Following the beginning of the year which has made us feel honored and thankful for continuing to receive the recognition from several institutions, it is with great joy that we share our news. Dark Sky® Alqueva was won the European Award for Best Practices 2020 – Gold category, awarded by ESQR – European Society for Quality Research, with headquarters in Switzerland. 

It is a recognition which greatly contributes to reinforce the Dark Sky® Association’s work developed in Dark Sky® Alqueva but also to reinforce the importance of both it’s Network of Official Partners and the Dark Sky® Portugal Network. They are also awards which will continue to strengthen our commitment to sustainability as well as to differentiation, innovation and quality, which are fundamental elements for the recovery of tourism. 

2021 continues to show us that medium and long-term work, although almost always unseen and poorly recognized yet nevertheless fundamental for the implementation of Dark Sky® Alqueva, ends up encouraging us to continue our mission to protect Alqueva’s sky. Alqueva’s sky is a resource and intangible heritage which has enchanted Portuguese and foreigners who have visited us from all over the world. Facing the magnificence of our Cosmic home, the Milky Way, is an incredible experience and so profound that it can touch the hearts of those who visit us. 

Portugal already has three Dark Sky® destinations that involve around 13.000,00 km2 working under this concept and destination brand, with a strong commitment in sustainable development based on astrotourism. For this reason, it is increasingly fundamental to reinforce the awareness and fight against light pollution so that these destinations can provide a better sky quality, which is an asset for tourists but above all for residents. 

The Dark Sky® Portugal Network comprises of Dark Sky® Alqueva, the first Starlight Tourism Destination in the world and the first cross-border Starlight Tourism Destination, Dark Sky® Aldeias do Xisto (Schist Villages) and Dark Sky® Vale do Tua, which were certifies in 2019 and 2020 respectively. 

More about the European Award for Best Practices

The ESQR’s European Awards for Best Practices, run by the European Society for Quality Research (ESQR), recognize the organizations, companies, public administrations, universities, NGOs and individuals with best practices and results in quality management strategies.

Top companies, public administrations, universities and organizations, which excel in their services/products and continue to push the limits of Quality with innovations, will receive the European Award for Best Practices for their hard work and achievements, in the presence of the international business community.

The European Awards for Best Practices program takes a comprehensive look at the initiatives and strategies that business leaders implement in their companies and organizations; it recognizes the efforts of exceptional and talented employers and employees and provides motivation for continuous progress.