Project 9/12: Loures (Portugal) – Maio (Cape Verde)
For the second time, PLATFORMA has decided to reward the best city-to-city and region-to-region international cooperation projects. Twelve projects have been shortlisted out of 26 applications. Every day, we are presenting one new project (sorted by alphabetical order). This is how the municipality of Loures in Portugal is presenting its partnership with Maio in Cape Verde.
«The project for the Tourism Promotion and Requalification of Maio Island (Projeto de dinamização e requalificação turística na Ilha do Maio) supports the development of the island of Maio, in the archipelago of Cape Verde, as a sustainable tourism destination, through the support of local entrepreneurship and urban renewal.
The project hopes to give value to the island’s environmental and cultural heritage while promoting the creation of new economic activities at the local level, as a means to social and economic development. The project seeks to create the conditions that will allow not only for Maio to become an attractive sustainable tourism destination (with urban renewal and the construction of a museum in the salt fields, as examples), but also to give the tools and opportunities to its population to be able to beneficiate from this process (promotion of local products and support of local artisans; professional education and training as examples).
Cape Verde’s economy has long been highly dependent of foreign investment in the tourism sector. In the last 30 decades, the fast development of tourism in some of the country’s islands has been marked by its environmental impact, uncontrolled and poorly managed growth and negative social impacts. At the same time, tourism development is still rightly seen, particularly by the population of the least developed islands of the archipelago, such as Maio, as a source of employment and economic progress. In a context of high unemployment and poverty, few opportunities for young people and high emigration rates, tourism development can represent a significant opportunity.
Promoting local sustainable tourism initiatives
Through coherent and planed development, with the support of international cooperation projects, it is possible to conceive a sustainable model of tourism development that answers the populations’ social and economic expectations while also preserving the local environment and traditions.
In fact, the natural and cultural assets of Maio island are precisely the tourism resources that sustainable local tourism initiatives, such as the project for the Tourism Promotion and Requalification of Maio Island, are built upon.
This project is an example of international cooperation for development where the combination of the knowledge and experience of different partners plays an crucial role. The municipality of Maio (Câmara Municipal do Maio) and the municipality of Loures (Câmara Municipal de Loures – Portugal), have been cooperating since 1993.
The cooperation in this project, in partnership with Instituto Marquês de Valle Flôr, a development NGO, sought to channel Câmara Municipal de Loures’ knowledge and experience in specific areas, particularly urban planning and rehabilitation and municipal planning and development, in order to capacitate Câmara Municipal do Maio’s technicians. Furthermore, the project was rich in dialogue, cooperation and exchange of experiences in other areas, according to the expertise of each partner.»