Universidade dos Açores, Portugal
The University of the Azores (founded in 1976) recruits about 2600 students, attending bachelor, master and doctorate degrees, divided by 4 faculties, 2 higher schools, 2 research institutes, and 7 research centres, and 3 campuses located in São Miguel, Terceira and Faial islands. UAc’s mission covers teaching, research and extension in exact sciences and technology, natural and environmental sciences, medical and health sciences, agricultural sciences, social sciences and humanities.
The Faculty of Sciences and Technology (FCT) of the UAc is dedicated to teaching, research and scientific extension in the areas of Life Sciences, Earth Sciences, Oceanography, Mathematics, Informatics, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering. FCT’s degree offer comprises 18 study cycles at the 3 levels of HE, anchored in its association with research centres, accredited by the national scientific system: IVAR (Volcanology and Geological Risks), MARE (Aquatic Ecosystems and Environment), OKEANUS (Oceanography), InBIO and CE3C (Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences). These centres do research into different aspects of tourism, incl.: senior tourism, development of new tourism products associated with wellness experiences, and roadmaps directed to experiencing cultural and natural heritage; value of natural resources for tourism and visitation; etc. FCT also has relevant experience in the study of natural resources and in the definition of management plans for ecologically relevant areas (e.g., RAMSAR, Natura 2000), including the evaluation of rare species (IUCN SSC), the definition of a strategy for Invasive Alien Species, and the mapping of biodiversity (Azores Porbiota).
Furthermore, the Azores were recently distinguished with the award of the Sustainable Tourism Destination Certificate, awarded by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Therefore, the Azores can work as an excellent training platform for professionals in the areas of ecotourism and sustainable nature-based tourism.