Cascais :: One of the 100 most sustainable tourism destinations in the world
For the very first time, Cascais is among the “2014 Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100” – which highlights the planet’s most sustainable tourism destinations.
With a score of 8.0 out of 10 possible points in the Global Sustainable Tourism Review Index (Sustainable Global Tourism Magazine), Cascais earned not only a mention as most sustainable tourism destination in Portugal, but is also recognised among the best in Europe and in the World. Yet this was not the only distinction and recognition that Cascais received.
This ranking was created to award the efforts made by tourism destinations on the intervention and management of such locations, in a perspective of reinforcement of its sustainability. The presence in the Global Top 100 happened as a result of an invitation shared within social networks, asking people for suggestions, appreciations and votes between various global destinations. After this process, the world’s best-ranked destinations were then selected and elected among the best destinations by a panel of 30 international experts from the sustainable tourism sector.
“The goal of the creation and promotion of the Global Top 100 is to recognise the tourism destinations that took sustainability as a serious matter and made a relevant effort to make a difference”, explains Albert Salman, director of GreenDestinations.info, the website responsible for this initiative.
This ranking has the main objective of passing on the appreciation of travellers/tourists regarding destinations visited, and the index is calculated from the results obtained for 40 to 60 different variables. These variables are agreed and internationally accepted, from these stand out the evaluation variables of “Nature Quality” (landscapes and wildlife experience); “Quality and Environmental Care” (air, water and bathing water); “Heritage and Cultural Heritage” (local identity and traditions); “Social Matters” (sustainable economic development, green energy, climate adaptation and other questions related to wastage and water consumption management); and “Green Tourism Policies”.
The Global Top 100 is a joint initiative undertaken by four leading organisations in Sustainable Tourism – TravelMole.com, Vision on Sustainable Tourism, Totem Tourism and Green Destinations – and the process is monitored and includes technical advice from Randy Durband, CEO of Global Sustainable Tourism Council, who highlights: “These 100 destinations stand out for showing significant process, properly measured and quantified, in matter of assuring highest sustainability”. The responsible assumes that, “measuring and quantifying sustainability isn’t simple and can’t be simplified. This list of 100 tourism destinations recognises those who are on the right track, taking into account opinions and reviews from independent international experts, using objective criteria.”
Still in this same context, Cascais was similarly awarded the Climate Star Award 2014, a biennial award given by the Climate Alliance Europe, a network of more than 1600 municipalities and cities from 24 european countries. The awarded cities are recognised for integrating and accomplishing policies and initiatives with the main objectives of reducing CO2 emissions and fighting climate changes.
Cascais competed for this award with the project Energy Game, a game that, throughout the last two years, has been used as an awareness and environmental education tool, within schools of this council. This project reveals the concern this municipality has on educating for environmental causes to the future generation, planting seeds for a healthier and increasingly environmentally sustainable future.
In the same direction and as a result of the intervention work of environmental recovery in the Cresmina Dune and Quinta do Pisão, developed by the municipality of Cascais, another award was also given to this destination. Still in 2014, Cascais municipality received the first prize for “Vistas – VISION Innovation for Sustainable Tourism Awards 2014”, an initiative of DestiNet Innovation Group, as a recognition of the importance this intervention brought for the preservation of natural heritage. In total, 2km of wooden walkway were placed, avoiding the destruction of the primary Dune of Cresmina. In parallel, several projects of recovery and consolidation of its vegetation were undertaken, together with the introduction of signage and delimitation of presence and observation points.
This award was supported by the European Commission, which has analysed over 1000 applications from almost every country in the world. The results were announced and prizes given at the International Tourism Fair in Berlin, world’s largest tourism fair, that occurred in the first week of March 2015, with more than 170 thousand visitors and 11 thousand tourism operators from 180 countries.
At the award ceremony in Berlin, the vice-president of Cascais Municipality, Miguel Pinto Luz, assumed that this award “proves that Cascais is nowadays an elite international tourism destination”.
“There are three reasons that make of Cascais an elite destination: the concern for nature preservation, which occupies a central role in our political plans; the fact that we own and offer the best of gastronomy, the best restaurants and hotels within this country; and the fact that Cascais is an elite destination for all, Portuguese and foreigners. In fact, in Cascais there is a clear concern of providing to every visitor, a set of attributes, benefits and advantages that turn it into an extremely attractive destination on many different levels. This commitment has been resulting in the worthy international recognition, from the first line of its residents, nationals and foreigners. Cascais is above all not just an awarded tourism destination but also a more-than-perfect place for living permanently or temporarily.
Differentiating characteristics, just like the perfect symbiosis between the Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, result from the environment of Sintra-Cascais natural park; numerous beaches of crystal and clear water and sand, which are in many cases wild; the 3km of seawall and the numerous cycle paths available throughout the coast and beaches; the parks and municipal gardens and their green areas; the exceptional air quality, which is part of the commitment assumed at a European level, of reducing CO2 emissions in more than 20% up to 2020. All these are just some of the good reasons why Cascais is an excellent destination to visit discover and then stay, for a way, a week, a month… or a life! Check it out for yourself.