The expression “surrounded by nature on all sides” could well be used to typify the Region of the Azores. Numerous recreational boating, maritime (e.g. cruises, diving, whale watching, swimming with dolphins, sport fishing) and nature activities (e.g. hiking) are the main tourist attractions of the islands.
The archipelago offers unique conditions for the development of nature tourism, thanks to its unique natural heritage, which shed its influence on an architectural and cultural heritage full of idiosyncrasies. This heritage has been preserved and classified and includes marine biodiversity, flora and fauna, volcanic cavities and geoparks, parks and botanical gardens, as well as other natural resources unique to each island.
Examples of quality and wealth waiting to be explored include thematic tourist routes, such as those dedicated to wine, volcanoes or hot springs, pedestrian paths outlined by breathtaking natural landscapes, diving and fantastic golf courses overlooking the sea and the mountain. Ideal place to enjoy different experiences in natural environment, the Azores are also the stage of choice for other activities not to be missed, such as geocaching, whale watching, bird watching, diving, hiking and canyoning.
By far the largest part of this tourist flux comes from the Portuguese mainland, almost 50% (total arrivals 2017: 800 000 tourists). The second largest group comes from Germany, followed by Spain, France and UK.
The aquaculture sector in the Azores aims to contribute to the creation of business niches associated with aquaculture products, providing opportunities for social development and employment and, at the same time, increasing regional productivity without increasing the extractive pressure on fishery resources. The sector is still developing in the Region, and conditions are still being defined for the exercise of the activity on an experimental or scientific basis.
The strategy for the sustainable development of aquaculture based in quality products and limited quantities and without degrading the environment. The aim is to create conditions for the sustainable development of aquaculture of salt, brackish or sweet water species, appropriate to the existing natural conditions in the Region.
The maritime-port sector is responsible for around 70% of international trade and plays a fundamental role in the development of the Region. The importance of maritime transport, namely cargo, led to the development of port infrastructures, which assume on all islands a fundamental role in the flow of goods in and out. This is the main means of transporting goods, both for connections abroad, namely to Madeira and the Portuguese mainland, as well as inter-island connections. Passenger shipping works all year round in the central group and service is extended in the summer months to all other islands.
Maritime transport developed steadily over time regarding freight transport. Unloaded merchandise follows the economic business cycle and the oil price, freight cargo follows a very steady path and reflects the exports of food, wine and other goods. Annual passengers in the islands are near 600,000; not including cruise ships.
In 2019 the annual consumption was around 743 GWh. Production was 38.3% from renewables and local resources, but all islands have different energy mixes. They are all non-connected and depend on fossil thermal generation to ensure energy quality and face a challenge to add more renewable energy. Islands have well established geothermal energy running (São Miguel and Terceira). They all face and cope with harsh climatic conditions and are challenged with high winds (i.e., 213 km/h; Flores, 2014), heavy precipitation with the risk of floods and landslides. Climate change will aggravate these risks and create new ones, challenging the region.
The islands were known in the fourteenth century, and parts of them appear in the Catalan Atlas. In 1427, a captain sailing for Prince Henry the Navigator, possibly Gonçalo Velho, may have rediscovered the Azores, but this is not certain. In Thomas Ashe's 1813 work, A...View More
Local Working group
The following partners are involved in the study of Azores: FCiencias.ID (Island Focal Point) The following local stakeholders have declared their interest in participating in the local study of the Azores islands in the frame of the Soclimpact project:...View More
Climate and risks
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