Two organizations recently recognized the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal for their sustainability as a tourism destination.
QualityCoast has named the Azores the most sustainable tourism destination ahead of more than 1,000 other coastal and island locations worldwide. QualityCoast, a sustainable tourism international certification program, focused their study using several factors, including nature, environment, socio-economic factors and community.
The National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations also named the Azores the world’s second most appealing island destination in its fourth annual Destination Scorecard survey. A panel of 522 experts reviewed conditions on 111 islands and archipelagos. The Azores received the title of “authentic, unspoiled, and likely to remain so.”
The QualityCoast report also went on to reveal that the Azores fare better than many other coastal destinations when it comes to mass tourism. The most important conclusion from the study however: “95 percent of tourism destinations do not have a proper sustainable tourism policy,” according to Albert Salman, leader of the QualityCoast research.
The Azores offer a unique, European experience, and are just a four hour flight from Boston. As the closest point in Europe to North America, the nine volcanic islands offer visitors a number of places to stay, including hotels, Pousadas, villas, and manor houses. Only five percent of the Azores Islands is developed.
The Azores Islands were created by volcanic activity millions of years ago, which have shaped a stunning and dramatic environment. From the black lava cliffs on the island of Terceira, to the mythical Mountain Lake of Fire on São Miguel, the Azores have an intensely green and sculptured landscape. This ocean-enveloped land enjoys a mild climate year-round between 60°F and 80°F.
SATA Airlines, Portugal's second largest carrier, is strengthening air links between the Azores and the United States with new weekly flights from Boston to the Azores. The number of weekly flights will increase from three flights to a daily flight between Ponta Delgada to Boston.