Nature-based economy strengthened in Portugal’s Côa Valley with launch of new network

Posted: 26th March 2021

Photo: Juan Carlos Muñoz / Rewilding Europe

Nature-based businesses often operate more effectively when they work together, multiplying the benefits for themselves, their clients as well as nature. This philosophy is at the core of the Wild Côa Network, an exciting, newly launched initiative in Portugal’s Greater Côa Valley.

Developed by the Rewilding Portugal team, who are the local project partner in the ELP-funded Greater Côa Valley project, the Wild Côa Network currently comprises 12 local businesses, although this number will grow as the network matures.

The idea of the network is to bring together a wide range of businesses which support nature recovery in and around Greater Côa Valley. Such enterprises, which could includes wildlife watching operators, makers of natural products, accommodation providers and restaurants, will be able to better support each other and offer more attractive packages to visitors eager to explore the area. In a cyclical process, the development of a nature-based economy generates further support for restoration activities.

The Côa Valley area, including the Côa Valley Grand Route, is a popular destination for tourists. Juan Carlos Muñoz / Rewilding Europe.

Connecting businesses in the Côa Valley

Located between the Douro River and the Malcata mountains, the Greater Côa Valley boasts a unique natural, cultural and historical heritage. Complete with stunning wildlife, spectacular landscapes, ancient traditions and prehistoric rock art, the area is gradually establishing itself as a prime destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Supported by the Endangered Landscapes Programme, restoration efforts by the project are focused on reinforcing a 120,000-hectare wildlife corridor, supporting wildlife comeback (including the Endangered Iberian wolf) and increasing the area’s natural appeal.

Going forwards, the various packages put together by Wild Côa Network members will allow visitors to the Greater Côa Valley to explore the burgeoning wild nature of the area with a single reservation. If the Covid-19 situation permits, these packages will be bookable for the spring and summer of 2021 through the European Safari Company and ImpacTrip.

The Greater Côa Valley project is supporting development of a nature-based economy, with initiatives such as this fly camp in the Faia Brava reserve. Photo by: Juan Carlos Muñoz / Rewilding Europe.

Support from the project

In addition to supporting one another, members of the Wild Côa Network will also receive ongoing support from the Rewilding Portugal team.

“We will assist network members in developing new products, services and strategies, and in promoting their offerings,” explains Daniel Veríssimo, Rewilding Portugal’s enterprise officer. “This will increase the visibility of the region, give members access to national and international markets, and help to establish the Greater Côa Valley as a sustainable tourism destination of excellence.”

“The development of the network will create real long-term value for the Greater Côa Valley’s nature-based enterprises,” adds Fernando Romão, founder of network member Wildlife Portugal. “As the valley becomes wilder, so opportunities for income generation and collaboration will also develop. Enhancing the connection between nature and business is a win-win for everyone.”

To find out more about this project, please visit the Greater Côa Valley project page.

A version of this article first appeared on Rewilding Europe’s website.


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