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Azores, Best Sustainable Destination 2014/2015
Azores won the Platinum Quality Coast Award 2014/2 ...

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Azores, Best Sustainable Destination 2014/2015

Azores won the Platinum Quality Coast Award 2014/2015.

Quality Coast, the largest certification program in the world, has identified several destinations which fulfill the requirements on sustainable tourism. Azores maintained an impressive development regarding sustainability, having already been nominated for Sustainable Tourism Destination # 1 in 2013/2014 by Quality Coast.

Coastal areas, nature, clean water, marine life, hotels, community / identity, landscape, environment, culture, blue flags and socio-economic factors were the key issues that lead to the decision that Azores is the most sustainable destination.

This volcanic archipelago has several natural heritage sites, including the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It also has a rich range of protected animals such as fish, dolphins, sea turtles, sperm whales, great whales and a cold water corals marine ecosystem.

It is worth remembering that, in 2013, UNESCO has certified the Azores as an European Geopark, offering well regulated diving, bike trails, 33 beaches with Blue Flag and hiking.


Conde Nasté Traveler chooses the seven most beautiful pools in the world and two of them are in Azores

In a short list of the most beautiful pools in the world, we can find Caldeira Velha Natural and the Natural Pools of Ferraria, both on the island of São Miguel.

On one hand, we have the Caldeira Velha in the heart of the island, a river fed by hot springs of thermal origin that form waterfalls. This emerald green nature reserve is one of the regional natural and most visited monuments in Azores and it has, since September 2013, a Centre for Environmental Interpretation.

With about 400 visitors per day, Caldeira Velha is open daily between 09:00 and 21:00 in summer and 09:00 and 17:00 in winter and the entrance costs two euros.

On the other hand, in the extreme southwest of São Miguel, we find the Natural Pools of Ferraria of remarkable beauty and scientific interest due to its geological formation. However, these pools have another great wealth: two hot springs of volcanic origin. The therapeutic qualities of thermal waters of Ferraria led this spa complex to become one of the most interesting places in this island.

Considered unique in the world due to the presence of salt water with a high levels of sulfur, the waters of Ferraria have healing properties for rheumatism and neuritis, being also used to treat other diseases.

This recognition given by Conde Nasté Traveler brings more notoriety to Azores as a destination for those who seek for nature, with all its qualities. Tourism together with the appreciation of the heritage of the islands is one of the strategies of the Regional Government of Azores, which predicts its growth and development in the coming years.


Azores launches guide to canyoning

The guide will be launched during the 1st International Meeting of Canyoning in Azores, beginning today and ending the 3rd October.

The archipelago of Azores is going to have a bilingual guide with over a hundred places for the practice of canyoning, a sport growing in the archipelago, which aims to compete with other destinations.

"There are more canyonings in Azores than in the mainland. Furthermore, our guide far exceeds more than twice the references in Madeira", said Francisco Silva, one of the authors of the guide.

Flores and São Jorge islands are considered to have the best conditions to practice this sport, having a great attractive compared to other destinations in canyoning mountain: "the waterfalls overlooking the sea". São Miguel, Santa Maria, Terceira and Faial also have marked paths.

Furthermore, the expansion of this sport allows to combat seasonality of tourism, noting that there is "a geographical diversity per island" and in terms of the periods for canyoning.


Ryanair wants to fly to Azores

Ryanair wants to fly to Azores and Madeira and it's negotiating the launch of these new routes, said the CEO of the low cost airline.

In a press conference where Ryanair announced the news to Lisbon, Michael O'Leary has shown interest in launching routes to the Azores island. Explained, however, that "the government has to solve the liberalization and encourage airlines".

In July, the President of Azores Government announced an agreement with the national executive that predicts the liberalization of air connections between the mainland and two islands of the archipelago. "With the liberalization, these routes are fully open to the entry of any airline, including the so-called 'low cost'."

Currently, only SATA and TAP fly to Azores. EasyJet has also shown interest in launching a route including Azores.


Festival Maré de Agosto - Santa Maria island

Probably the best known event in Azores and undoubtedly a festival not to be missed. Held annually on the island of Santa Maria in the Azores. Casas Açorianas are present with four fantastic Farmhouses ... needs more arguments?

Runs from 21 to 23 August 2014 and gathers participants and visitors from all corners of the world, not only Azorean.

The festival, that completes now 30 years, has a poster that goes far beyond the nightly programming, since the sandy beaches of the island (including the São Lourenço's Bay) are also hosting the "pre-party" during the day, convivial all who gather at night. Under the coordination of SMARTUR tours, excursions around the island and bike rentals are available, not to mention the free Yoga sessions taking place at the areal side of Praia Formosa.

Matisyahu, La Chiva Gantiva, Selah Sue, The Black Mamba, Mariza, John Lee Hooker Jr are some of the artists featured. The dawn is hosted by DJ André N on all days of the festival.


Live Participation of Azorean Houses in the Salon de Vacances Exhibition

The Association of Azorean Houses was present at the Salon de Vacances exhibition, held in Brussels, Belgium, from the 31st to 4th of February.

Azores as a tourist destination was showcased as an ideal location for rural and nature tourism. At the Azores stand, Azorean Houses was represented as well as the Bahia Palace hotel, Ilha Verde rent-a-car and the tour operators Jetair (part of the Tui group) and Adagiotours.

The Salon de Vacances is a highly regarded and the largest tourist exhibition in Belgium and is mainly aimed at the end user and as such is an important event in terms of sales.

The market as a whole showed itself to be very interested in products that stand out, namely regarding rural and nature tourism, in which Azorean Houses has, at a regional level, played a pivotal role in supply and ensuring service of excellence.


“Sea of Emotions” is the theme of the 2013 Sanjoanina Festival

The 2013 Sanjoanina Festival will take place between the 21st and 29th of June in Angra do Heroísmo, on Terceira Island, and has as it's central theme “Sea of Emotions”, an edition to bring together the emigrant community.

Ricardo Matias, president of the Festival Committee, described a “sea of emotions” as  emotions brought about by the landscapes, food, heritage and festivities of Terceira as well as the good humour and hospitality of Terceira islanders.
This is one of the archipelago's festivals that should not be missed.


Azores is a top world tourist destination in 2013

The Azores Archipelago is among the top 25 places to visit in the world in 2013. This is the opinion of Fodor's Travel Intelligence, the largest editor of tourist guides in English and one of the biggest of its kind in the world, places the Azores on Fodor's Go List 2013.

The Azores are described in this prestigious magazine as “delicious” and a true “paradisical find”. The publication highlights whale watching and the seaside picturesque villages as some of the wonders of this Archipelago. “Each of the nine islands that make up the Azores Islands has its own fascinating identity ” writes Margaret Kelly of Fodor's.

Llisted on Fodor's Go List 2013 are a myriad of places from all corners of the globe ranging from Easter Island to England, Mexico City, Myanmar and even Disney World Orlando, in Florida.

Find out more here.


Azorean Houses elects new council in January

The Azorean Houses Association, which has over 50 rural tourism accommodation establishments, has elected a new council for the years 2013-2015, that will take over from the first day of 2013.

The development of partnerships with other entities, both at a national and international level, the active participation in events that allows new contacts to be made and the exchange of experiences, strengthening communication and investing in the dissemination of the accommodation network on the Azorean Houses website (www.casasacorianas.com) are some of the priority goals of this new council.

Find out more about the new council of Azorean Houses here.


Planning and Policy Office publishes “Study on the internationalisation of tourism in rural areas”

The Office of Planning and Policy, in partnership with the Board of Agriculture and Rural Development and in collaboration with Tourism of Portugal, I.P., promoted the “Study on the internationalisation of tourism in rural areas”.

This Study, which arose from the need to define an integrated national strategy for the sector, was financed by the National Rural Network Program and undertaken by THR – International Tourist Consultants.

The document was presented in Palmela on the 7th of November 2012 at the “Challenges to Tourism in Rural Areas” seminar.

Find out more about this study here.


Recovery project of the Lagoa das Furnas wins award

The ecological recovery project of the Hydrological Basin of the Lagos das Furnas, in S. Miguel island, was awarded first place in the 2012 National Landscape Award, an award given by the Ministry of Agriculture, Sea, Environment and Spatial Planning, through the Territorial Management Board.

With this distinction, the Project will be the national representative in the 2013 Landscape Award of the Council of Europe, an award aiming to recognise the implementation of conservation, management and landscape planning policies or measures which enable sustainability and promote the involvement and raise awareness of the general public.

The Autonomous Region of the Azores also won second place in this national award with the Landscape of Capelinhos Volcano in Faial.

According to the Regional Secretary of Natural Resources, Luis Viveiros, obtaining the first two places in the 2012 National Landscape Award means that “the investment that the Azores Government has undertaken in the area of planning, protection, conservation and valorisation of the natural heritage has paid off”.


Azores are a “Natural Laboratory” for studying terrestrial molluscs

The Azores have 110 species of terrestrial molluscs, half of which are endemic, making the Azores Archipelago a “natural laboratory” for studying molluscs.

“Evolutionary processes can be observed and studied in the Azores making them a natural laboratory” stated António Frias Martins, president of the World Malacological Society, adding that over 25 species new to science remain to be discovered in the region.

In the Azores, aside from terrestrial molluscs such as snails and slugs, it is also possible to observe marine molluscs of “great scientific interest” including squids, clams and conches.

The natural beauty of the Azores led them to being chosen as the host of the World Malacological Congress which will take place at the University of the Azores, on S. Miguel island, between the 21st and 28th of July 2013 and will bring around 400 scientists of 70 nationalities to the region.


Tourism magazine recommends Azores gastronomy

The October/November issue of “Viagens e Resort” magazine published a seven-page article on the Azores, giving prominence to the “excellent gastronomy” of the islands.

According to the tourism magazine, “one of the aspects that most stands out about the Azores is the diversity of it’s food, which is irresistibly appetizing”. The Azores are “a world of aromas and flavours which must be discovered” as well as being “a peaceful and tranquil refuge, surrounded by incredible natural beauty”.

Find out more here.


Festival pays tribute to Nemésio on Terceira Island

The Festival Outono Vivo, taking place from the 26th of October to the 4th of November at Praia da Vitória on Terceira Island, has the Azores as its central theme.

This seventh edition of the Festival will pay tribute to the poet, writer and intellectual Vitorino Nemésio. “It is a tribute to Nemésio when the 110 year anniversary of his birth is being celebrated and it is a way of valuing what is ours” stated Paulo Cordoniz, Culture councillor in the municipality of Praia da Victória, highlighting that “99.9%” of the artists participating in this year’s Outono Vivo are “friends of the island”.

Find out more about this event here.


Easyjet wants a route to the Azores

The Azores Archipelago is one of the destinations that Easyjet aims to include among it’s routes. The existence of low cost travel to the Azores will stimulate tourism and benefit the Azorean population, stated Javier Gandar, the British company’s director.
Find out more about this article here.