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Azores has 9 volcanic islands and 41 companies signing the Sustainability Charter

Azores has 9 volcanic islands and  41 companies signing the Sustainability Charter

A travel and tourism secret made in Portugal. Very possibly Portugal’s best-kept secret, the Azores are nine volcanic islands some 900 miles from the coast of Portugal. Beautiful, dramatic, with design-conscious places to stay and eat, thermal pools in lush forests, and great, sweeping beaches, the Azores are widely recognised as a bastion of green tourism.

A great destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, sailing, diving and whale-watching, the Azores are home to some of the world’s best dive spots and unique marine wildlife. The Azores are currently one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries and are home to large numbers of blue whales, sperm whales, dolphins and sea turtles. The Azores are also a popular bird-watching destination and are home to the Azores bullfinch, one of the rarest birds in Europe.

The Azores have recently announced they will be the first archipelago in the world to receive the certification of ‘Sustainable tourist destination’ awarded by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), early 2019. There are currently nine certified regions, but no archipelago.

Amongst the 41 companies signing the Sustainability Charter, some of the most unique start-ups and local companies of the archipelago such as the Azores Trail Run, an organization promoting environmentally-friendly trail runs and adventure sports events within the nine islands; Azores para Todos, an innovative start-up supporting inclusive and accessible tourism, and Companhia dos Vinhos dos Açores, based on Pico island, a very successful traditional vineyard restoration project aimed at protecting and promoting local grape varieties.

The Walk & Talk Arts Festival is an annual arts festival that promotes local art and culture – from visual to performing arts, from architecture to design and music. Walk & Talk provides a platform to encourage local artists to keep working and creating within the Azorean community. The Café da Fajã dos Vimes is one of the few coffee plantations in Europe and a unique example of how land diversification can help generate value. The entire coffee production process is organic, hand-made and family-run. The family also runs guided tours to the coffee plantation for tourists and local inhabitants alike.