Portugal Green Walks

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Member since: 09 Jun 2020

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

Since rural Northern Portugal suffers from depopulation as young people tend to head to the cities for work, leaving older generations to manage on subsistence agriculture, it is extremely important to offer nature tourism products that are well-structured and diversified, based on quality and sustainability standards, that meet their potential as generators of wealth for local populations.

On our self-guided walking programmes, tourists stay in such areas for periods that can vary between 4 and 8 days, contributing effectively to the development of the local economy through the use of locally-owned and run accommodation (hotels and rural houses), restaurants, grocery stores, cafes and taxis that we make a point of using and promoting to sustain the local economy.

During their stay in the various villages, visitors are invited to observe, sample, and if possible purchase, traditional crafts, especially in the area of weaving, lace-making and embroidery, thus helping to keep local traditions alive and make older residents feel valued as well as supplement their income.

We encourage our guests to experiment with local Portuguese dishes at family-run restaurants, which are usually made from fresh, local ingredients, and offer an insight into local culture as well as a chance to practice their language skills.

We also encourage clients to purchase various quality products made from locally-sourced ingredients that are typical for the region e.g. sausages, cheese, wine, olive oil, jams, cookies, honey and aromatic or medicinal herbs from village shops and their accommodations, making sure that their tourist money stays within the community.
Our packed lunches and picnic baskets are sourced from local suppliers.

The Portugal Green Walks management and admin team consists of locally-employed specialists, most of whom grew up in the town / area where their office is based and have strong ties to the local and wider communities throughout the Northern Portugal region that enable us to identify suitable suppliers for our tours.

Our guides live in the areas in which they work.

We meticulously screen all of the service providers that we work with, ensuring that they operate in a professional, reliable manner and also that they have a certain distinctive authenticity and a genuine desire to share their enthusiasm with our visitors. We are therefore able to guarantee an impeccable level of quality in all of the services that the client experiences during their stay, thanks to close relationships with our partners and our presence in the field.

Environmental responsibility

Since rural Northern Portugal suffers from depopulation as young people tend to head to the cities for work, leaving older generations to manage on subsistence agriculture, it is extremely important to offer nature tourism products that are well-structured and diversified, based on quality and sustainability standards, that meet their potential as generators of wealth for local populations.

On our self-guided walking programmes, tourists stay in such areas for periods that can vary between 4 and 8 days, contributing effectively to the development of the local economy through the use of locally-owned and run accommodation (hotels and rural houses), restaurants, grocery stores, cafes and taxis that we make a point of using and promoting to sustain the local economy.

During their stay in the various villages, visitors are invited to observe, sample, and if possible purchase, traditional crafts, especially in the area of weaving, lace-making and embroidery, thus helping to keep local traditions alive and make older residents feel valued as well as supplement their income.

We encourage our guests to experiment with local Portuguese dishes at family-run restaurants, which are usually made from fresh, local ingredients, and offer an insight into local culture as well as a chance to practice their language skills.

We also encourage clients to purchase various quality products made from locally-sourced ingredients that are typical for the region e.g. sausages, cheese, wine, olive oil, jams, cookies, honey and aromatic or medicinal herbs from village shops and their accommodations, making sure that their tourist money stays within the community.
Our packed lunches and picnic baskets are sourced from local suppliers.

The Portugal Green Walks management and admin team consists of locally-employed specialists, most of whom grew up in the town / area where their office is based and have strong ties to the local and wider communities throughout the Northern Portugal region that enable us to identify suitable suppliers for our tours.

Our guides live in the areas in which they work.

We meticulously screen all of the service providers that we work with, ensuring that they operate in a professional, reliable manner and also that they have a certain distinctive authenticity and a genuine desire to share their enthusiasm with our visitors. We are therefore able to guarantee an impeccable level of quality in all of the services that the client experiences during their stay, thanks to close relationships with our partners and our presence in the field.
Environmental responsibility – e.g. details of: recycling, protecting wildlife / national parks, etc
We operate individual holidays by bike or on foot, which are activities with a low impact on the local communities and protected areas.

Our self-guided hiking programs take place in areas of low population density that are dotted with rural villages that have preserved their roots and traditions. Places of preserved beauty, inhabited by a wide diversity of flora and fauna, where man and nature live in perfect harmony.

In order to minimize any negative impact of our programs in these natural parks, we adhere to the guidelines laid out by the Portuguese Nature Conservation and Forestry Institute (ICNF) and are accredited by this organisation to operate in any Portuguese Natural Park and to use the Natural.PT trademark. This status recognises that our business operates within the guidelines set out to protect and preserve these areas of natural beauty and environmental significance.

Clients – code of conduct
We provide our self-guided clients with a full briefing and detailed instructions of their route, which includes a code of conduct for respecting their environment by sticking to the trail and leaving no litter, and preventing damage such as inadvertently starting a forest fire.

We also provide refillable water bottles in their welcome pack and encourage clients to use local tap water.
Clients can enjoy the benefits of slow travel, such as the chance to stop for a picnic or extended break at an idyllic spot or take time to talk to local people along the route. To this end, our information packs include basic Portuguese phrases to facilitate such interactions.

Guides
On our guided programs, all of our guides are local and trained to be environmentally aware and to ensure that clients respect and protect the environment.

Accommodations
Our preferred accommodation and catering partners are those who are not only locally-owned and run, but also make use of eco-friendly practices to save water, utilize solar power and promote recycling.

Activities and transport
The use of transport on our walking programs is kept to the bare minimum – walking circular routes or village-to-village is the standard. When taxis are required, we use local drivers to reduce carbon emissions.

We supply rechargeable batteries for use with the GPS devices that clients use on our self-guided programmes.

Office
We take into consideration environmental issues when planning new programs within the territory.

In our office we recycle as much as possible and we do our best to minimize printing and waste in general, e.g. by using washable crockery and cutlery and providing a 20-litre water cooler for staff to refill from.

We use paper on both sides before we throw it in the paper waste to be recycled.

We make use of an app for users to use during their tours with us, in order to reduce the need for printing information such as roadbooks.

Our toilets have a low flush option to minimize waste water.



Social responsibility

We are professional, multi-lingual, friendly, enthusiastic and passionate. The invaluable and diverse specialist input from our multidisciplinary team helps clients fully appreciate the landscape and culture by articulating popular and scientific knowledge, sharing stories, evoking memories and explaining ways of life. We make the most of opportunities to interact with the local people, providing valuable opportunities for clients to have a truly authentic experience.

As the aggregating tour operator for all the products and services on offer (accommodation in hotels and rural houses, restaurants, grocery stores, cafes, taxis and even handicrafts or local produce) in the creation of our products, Portugal Green Walks is perfectly aware of our pivotal role in the positive impact that our work has on the local economy, and acts as a catalyst in the awareness-raising and promotion of the region’s tangible and intangible heritage.

Sensitising local stakeholders and partners to adhere to quality standards without losing their genuineness is a battle that we fight on a daily basis. Our commitment to a concerted promotion among the target markets as well as attracting the attention of specialised operators to this territory is also a continued effort. Strengthening the cooperation between local players is imperative. We understand these points of action to be a matter of survival for the region and so they form part of our company's DNA. These are initiatives that help to promote the cohesion and sustainable development of these local populations. Only in this way is it possible to continue to believe that these remote, depopulated areas have a promising future for anyone who has decided to make them their home and / or workplace.

We ensure our staff and those who work for us are treated with respect and have fair working conditions.

Our ‘roadbooks’ (traveller info packs) contain information about the destination and advice for clients on how to respect local cultures and interact without inadvertently causing offence.

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