Nature Tourism “Biennale” in Western Algarve
Aljezur, the “northwestern most” municipality of Algarve, hosted the second edition of the Bienal de Turismo de Natureza (“Nature Tourism Biennale”) last weekend (February 22nd to 24th). The local development association, Vicentina, gathered “tourism professionals, businessmen, professors, official organisms and politicians” to discuss matters related to the development of tourism nature in Western Algarve and Southwestern Alentejo. The South West Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park are at the centre of these venues and the decisions taken about nature tourism in the area.
The debates included several prominent national and international names, including Luigi Cabrini, president of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and a member of the Portuguese government.
Economic challenges… and challenges in case of success
Promoting the economic development of a mainly rural region in the main goal of such initiatives. However, the majority of speakers also mentioned the dangers of success. The region is not willing to sacrifice a strategy of quality development by bringing growing crowds of tourists and risk massification.
Vicentine Coast is getting renowned as an “unmassified” surf destination, and any development trend should keep this in mind.
Algarve and nature tourism
The Nature Tourism “Biennale” of Aljezur is just another example of how Algarve is viewing itself as a premium tourism and second home destination. A small 2.000 inhabitants town, Aljezur faces the west coast of Algarve, just 4.5 miles from the ocean. From Faro Airport, you can get there in a little more than 60 minutes (67 miles), through A22 motorway (also called “Via do Infante”).
Those who appreciate Algarve for the busy “strip” of Albufeira and its pubs, and the crowds of the beaches, might have little interest in getting there. But for those who enjoy the pleasures of wandering around nature, the Vicentine Coast Natural Park is one of several examples of what Algarve offers, for those willing to spend a few days in the wilderness or the countryside before returning to the comfort of home in Loulé or other cities. And always enjoying the Algarvian warm weather (those who have been enjoying these last few days of a “north African” early Spring understand this perfectly).