Environmental awareness is a reality that is progressively more present in our daily lives and the sustainability of territories is an increasingly decisive factor in the choice of destinations by tourists, who are aware of the environmental, economic, and social impacts that their presence can cause in the places they visit.
Since tourism is one of the most important sectors of the economy, the Baião City Council has embarked on an ambitious process of certifying our territory as a responsible and intelligent tourist destination, which seeks to balance the development of tourist activity without neglecting the safeguarding of natural resources and the good -being of local populations.
According to the Mayor of Baião, Paulo Pereira, “this certification fits within the strategy of valuing and promoting our territory, making it more attractive, positively differentiating it, contributing to the economic dynamism of the municipality and stimulating economic development. and social, always bearing in mind the notions of sustainability and the promotion of the environment”.
The entity responsible for the certification is the Australian Non-Governmental Organization, EarthCheck, a world leader in scientific benchmarking and tourism certification, in the perspective that what is beneficial for the planet is also good for people and the economy.
It helps destinations to assess and monitor their environmental and social impact, while allowing sustainability to be promoted as a market asset. The rigorous standards it uses are recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, a worldwide organization created with the support of various entities linked to tourism and the environment and various United Nations bodies.
The program evaluates a series of environmental indicators, such as energy consumption, quality and rationalization of water consumption, waste recycling, chemical emissions and the safety environment of the destination, commitment to the community, among others. These are then compared with the global average of destinations and cross-referenced with those that have the best practices worldwide.
In 2019, the Municipality of Baião was awarded the “Bronze” seal for the “Benchmarked” status.
This week a new audit took place in Baião. The objective of this phase will be to achieve the “Silver” distinction, after checking and correcting any “non-conformities” detected.
In Portugal, only the Azores archipelago received this distinction and around the world, few regions are certified as a sustainable tourist destination.
The certification of a sustainable tourist destination is a process that implies continuous improvement, so destinations that intend to embrace this commitment will have to be subject to annual audits, to assess the evolution of their performance in all the defined criteria.
The municipality is also developing a website dedicated to the certification process, accessible at https://baiaosustentavel.pt, where you can obtain information on tourist resources in the municipality, vision and policy adopted within the scope of sustainability, description of the process certification, communication of initiatives and events related to the same themes and a space dedicated to public participation.