The Municipality of Baião, the first Portuguese municipality to be distinguished as a Sustainable Tourist Destination, was subject to a new audit, on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of June, by the EarthCheck entity, within the scope of this certification.
The international auditor visited the Covered Municipal Swimming Pool, the Campelo Discovered Municipal Swimming Pool and the Baião Transfer Station. It also met in the City Hall with the Green Team (a group of technicians from the Municipality responsible for this process) and with two of the new elements that integrated the team’s expansion to Civil Society, Maria Miguel Dinis Correia, from the Baião Business Association and Sara Pereira of the Eco-Symbioses association.
At the invitation of the President of the Municipal Assembly, the auditor attended the ordinary session of this body, held in Ancede on the 25th of June and presented to the municipal deputies and the public who attended the plenary the process of certification of Baião as a “Sustainable Tourist Destination” , as well as clarified those present about its particularities and potential and how the intervention of the EarthCheck entity works with regard to certification.
SUSTAINABILITY – A CONSTANT EVOLVING PROCESS
EarthCheck is a world leader in scientific benchmarking and tourism certification, with a view that what is good for the planet is also good for people and the economy.
This entity certifies sustainable entities and destinations and the rigorous standards it uses are recognized and accredited by the Global Council for Sustainable Tourism, which in turn is mandated by the United Nations.
Certification as a Sustainable Tourist Destination is a process that implies continuous improvement, so destinations that wish to embrace this commitment are subject to annual audits, in order to assess the evolution of their performance in all defined criteria.
The Mayor of Baião, Paulo Pereira, said that “For many years, Baião has been assuming itself as a municipality that invests in the preservation and enhancement of its natural and environmental assets as a dynamo of tourist activity.
This is not the culmination of a process. It is indeed an important step towards increasing levels of demand and, for that reason, we are subject to these audits annually, which analyze whether we are, in fact, meeting the required criteria, which is happening.
In Baião, a territory with considerable environmental assets, with a huge forest area and challenging orography, for several years we have embraced with conviction the need to protect the territory and, in this way, the planet”.
Dora Pinto, from the Green Team, said that “this team has dedicated itself in recent years to extensive research work, which resulted in annual reports on the Municipality’s performance.
Despite the good results obtained, we are implementing measures and improvement initiatives to meet the sustainability goals that guide us.
This is a process in permanent evolution that does not end when certain certification levels are reached”.
This audit evaluated 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 other sustainable destinations and cross-referenced with those that have the best practices worldwide.
The Municipality has developed a website (https://baiaosustentavel.pt) dedicated to this certification process, where the interested public can obtain information about tourist resources in the municipality, vision and policy adopted in the scope of sustainability, description of the certification process , communication of initiatives and events related to the same themes and a space dedicated to public participation