Baião, the first Portuguese municipality classified as a “Sustainable Tourist Destination”, has revalidated the “Galardão Prata” EarthCheck, an internationally recognized certification validated by the Global Council for Sustainable Tourism (GSTC).
This entity, created with the support of the United Nations Foundation, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Rainforest Alliance and the World Tourism Organization, manages global criteria and standards for sustainable travel and tourism, in addition to providing international accreditation for certification, being a world reference for the sector.
THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS CONSISTS OF
The certification process is dynamic and does not end with recognition by the certifying bodies, it is a permanent challenge.
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, evaluating and monitoring the environmental and social impact, while allowing sustainability to be promoted as a market asset, always respecting the four fundamental pillars – economic, social, cultural and environmental.
Before achieving certification, organizations go through an initial consultation phase to define and review their sustainability policy.
Once the areas for improvement have been identified after a first assessment, and only after this phase, the organization can apply for the “Bronze” EarthCheck certification, corresponding to the benchmarking phase.
In a second phase, an on-site audit is carried out before the “Silver” certification is granted.
The gold degree is obtained after four years of continuous silver accreditation and the platinum certification after ten years.
The program assesses a series of 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 many 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 distinguished with the “Bronze” seal and in 2021 with the “Silver” seal, thus becoming the first Portuguese municipality certified as a Sustainable Tourist Destination.
In the initial phase, this project was developed by a work team, called the “Green Team”, made up of technicians from the municipality, and was later extended to other local and regional entities, namely the School Groups, Associação Empresarial de Baião, Eco Symbioses – Environmental and Cultural Association of Vale de Ovil, AMDT – Association of Municipalities of Douro and Tâmega and Dolmen – Local and Regional Development, CRL
As it is a process that implies continuous improvement, Baião was subject to two audits (in 2021 and 2022), in order to assess the evolution of its performance in all the defined criteria and after the verification and correction of “non-conformities” detected, revalidated the seal with the “Silver” distinction.
KNOW MORE ABOUT BAIÃO – SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DESTINATION
Consult the page https://baiaosustentavel.pt, where you can obtain information about tourist resources in the municipality, vision and policy adopted in the context of sustainability, description of the certification process, communication of initiatives and events related to the same themes and a dedicated space to public participation, always from the perspective of “Thinking Global, Acting Local”, that is, providing local responses to global challenges.
“Green is the new Destination/ Green is the new Destination” is our motto.