In accordance with a note from the Regional Secretary for Tourism, Mobility and Infrastructure of the Azorean Government, the certification was given out due to “the response of the region to the criteria of the “Global Sustainable Tourism Council”, an international accreditation for sustainable tourism certification.”
In October, independent auditors from “EarthCheck” evaluated several infrastructures on different islands in the Azores and the result was “to move up another level in the certification process”, as stated in a note published on the official website of the Azorean executive.
The Government of the Azores stated that regulations adopted by “EarthCheck” stipulate an evolutionary certification process that imposes the progressive achievement of four levels (silver, gold, platinum and “master”) and that the region’s next major objective is to reach the “Gold Level”, as early as 2024.
The Regional Secretary for Tourism, Mobility and Infrastructure, Berta Cabral, considers that the classification “reinforces the positioning and leadership of the Azores in terms of tourism sustainability.”
“Achieving the “Gold Level” is not a goal associated with the superficiality of displaying the seal, but a critical goal due to its symbolism, the power of example and the effect it will have in terms of sustainability.”
Achieving this objective for Berta Cabral, “will be the formal recognition of the daily commitment of the region”, in the economic, environmental and cultural aspects.
“We are embracing this mission with lots of dedication and enthusiasm, taking into account that sustainability is not a means to an end, but a process of continuous and systematic improvement, which must be practiced everyday”, she added.
Berta Cabral, highlighted the crucial role that sustainability plays in the new version of the Azores Strategic Tourism and Marketing Plan (PEMTA) and above all, “in the development of the entire value of the sector.”
“Sustainability is the central pillar of tourism development, in which four fundamental strategic objectives stem from: internationally establishing the Azores as a sustainable tourist destination; reducing the seasonality and distributing tourist fluxes; raising quality, standards and generating more value, and boosting awareness among the consumers.”
Another of the instruments guiding the development of the tourism sector, the Azores Sustainability Booklet, presented as “a commitment to principles and practices that define the performance and contribution of the organisations set out to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals in the 2030 Agenda.”