Sustainability in the Azores

By | Category: Travel news
Azore cliff and ocean

view from a cliffside in the Azores

The Azores has become the world’s first destination to be awarded the Platinum Quality Coast Award by the largest international certification programme for sustainable tourism destinations, Quality Coast.

The Azores scored highly in all of the programme’s criteria including factors such as nature, marine life and coastal areas, landscape, clean water, blue flags, culture, hotels, environment, socio-economic factors and identity/community. The unanimous decision to recognise the islands with the highest possible award was made by an international panel of coastal and marine management experts.

As a result, the Azores have been named the No.1 sustainable tourism destination by Quality Coast for a second year running, beating over 1,000 other coastal and island destinations to the top spot.

The accolade cements the archipelago’s recent rise to the forefront of the sustainable tourism field, having been recognised as a Quality Coast award-winning destination since joining the programme in 2009. Only around 5% of the Azores’ ground is a ‘built-up’ urbanised area. Today, the archipelago makes effective use of renewable geothermal energy, and its main industries include agriculture, dairy farming, livestock ranching, fishing, and tourism which is becoming a major service activity.

The nine, volcanic islands of the Azores have low levels of development and offer many sites of natural heritage and protected marine life, which include UNESCO Biosphere Reserves sites. Marine life includes dolphins, sperm whales, great whales, marine turtles and birds, pelagic fish and cold water corals. The islands, which were also certified as a UNESCO European Geopark in 2013, offer well-regulated hiking and cycling trails, 33 Blue Flag beaches, snorkelling and scuba diving.

For more information about the Azores, click here.

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