Friday, 21 February 2014

Portuguese Trip 3 - Tourism in the Alentejo

On the second day of my visit, we were off to see some schools which would be involved in the proposed European project.

We visited two schools in Vidigueira and Serpa. We saw the multimedia suite where students were involved in learning the techniques needed for filming and broadcast and post-production and editing. We also visited an equestrian school, where students learned the various techniques involved in agri-business (more on that in a future post). The whole landscape was one which had benefitted from a recent development.

One of the places that was planned for us to visit, was this development: a relatively new addition to the Alentejano landscape called the Lago de Alqueva.


This would make a useful new tourism case study, and while there, I tried to collect a range of material which would help me create this as an example of a multi-purpose scheme, which was also changing the fortunes of an entire region.

The lake was formed when two barrages were built across the Guadiana River.

The lake that grew behind the first of the dams took eight years to fill to the maximum safe level, and as it did so, it drowned a number of settlements, one of which now has a 'museum' dedicated to it.


Some areas on the shore of the lake were also the first area in the world to receive the designation of 'Starlight Tourism' also called 'Dark Sky' tourism. There are some areas in the UK which also now have this designation, and I heard someone talking about that some years ago when I attended Teachmeet Beyond.
This is an area which is free from light pollution, and enables the sky to be seen clearly. There are apparently special trips on the lake to help facilitate this, which sound like they would be quite special.

Over 100 million Euros is being invested as part of the Turismo2015 project, and it will be interesting to see what impact this has in the region.

We experienced something of this, thanks to Nixon who runs a company offering boat trips on the lake. He gave us a taste of what this was like, and we headed down to the marina to board one of his boats. We had a tour around part of the lake close to the barrage, which has the phrase 'On a clear day you can see forever' featuring in huge letters on it.

I am going to write up the area and develop some resources which will form a proposed case study for a GCSE textbook which I am going to help to write later this year.

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