tips that you can pass on to them:

• Travel Light to reduce the carbon footprint of your flight
• Pack environmentally friendly products and a reusable bag for shopping
• Don’t buy marine souvenirs such as shells, teeth or bone
• Eat and shop local
• Use eco-friendly bags – no plastic and don’t litter
• Respect signs at tourist attractions
• Respect local culture
• Walk, bike or use public transport
• Choose responsible tour operators
• Leave no trace

Getting there

Azores Airlines winter schedule offers four weekly flights between Toronto and Ponta Delgada (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) and weekly (Thursday) service between Toronto and Terceira.
Azores Airlines is the first Portugese airline to connect Canada with Portugal using the A321neo aircraft.

Passengers travelling beyong the Azores are allowed stopover stays, from a few hours to seven days, without an added cost. Travellers can continue from the Azores to mainland Portugal, with the carrier, serving Lisbon and Porto. Stopovers are valid in either direction.

For more, go to https://stopover.azoresairlines.pt or visit https://www.azoresailirnes.pt/en.

 

 

 

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