Azores small group tour

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Date
Price
Basis
10 Sep 2017
£ 1750
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 10 Sep 2017 departure
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Azores small group tour

Environment

The Azores as a destination boasts a wide diversity of opportunities for environmentally friendly leisure and recreation and received the highest sustainability score on the Global Sustainable Tourism Review conducted by Green Destinations, an international sustainability support system used to measure, monitor and improve the sustainability profile of destinations and regions. It recently implemented an innovative governance system of Protected Areas aiming to improve the management of nature and conservation and ensures the ecological structure and connectivity of the archipelago. The archipelago enjoys sustainable practices ranging from a rich and protected marine life, protected nature areas with well regulated hiking trails to an “eco-school” and the renewable energy use on the island. Water management has been improved by the Regional Plan for Water (PRAA), which aims to encourage a rational use of water.

Aware of the geotourism potential of the archipelago and aiming to conserve the Azorean volcanic landscapes, the regional and local authorities adopted a geotourism strategy which included the creation and implementation of a Geopark. With 121 geosites spread over the nine islands and surrounding seafloor, the Azores Geopark has recently been included in the European Geopark Network (EGN), achieving international recognition. The development of geotourism in the Azores has contributed to sustainable tourism, promoting the local economy and minimizing the sociocultural and environmental impacts of tourism.

Our local agents encourage those that work with them and their visitors to embrace responsible tourism in the Azores, making environmentally friendly, sustainable, ethical and respectful choices when travelling.

They are committed to preserving the regions unique environment and a portion of their profits goes towards various conservation projects in Sao Miguel such as Life Priolo. The Priolo (or Azores Bullfinch) is a bird species endemic to Sao Miguel island, specifically to the mountain area of Serra da Tronqueira in the east of the island. Numbers are estimated to be in the region of 775 birds and it is the most threatened passerine bird in Europe and listed as critically endangered.

In our local agents office, in Ponta Delgada, they recycle as much as possible including paper, cardboard, printer toner cartridges and excess holiday brochures. All the hotels featured on the tour subscribe to the now international standard request to guests to re-use towels and bedding, turn off lights and air-conditioning units on leaving rooms and avoid littering in their local environment. As the tour is a group tour this helps reduce vehicle emissions when compared to private trips or fly-drives.

The tour stays in the Hotel Terceira Mar on the island of Terceira which is committed to good environmental practices. They harness rainwater for garden irrigation which in their last review in 2013 amounted to 52% of their total irrigation consumption. The hotel is working to reduce energy consumption through better temperature control in the hotel. They noted a 10% reduction between 2012 and 2013 and 14.8% of the electricity used was produced by renewable sources (wind and hydro production). They also noted a 44.2% decrease of the use of diesel between 2012 and 2013 due to the decrease in boiler temperature and better control of room temperatures during low occupancy periods.

Community

We select suppliers whose businesses are owned and managed by local ecologists, biologists and marine biologists who strive to educate visitors and protect the natural landscape of these beautiful islands. Only local guides who are aware of local customs and cultures are employed which not only keeps the funds paid to staff within the local community but also helps avoid any potential cultural clashes between visitors and locals.

Our local agents are also committed to helping the local community. Rabo de Peixe is a small village situated on the north coast of the island of São Miguel in the Azores. It is known as the poorest village in Portugal due to its high birth rate and problems relating to alcoholism, school absenteeism and general lack of special teaching classes and, in some cases, domestic abuse. The Project “Rabo de Peixe Sabe Sonhar” (Rabo de Peixe dream maker) was created in 2004 by Jesuit priests in collaboration with a group of young university students. Their objective was to provide holidays for the underprivileged children of Rabo de Peixe. Our local agents are supporting the work of this worthy cause.

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