The word is out. The Azores are under pressure to ensure they remain a sustainable destination. This Condé Nast Traveler article titled "How the Azores Will Hold Off Crowds and Stay a Natural Wonder" tackles the subject. But the title wouldn't be complete without the addendum "We Hope".
Well, so do we.
We are not waiting around for sustainability to become a reality here. As the article points out, the volume of summer crowds are already disconcerting to some, including us. The government has capped the number of hotel beds on the islands to 20,000 (we're already passed halfway) – hence the mad rush in hotel building. Yet, they come. And nobody will turn them away. Who's going to "say no" to economic growth; a cash cow of potential orange golden era proportions? Let the past be our counsel.
MINUVIDA AZORES isn't primarily driven by the profit motive. We have a strong vision and are ever tweaking our mission to bring to the Azores the kind of person who wants to Discover and Feel the islands, not the "beach to cocktail" crowd the article mentions. While the crowds may be blessed with sunny weather and yes, a beach with beautiful sunsets and warm water when they descend on the islands courtesy of more direct flights from June to September, ultimately those are not the ideal visitors. They're part of a fad of sorts in the age of Instagram. We don't want the Azores to be a fad.
"Be more conscious, waste less, conserve more, reuse and make things last. Appreciate the beauty that is. Turn inside and turn off the exterior stimulus."
Who we really welcome (and hope to inspire) are conscious travelers. Traditional tourism tells us travel should be a fantasy. Travel should disconnect us from daily life, we should be pampered, indulged, do, do, do. Maybe we're doing it all wrong. How about if travel allowed you to connect more, to a place and to yourself? To be pampered by clean air, green hills and the deepest blue ocean? To indulge in healthy, local, in season culinary delights? What about if all you had to do was to turn off your devices, take fewer selfies, have shorter "must see, must do" agendas and and really be here?
Doesn't sound like your traditional vacation? It isn't.
And maybe you will return home with increased awareness, be more conscious, waste less, conserve more, reuse and make things last. Appreciate the beauty that is. Turn inside and turn off the exterior stimulus.
This is where we're heading. This is the type of travel we want to cultivate.