and LISBON, Portugal, June 1, 2004, GreenBiz.com:
World Wildlife Fund and its partner BioRegional have
launched a large-scale tourism development in Portugal.
The development is part of an overall project that
covers an area of 5,300 hectares and brings together
sustainable housing, nature conservation, reforestation
and ecofriendly transport. Work will begin over the
next few months on the 6,000-house, €1billion (US$1.223
billion) scheme in Mata de Sesimbra, just south of Lisbon.
The development, which replaces a proposal to build
a conventional tourist resort, will be completely powered
by renewable energy, dramatically reduce waste to landfill
— to just 5 percent of the Portuguese national
average — and use rainwater collection and waste
water recycling systems to achieve huge cuts in domestic
water consumption and irrigation.
Furthermore, more than half the food served in tourist
facilities will come from local sources.
There are also plans to create a sustainable transport
network, featuring ,for example, shared and non-petrol
vehicles and a cycle route encompassing the entire site.
The aim is to eliminate the need for private cars in
The project includes a 4,800-hectare nature reserve
in which habitat corridors, linking surrounding protected
areas will create safe havens for vulnerable nesting
birds such as Bonelli's eagle.
The site will also be home to one of Europe's biggest
privately financed forest restoration projects which
aims to recreate native indigenous woodland —
mainly cork oak and umbrella pine — replacing
the existing eucalyptus and non native pine forest.
According to WWF, over the next 20 years tourism in
the Mediterranean will rise by 50 percent to an estimated
350 million people visiting the region each year.
"Tourism is eating into our natural capital. It
can often have a very negative impact on the environment,
" said Dr Claude Martin. "New models such
as Mata de Sesimbra are vital if tourism is to go hand
in hand with sustainable development."