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Lisbon ,  March 01, 2018

Redevelopment of regional viewpoints is "main priority for the Regional Government" says Ana Cunha

The Regional Secretary for Transport and Public Works stated that the redevelopment of viewpoints and recreational areas on all islands of the Azores is "more than a mere obligation, it is main priority for the Government of the Azores."
Ana Cunha spoke at the Lisbon Travel Market during the presentation of the redevelopment projects of viewpoints, an intervention promoted in conjunction with the Regional for Energy, Environment and Tourism. "Over the last six years, the Government of the Azores has actively engaged in the maintenance and redevelopment of sites of tourist interest that we deemed necessary. We will not neglect the creation of new points of interest in the areas adjacent to the regional road network in order to increase the number of sites of tourist interest and, thereby, their decentralisation."
The government official mentioned the increase of tourism flows in recent years and, subsequently, the increase in the number of visitors to these points of interest. According to her, the Azorean Government "implements measures to mitigate some constraints that might arise with structural interventions that have the least possible environmental impact. They fulfil the goal of providing a positive and unforgettable experience to those who visit us," said the Regional Secretary.
Accordingly, the Government of the Azores, through the Regional Secretariat for Transport and Public Works, will move forward with the redevelopment of four viewpoints where there has been "a significant increase of visitors." This situation has also led to the "emergence of challenges, namely in terms of traffic and parking of vehicles and the movement of people."
In this regard, there are planned interventions in order to improve Vista do Rei Viewpoint and the surrounding area, Barrosa Viewpoint, Lagoa do Fogo Viewpoint and Pico do Ferro Viewpoint; all of them are located on São Miguel Island.
According to Ana Cunha, the redevelopment of Vista do Rei Viewpoint is "an intervention divided into two phases and aims to resize the viewpoint areas to accommodate more tourists as well as to ensure a space suitable for viewing the Sete Cidades Crater Lakes and the village of Candelária."
The Regional Secretary stated that this intervention also includes "the construction of a car park for long-term parking with capacity for 90 light vehicles and four buses that will be located next to Portal do Vento. In a second phase, in 2019, a bypass road will be built in adjacent area to connect the Regional Road to the road that descends to the village of Sete Cidades."
In turn, the Barrosa Viewpoint, located on the mountain of the same name, will be redeveloped until the end of the first half of this year. The interventions includes "the construction of a car park, taking into consideration its landscape, functional aesthetic balance," said the Regional Secretary.
As for the proposed intervention in Lagoa do Fogo Viewpoint, "like all other interventions, there was extreme care in ensuring the compatibility between the adopted solution and the operational commitments, including the respective environmental impacts," said Ana Cunha. "In the first quarter, an intervention will be carried out for the construction of a parking area with capacity for 70 light vehicles and three buses along the route with possibility of expansion, but always safeguarding the environmental impact."
In a second phase, there are plans to build "a tunnel passage connecting the car park and a suspended platform inside the crater for contemplation, which will replace the existing viewpoint," added the government official.
The Government of the Azores, through the Regional Secretariat for Energy, Environment and Tourism, will also carry out interventions in Caldeira Viewpoint on Faial Island and in Serra de Santa Bárbara Viewpoint on Terceira Island.
The redevelopment of Caldeira do Faial Viewpoint is already underway. It is located in the heart of Faial Island, more specifically in the Natural Reserve, a native flora sanctuary and the symbol of the Faial Island. This viewpoint has also been identified as a priority geosite of the Azores Geopark, given its national relevance and its significant scientific, educational and tourist interest.
The Serra de Santa Bárbara Viewpoint is located within the Serra de Santa Bárbara and Mistério Negros Natural Reserve, classified since 1974, which includes one of the largest and best-preserved natural vegetation patches in the Azores. It also houses a considerable diversity of species, habitats and protected ecosystems and, in this context, the Caldeira da Serra de Santa Bárbara was classified as a full natural reserve.
This site is also a priority geosite of the Azores Geopark due to its significant relevance.
"The interventions in Serra de Santa Bárbara Viewpoint aim to improve some technical facilities already installed and the access roads as well as to control traffic conditions," said Ana Cunha.
The Regional Secretary recalled that "the rehabilitation of Pico do Ferro Viewpoint with view over Furnas Lake is already underway." The intervention includes the "creation of a parking area for 35 vehicles so that the viewpoint area may be reserved for visitors and the improvement of observation points."
Ana Cunha also announced the construction of a car park for 70 vehicles next to Caldeira Velha Natural Monument in the municipality of Ribeira Grande this year.
"This car park will be located in the area adjacent to Caldeira Velha, allowing users to park and move safely while ensuring direct access to the site," said the government official.
The Regional Secretary stressed that the Regional Government has been undertaking continuous efforts to improve viewpoints and leisure areas. In this context, she pointed out some interventions carried out in 2017: the redevelopment of Ponta da Madrugada and Coroa da Mata Viewpoints on São Miguel, the redevelopment and construction of Fajazinha and Rocha dos Bordões Viewpoints on Flores, the construction of a viewpoint next to the entrance to Velas on São Jorge, and the rehabilitation of Vista da Ponta Branca Viewpoint on Graciosa.
Ana Cunha pointed out that these interventions intend to enhance the beauty of public spaces as well as to improve accessibility, parking conditions and visiting conditions. 
"All these projects presented are another example demonstrating the Regional Government's attention to the needs of the Azorean people and the commitment to work towards the development of an increasingly sustainable Region," said the government official. 
"Bearing in mind the growth of tourism in the Azores in recent years, it is important to continue ensuring mechanisms for the redevelopment and preservation of the main recreational areas as sites of tourist interest."


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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