Madeira begins sustainable certification process with EarthCheck
A key goal for the destination of Madeira in 2022 is to enhance its sustainability credentials for tourism. ‘MADEIRA. BELONGS TO ALL. SO SUSTAINBLE’ is the slogan of the project which aims to involve the entire local community. The certification process with EarthCheck began last week – the world’s leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for travel and tourism and an entity accredited by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). It is due to be completed by the start of 2023.
This coincides with a growth of eco-tourism offerings in the destination, with various hotels and tour companies prioritising sustainability at the core of their DNA.
This project also follows on from the creation of the largest marine reserve in The Northern Atlantic and Europe surrounding The Savage Islands (part of the Madeiran Archipelago) in 2021, the accreditation of Porto Santo (part of Madeiran Archipelago) as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2020, as well as the Laurisilva Forest being a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, which covers around 20% of the main island.
EarthCheck Sustainability Certification Process
The process involves those working in tourism, the wider local community and visitors, seeking to meet sustainable development objectives (SDGs) defined by the UN and sustainability criteria of the GSTC, thus reinforcing the integrated development of the destination sustainably, across environmental, economic, social and cultural aspects.
Since 2011, the destination has created a management structure to lead the process and initiatives, called the Destination Management Organisation (DMO), consisting of several working groups and an advisory board. The first workshop will start with a letter of commitment, and the next steps of the certification process involve the definition of the Destination Sustainability Policy, as well as benchmarking that involves the collection of several qualitative and quantitative key performance indications, a risk assessment plan and an action plan for sustainability.
“this is a natural and fundamental step in the affirmation of Madeira as a tourism destination of excellence, capable of generating a differentiated demand, for being at the forefront of promoting the sustainable development of the territory in environmental, economic, social and cultural aspects. We want to involve the entire local community in the process because we believe that an excellent territory for those who visit is capable of generating well-being for residents.”
This process can be followed digitally through a website that will launch in April 2022, in Portuguese and English, and on social media this February, showcasing videos and photos that highlight the island’s sustainable initiatives. At the end of the process a promotional film will be released, which will be recorded from April to June documenting interviews from key industry agents and visuals of the many tourism attractions, as well as some elements relating to the evaluation of the process.
The audit of the destination should be carried out at the end of the year, meaning that at the start of 2023 the Autonomous Region of Madeira can receive ‘Silver’ certification as a sustainable tourism destination.
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