There is a saying in the Azores that has existed since the first explorers made these 9 isolated islands in the mid-Atlantic their new home in the 15th century, it is “Saudades de Terra”. The saying means in English “longing for home” or “missing home”. These 9 islands with a population of just over 240,000 are like dots scattered in the ocean when looking on a map, however there unique culture and environment make them a truly special destination. In 2010 on one of my regular returns to my homeland on Sao Miguel, I noticed the local population had been devastated by the recent global economic downturn that swept across the globe in 2008. Many of the proud, hardworking men, women and children where living below European living standards and were struggling to keep up with their other European counterparts in integrating and modernizing their economy from a regional sector to more of an international one. At the time the region had still not experienced the travel boom that began in 2015 and still continues which with European subsidies has allowed the region to go from an agriculture dominant economy to that of tourism and service. The many changes have hit the island like a title-wave with many still trying to adapt to the busy streets and influx of international weekend visitors.I choose to focus on promoting the region and its unique products, culture and tradition which in my view is what brings people from all over the world to this unique region. A place where the importance of Eco-friendly living is encouraged and a delicate balance with sustainable tourism and preservation of culture and tradition exists. The Azores are a place you take in and embrace its many unique charms which allows it to remain the special place that over 1 million 2nd and 3rd generation Azoreans all over the world call home.
David J. Melo Tavares