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Carefully Crafted Holidays

Responsible Tourism in the Azores

Sunvil Discovery is committed to the principle of responsible tourism. In other words, we seek to protect and enhance the natural and cultural environment at our destinations.
 
Economic Initiatives:

  • We have employed a local agent, who in turn has employed local representatives and local suppliers: The airline primarily used to transport clients to the destination, SATA International, is owned by the local government; an Azorean car hire company is used to provide vehicles to clients; and the focus of the programme is to feature accommodation owned and managed by Azorean companies.
  • We provide our accommodation on a Bed & Breakfast or Self Catering basis, and encourage our clients to eat in local restaurants wherever possible to help boost the local economy.
  • Sunvil Discovery offers the widest selection of holidays from the UK to this unique archipelago. Unlike many of our competitors, we promote holidays to each of the nine islands (and accommodation on eight), thus helping to spread the ‘tourist pound’ throughout the archipelago.
  • We are aware that many rural villages are in economic decline. Where possible, we encourage our clients to support the local communities by using shops that sell locally made goods and crafts, and visit local coffee shops.


Environmental Initiatives:

  • We encourage our clients to travel responsibly and have produced travel tips encouraging our clients to save water and energy and reduce waste. This information can be viewed on our website and is also contained within our Azores ‘Holiday Information’ booklet (which is provided with our travel documents).
  • In 2006, Sunvil Discovery purchased a number of litter bins in the Azores. These bins now line the routes of walking trails in the Povoacao region of Sao Miguel.
  • We encourage our clients to park the car and walk. Walking gives you a chance to meet local people and see local wildlife and natural beauty – in addition, of course, to saving energy and keeping fit.
  • In 2007, the Hotel Caloura on Sao Miguel was inspected by the Travel Foundation as part of their Hotel Makeover programme. This programme was designed to analyse current business practices and help hoteliers reduce the amount of energy and water they use.
  • Our Geological History Tour on Sao Miguel is designed to educate our clients about the history and geological makeup of these wonderful, volcanic islands. Operated by an owner-managed, local geologist and biologist, this excursion is guaranteed to open the eyes of any visitor – our reservations team included!
  • Our Whale and Dolphin excursions are all operated by local companies, each with their own ethical and environmental charter

 

Social Initiatives:

  • Sunvil Discovery has promoted holidays to the Azores archipelago for 25 years, during which time we have established close relationships with the local government and tourist offices. Over the years we have been a key player in the development of long term viable and sustainable tourism strategies for the region.
  • We support the Casa do Gaiato in Sao Miguel, a home for boys from problem families. For each person travelling to the Azores, we donate £1 to the home. In 2007, staff from our head office in Old Isleworth and a selection of UK Travel Agents visited the home and presented the boys with a variety of toys and stationary. In October 09 we presented a cheque for €3662.28
  • We also work closely with the Azorean government and tourist offices to ensure that the islands are advertised in an accurate and sensitive way. In addition, we ensure that we produce an accurate and detailed brochure.
  • Azoreans are warm and friendly towards British visitors. Some speak a little English and there is a natural affinity between visitors and local people. We encourage our clients to learn a few Portuguese words before travelling, and provide a copy of the Azores Bradt Guide along with our travel documents.
  • We provide detailed information about local customs, appropriate dress and behaviour both within our Azores brochure and through the provision of the Azores Bradt Guide. The aim of this initiative is to create understanding and encourage our clients to participate and experience local life, thus providing a more enjoyable experience for the visitor.