Municipality of Baiao joins GSTC

Municipality of Baião has joined as a Member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

Baião is situated in the Norte region of Portugal, nestled between the Douro River and Serra do Marão mountain range. Baião’s history dates back to prehistoric times, with numerous archeological findings and historical landmarks throughout the region. It is known for its rich cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant local traditions. 

Sustainability in Baião

The Municipality of Baião is committed to making its territory a sustainable tourist destination, based on 4 fundamental pillars: Environmental, Cultural, Social, and Economic, and on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Some of the sustainable initiatives already in place in Baião include:

  • Creation of Serra da Aboboreira Regional Protected Landscape.

  • Rehabilitation and preservation of the Ovil River and repopulation of the Ovil and Teixeira rivers with trout.

  • Replacement of public lighting with LED lamps and installation of public electric car charging stations.

  • Recycling Incentives: Reinforcement of the eco-points network, free collection of used cooking oil, batteries, construction and demolition waste, and household equipment.

  • Requalification and cultural dynamization of the Monastery of Ancede, Municipal Auditorium and Municipal Library

  • Dynamization of Community Relations Centers, Local Housing Strategy, Baião Social Fund, support for social solidarity institutions, firefighters, and local associations.

  • Promotion of eno-gastronomic events and Expansion of Business Areas.

  • A partnership with the School Groupings of the Municipality of Baião and other institutions to organize annually “Actions of Environmental Education” such as commemorations of important dates: World Forest Day, the World Water Day, the World Energy Day etc. as well as other actions developed between the municipality and the schools, highlighting the initiatives of reforestation of the mountains or the repopulation of the rivers.

  • Acquisition of land for reorganization of the territory and prevention of fires and creation of the Municipal Commission for the Defense of the Forest (CMDF) that works as a center of coordination and local action at municipal level under the coordination of the mayor.

«Knowing the challenges and the huge responsibilities we have, the Municipality of Baião embraced the demanding process of certification as a sustainable destination, based on GSTC’s criteria. Joining the GSTC confirms Baião’s commitment to the principles of sustainable tourism, as well as its active participation in this worldwide network that promotes a development strategy based on the quality of life of the population, in a balance between the environmental, social, cultural and economical pillars. This membership also allows us to participate in training programs in sustainable tourism and access to educational and research materials” says Paulo Pereira, Mayor of Baião. 

GSTC Welcomes Baião

“As a member of the GSTC, the Municipality of Baião will have access to resources, guidance, and a global network of like-minded organizations and destinations dedicated to advancing sustainable tourism practices. We hope this partnership will empower Baião and all our members, to continue their journey towards a more sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous future,” says Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC.  

GSTC encourages destinations pursuing sustainability practices in tourism development and management to join as GSTC members and apply the GSTC Destination Criteria, which eventually can help achieve certification by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body

About the Municipality of Baião 

Located in the North of Portugal and integrated in the region of Tâmega and Sousa, with an area of ​​approximately 175 km2, distributed by 14 parishes, the municipality is administratively framed in the north by Amarante, in the south by Cinfães and Resende, in the west by Marco de Canaveses and to the east by Santa Marta de Penaguião, Peso da Régua and Mesão Frio.

This is a transitional territory between Trás-os-Montes and Entre Douro e Minho, which gives it a heterogeneous character from the landscape point of view marked by an orography of strong contrasts, rising from 60 to 1416 meters of altitude in just 25 km. The Douro River runs through the entire southern sector of the municipality, over 32 km, in a tight valley and, in general, steep slopes.

Tourism is one of the pillars of our development. Baião is benefited by a huge landscape variety that ranges from rivers to mountains. The same mountain ranges that for years made this territory difficult to access, are the ones that allowed the almost untouchable preservation of landscapes and ways of life unique in the region. As a community we have developed structural projects to enhance our heritage, boosting tourism understood as strategic, and taking small steps to make it a quality tourism, in balance with the environment and immaterial traditions.

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About the GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.

The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for GSTC’s assurance role for Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services, but provides accreditation to those that do. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, NGOs, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

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