"It is a commitment that involves Turismo Centro de Portugal and Biosphere, on the consulting side, so that our tour operators and the destinations, in particular, can achieve the seal of sustainable destination," explained the president of Turismo do Centro to the Lusa agency.

Pedro Machado explained that, for this, there will be "training and advice" and "a set of specifications that is available as a guideline" and "those who want to pursue it, surely, will achieve that seal of destination of sustainable tourism, which is internationally recognised.

"In this way, we will involve the community, in a transversal way, so that, within a limited space of time, but which will take two or three years, we may conquer the condition of being a totally sustainable tourism destination, in which the use of resources, the tourist enjoyment, are in line with the protection of the planet, with the protection of the environment", he added.

"It is important, because today there is clearly a mega international trend in new travellers that prefer, above all, destinations that have these certifications, that is, this is also a value, a positioning value and an economic value, because it allows to increase the attractiveness and competitiveness of these establishments," argued Pedro Machado.

The signing of the letter of commitment took place at The Fox House, a local tourism business in Serrazes, São Pedro do Sul, which has had Biosphere certification since 2019 and which today saw its certification renewed.

"In our tourism activity we try to control all our resources. In water, in energy, in waste, but also in our behaviour and that of our tourists. It's a symbiotic relationship, in which we do our part, but we raise awareness so that the guest accepts our way of being and values the nature that surrounds him, and that he also feels part of this commitment", explained Mafalda Carlos and Miguel Condesso.

The president of the Higher School of Technology and Health of Coimbra, of the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, was also receive the first certificate of environmental commitment by Biosphere.

"We are the first school of higher education in the country to receive this certificate of commitment to good sustainability practices, but we already have a history in this area, besides having a course in environmental health, we are in the programme of eco-schools and we have had a number of initiatives in training and research in this area," said João José Joaquim.