Beach villa in Madeira, Portugal
How Beach villa in Madeira, Portugal makes a difference
The owners and managers of the property support and promote socially responsible tourism/eco-tourism to protect the strongest asset that Madeira particularly Paul do Mar's region has which is 'natural beauty' from the 24 fountains which can be seen on the Rabacal Levada Nova walk to the dolphins, turtles and whales living along Calheta's coast. So, as soon as anyone makes an enquiry about staying in the property we send photographs and information links to activities such as the walks and whale-watching with responsible travel partners based in Calheta which have local workforce focused on appreciating and valuing nature and cherishing and protecting it.
Sheets and linen are changed weekly. One of the re-cycling points to EU standards is on the Ocean front about 80 metres from the house. Local residents donate locally grown fruit to visitors. As part of the package we give fruit such as bananas and passion fruit and vegetables to the clients and recommend that they walk around the fields to see where they are grown instead of just walking along the roads on pavements during their stay. We are using alternatives to chemical cleaners to clean the house and contents such as olive oil to clean wood. We hire bicycles at the house to clients and are considering offering them for no fee.
Transport in Madeira region is mainly by new fast roads. The advantage to the environment is that traffic is not moving slowly up and down the old winding, narrow mountain roads, so, less fuel is consumed and less poisonous chemicals emitted into the atmosphere. Also, the new roads have taken traffic away from many village, town centres. To promote greener transport we offer bike hire and airport transfer if visitors do not want to hire a car for the whole holiday. Some of our visitors have enjoyed Calheta region so much they have used the hire-car little and never explored the city or just visited the city on one or two occasions.
The original house is a restored building - a fisherman's house which was about a 100 years old! We still have photographs of the original house inside and outside. We had to completely renovate it to meet the local authorities' standards here. The house has tourism licence from the local Town Hall. This is one of the reasons why the house is loved so much. Its still on its original site, 50 metres from the seafront between banana fields. Mountains behind and the Atlantic Ocean ahead of it. A man who was born in the house and still lives in the village is so proud that we renovated it and kept its character and best qualities instead of destroying it and building a large, ugly rectangular with no traditional roof tourist development.
Most of our clients take some walks in Madeira including the famous walks starting in Paul do Mar the PR 19
Caminho Real do Paul do Mar. Some of our clients want the nature so much they do not even travel into the city over a period of 10-14 days. This is evidence of how nature-friendly Paul do Mar and the Calheta region is.
When clients check-in we make a presentation stressing amongst other things waterfalls above the village and the closest walks so they can see how much natural food and animals are close to the house. A small resource bank of written information on responsible tourism is provided at the property too.
Benefits to the local community include the following:
2 full time jobs and part time posts in the village by employing these staff we are preventing people from commuting to the city Funchal where most employment is concentrated. The house is managed and serviced by local people.
All the workers can walk or cycle to the house to carry out the services for clients. The clients check in at a local restaurant and bar and this local business is recommended so that again local businesses run by locals benefit from visitors staying at the house.
We have written an A-Z on Paul do Mar which is in the small library and resource centre in the house. This A-Z recommends other local businesses in the village and the other local villages and emphasises responsible travel, eco-tourism activities such as bird watching, whale and dolphin watching, walking along 'levadas' (irrigation channels) instead of activities which in our opinion damage the environment such as jet-skiing and touring the island in cars and coaches every day.
We liaise with the local award-winning eco-hotel another responsible travel partner regularly on community environmental projects including exhibitions and events including cleaning the environment with visitors and a local day of the sea project at the local school.
Beach villa in Madeira, Portugal