Nature and nautical tourism could “boost the lower Guadiana”

Regional association Odiana has said that “nature and nautical tourism” could be two valid options to “boost the economic development” of the municipalities of Alcoutim, Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António – in other words, the lower Guadiana area.

Speaking to Lusa news agency, the association’s director Valter Matias stated the two sectors could provide quality alternatives to habitual “sun and beach” tourism.

“It would also be a chance to put to use the great potential the area has in terms of natural heritage,” he added.

His words came as suggestions were presented to the national tourism board Turismo de Portugal, which is working on its tourism plan – ‘Plano de Ação de Turismo 2020’ – for the next five years.

According to Matias, the association has been developing nature tourism-related activities, such as “the creation of walking and bicycle tourism routes”. And with the “potential” of the nearby Guadiana River, nautical tourism is another promising option.

Some areas, like the Odeleite dam, are already popular for “canoeing and sailing”, for instance.

There are, however, some obstacles. A lack of local hotels means that authorities would have to work closely with local property owners to make sure there was enough accommodation available under the ‘alojamento local’ regime, he added.

Associação Odiana is an association founded in 1998 by the municipalities of Alcoutim, Castro Marim and VRSA to help with the “economic, social and cultural development” of the lower Guadiana region.