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Angra do Heroísmo ,  December 05, 2019

Marta Guerreiro announces certification of the Azores as sustainable tourist destination

 The Regional Secretary for Energy, Environment and Tourism announced today that the Azores have been certified as a sustainable tourist destination, through EarthCheck certifier and under the strict criteria of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

 "We are the first and only archipelago in the world bearing this certification" as well as "the only region in Portugal among a group of 13 regions of the world from only eight countries," said Marta Guerreiro. The government official spoke in Angra do Heroísmo at the opening session of the GSTC Annual Congress, which brings together about 300 participants from 42 countries, at a ceremony she chaired on behalf of the President of the Government, Vasco Cordeiro. 

 "Today we make a difference, once again, between those who remain in the past and those who play a leading role in the construction of the future," she stressed, adding that "I am proud to say that the Azores are leading this path at global level."

 "We are at the forefront," the Regional Secretary said, emphasising that this was a "commitment" made by the Regional Government, but that the Azoreans have "assumed as their own" from the very first hour. 

"Citizens and the entities were with us; they fulfilled this commitment with us," noted the government official. "For us, this is the way of making politics, taking action, listening, reflecting, integrating, to producing and to fulfilling," said Marta Guerreiro. In this regard, she recalled that the Regional Government began the destination certification process in December 2017 at the conference "Azores 2017: towards sustainable tourism," an event held under the celebrations of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism.

 "Today, we promise to continue working to make the Azores what it is today: a sustainable tourist destination," stressed Marta Guerreiro. According to her, this is "a challenge for all agents in the sector, who have already shown they are involved in this commitment to sustainability, through their collaboration on this project with hard work and dedication, but above all with great enthusiasm and responsibility." 

 For the Regional Secretary, "the certification we were awarded today is not an end in itself; on the contrary, a certified destination in terms of sustainability can never consider that its work is done." As she emphasised, it should "continuously aware of its development and performance, involving a wide range of local and international stakeholders."

"We have been repeating, several times, that we would do everything we could to turn sustainability from utopia into reality as well as into a more present and consistent action in our lives," said the Regional Secretary. According to her, this certification was only possible because "there was a collective willingness to accept this constant work of self-analysis and improvement."

 Marta Guerreiro mentioned that the process was developed in several phases, highlighting the last one, the on-site audit, which ensured "full transparency and rigour throughout the process." It included "the review of all documentation and data collected in the Benchmarking phase as well as the official visit to three islands of the archipelago chosen by Earthcheck:  São Miguel (Eastern Group), Terceira (Central Group) and Flores (Western Group). Additionally, several infrastructures were visited in each of these islands, such as power plants, waste processing centres or water treatment plants in order to verify their compliance with the criteria."

On the occasion, the Regional Secretary pointed out various ongoing projects towards sustainability, especially the Sustainability Charter, with public and annual memberships of commitments under the UN Sustainable Development Goals by companies, associations and the public sector. Currently, it has "around 100 members distributed throughout the archipelago and more than 300 public goals." 


GaCS/HMB
 
 
 
 
 
   
 

Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

 
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