“We are working hard to make this possible,” said Marta Guerreiro, indicating that an audit by the certification entity is expected later this month.

The responsible for the tourism sector in the Azorean archipelago spoke to journalists after meeting in Ponta Delgada, the Advisory Committee for the Sustainability of the Azores Tourist Destination.

This committee, which met today for the first time, aims to monitor, analyze, debate, issue opinions and make recommendations on the certification process, on the implementation of planning, management and monitoring tools, as well as monitoring the activity of the Board of Sustainability Management of the Azores Tourist Destination.

As part of this certification process, the Azores already have the bronze status of ‘EarthCheck’, a certifying entity for sustainable tourist destinations.

Regarding the audit, the Regional Secretary of Tourism stated that “she will evaluate a huge set of indicators for the region that have been collected over the last three years, ranging from environmental issues, but also social issues such as unemployment rates or issues, which will be analyzed in a first phase in the office”.

Subsequently, the auditors will be present on three islands for field visits to infrastructure and business contacts.

Marta Guerreiro said that today the partners were presented with an action plan containing a set of very practical measures, a document that is available on the Internet and “a tool that identifies and defines the measures to be implemented in the short, medium and long term”.

According to Marta Guerreiro, throughout this process, “a huge set of indicators applicable to sustainability requirements, which are not so environmental, but also social, economic and cultural” was made, a huge set of initiatives, from the Sustainability Charter, which has over 80 subscribers, school actions and workgroups per island.

Marta Guerreiro highlighted “two major areas of importance” for the Azores to obtain this certification, “the first of all is a matter of responsibility”, underlining the responsibility for the “environmental legacy” and “fantastic cultural” of the archipelago.

“It is also an excellent opportunity because it places us and positions us as a region that we want to promote in the world as a reference in terms of sustainability,” she said.