The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. Its main industries are agriculture, dairy farming, livestock ranching, fishing, and tourism, which is becoming the major service activity in the region. With only 5% of the ground being build-up area, the island have a very rich nature. One of the highlights is the amazing variety of volcanic features: cones and domes, craters and crater lakes, caverns, grottoes and thermal springs.
The islands are very well known for their sustainable character. Why? You name it, ranging from a rich and protected marine life, protected nature areas with well regulated hiking trails to a “eco-school” and the renewable energy use on the island. However, the rich marine life, including dolphins, sperm whales and great whales, marine turtles and birds, pelagic fishes and cold water corals in the Azores are unique. All of it can be experienced through well regulated snorkeling, diving, sighting and whale watching trips.
After being evaluated several times and keeping the highest position in the Global Sustainable Tourism Review (GSTR), the Azores became the first QualityCoast Platinum Award winner. Download the QualityCoast Jury Report and score table here.
With the support of the TUI Care Foundation QualitySpots are currently being implemented in the Azores. QualitySpots show visitors why the Azores are a QualityCoast destination. Information poles featuring QR codes are placed in the chosen locations and will provide visitors with information about the spot. The selected QualitySpots are the following and indicated on the map below:
- São Jorge – Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo
- São Miguel – “Vista do Rei” – view over “Sete Cidades” Lake
- São Miguel – Furnas
- São Miguel – Vila Franca do Campo Islet
- Faial – Horta Marina
- Pico – Whaling Industry Museum
- Corvo – Vila do Corvo
- Terceira – Bay and Pátio da Alfândega
- Development of an innovative governance system of Protected Areas aiming to improve the management of nature and conservation and ensures the ecological structure and connectivity of the archipelago.
- Water management has been improved by the Regional Plan for the Water (PRAA), which aims to encourage a rational use of water.
- The Azores have a specific identity related to the Atlantic and insularity features. The identity, values of cultural and historical heritage is well preserved and promoted.
- The tourism business grows into a sustainable way, providing long term social and economic benefits.
- The Government supports human rights activities: several NGOs and solidarity institutions are working against domestic violence and offer support and protection of women and children.
VISTAS BEST PRACTICE CASES:
Point for improvement:
- Invest and improve the sustainable monitoring tourism system, using current data and information on the tourism impact on the nature.