Tourism Secretary Rita Marques made a valiant effort to increase positive sound bites today by suggesting Portugal should be marketed as ‘the most sustainable country in the world”.
“This is what we want,” she said at an event in Vouzela – just as her government colleague Duarte Cordeiro was in another part of the country to explain the obstacles to getting there.
“Portugal is one of the (European) countries that will be most affected by climate change“, he declared in his capacity as minister of the environment.
To deal with it, the whole coast needs permanent interventions – a persistent and vigilant beach replenishment (to compensate for the sand carried away by the rise in sea level); repositioning of dune systems (again because of lost sand); maintenance of coastal defense works and the coastal breakwater dredging/ dune systems)”.
In other words, Portugal could well be sold as the most sustainable country in the world, but for this a huge amount of work, investment and vigilance will be required.
Rita Marques admitted that a joint effort “is needed” at different levels – namely economic, environmental and social, to achieve sustainable tourism certifications”.
But she estimates that if this is done, the country could be on the right track to reach in 2027 tourism receipts of 28 billion euros. “It’s a very concrete target,” she told her audience.
Currently, in the central region, there are approximately 140 companies (mainly seasonal rentals and “tourist activities”) which have or are in the process of carrying out coveted projects. UNESCO Biosphere accreditation.
“Tourism cannot simply be commercialized because Portugal has extraordinary assets: idyllic landscapes, a wonderful sea and truly delicious gastronomy,” Marques said. “We have to work towards a different perspective and professionalize this work, orient it towards the major trends (…) Today, sustainability is viewed positively by customers,” she stressed.
While climate change is not. This is where “the perseverance and vigilance” of Duarte Cordeiro will have to intervene.
The minister was in Vila do Conde for the signing of a €800,000 protocol for interventions aimed at “protecting the dune system between Mindelo and Ribeiro de Silvares”.
He described other interventions along the national coastline involving 143 million euros and “large volumes of sand”.