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Dark Sky Portugal

Dark Sky Portugal -
Dark Sky Portugal - Portugal Business News

Dark Sky Alqueva in Portugal just won the World’s Responsible Tourism Award 2022 at the World Travel Awards. Alqueva, in Portugal, was the first site in the world to be certified by the Starlight Foundation as a “Starlight Tourism Destination.”

This new certification, awarded by the Starlight foundation is supported by UNESCO and by the UNWTO. Starlight Tourism Destinations are places which have very low light pollution where visitors can enjoy unique and unparalleled opportunities to view the night sky. In most of Europe fewer people are able to view the galaxy clearly because of increasing light pollution, however Alqueva in Portugal has excellent atmospheric conditions that make it possible for visitors to enjoy stargazing for most of the year.

Alqueva is also a unique region that has a rich cultural and natural heritage, with its megalithic remains that provide a link with past civilizations who observed and reacted to celestial movements. It is in this region that a small, picturesque village hosts the Alqueva Dark Sky Route initiative, where tourists may enjoy activities such as bird watching, hiking, horse riding, canoeing, lake-side dining, and, especially, stargazing.

The “Starlight Tourism Destination” certification covers the municipalities of Alandroal, Reguengos, Monsaraz, Mourão, Barrancos, Portel and Moura, along 3.000 km2 surrounding the Great Lake Alqueva, the biggest artificial lake in Europe.

It is a memorable place where stargazers may enjoy magical moments while the Dark Sky Route welcomes Astro-tourists for overnight stays. The Alqueva Dark Sky Reserve is managed by the Genuineland-Alentejo Network of Villages Tourism.

The global “Starlight Tourism Destination” award obtained by Dark Sky Alqueva recognizes excellence in the field of Astro-tourism. In addition to the World Travel Award that is an industry hallmark, the prestigious World’s Responsible Tourism Award 2022 recognizes the innovative character of this Astro-tourism destination.

Protecting the night sky is their mission and it comes with decreasing to almost zero the levels of light pollution. The International Starlight Conference of April 2007, promoted by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, establishes the principles contained in the "Declaration in Defense of the Night Sky and the Right to Starlight" and led to the creation of the Starlight Foundation that focuses on the protection of the night sky and Astro-tourism. To further this goal, the international Starlight Certification system was launched to protect the sky as a necessary resource for life and as an intangible heritage of humanity, guaranteeing the ability to enjoy star-gazing.

Portugal’s “Starlight Tourism Destination” certification merges science and tourism for the enjoyment of future generations as well as all tourists who enjoy stargazing. The twinkling stars of the Alentejo region whisper in the night, drawing travelers to the secrets of its night sky and to the wonders of its constellations and planets.

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