Located in the Greater Côa Valley in northern Portugal, the Wild Côa Network unites enterprises who share a vision for a wilder future. It will accelerate development of the local nature-based economy, enhance the tourist experience and boost support for rewilding.
Nature-based businesses can operate more effectively when they work together, multiplying the benefits for themselves, their clients and wild nature. This is the essential philosophy of the Wild Côa Network, which has just been launched in the Greater Côa Valley rewilding area in northern Portugal. Developed by the Rewilding Portugal team, it 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 rewilding in and around Greater Côa Valley. Such enterprises, which could include everything from wildlife watching operators and makers of natural products to accommodation 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 rewilding.
Enhancing the wild Côa experience
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.
Rewilding efforts, which are focused on reinforcing a 120,000-hectare wildlife corridor and improving the connectivity of endangered Iberian wolf packs south of the Douro, are supporting wildlife comeback 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 situation with the Covid-19 pandemic allows, these packages will be bookable for the spring and summer of 2021 through the European Safari Company and ImpacTrip.
In addition to supporting each other, 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.”
Nature-based enterprises in and around the Greater Côa Valley who are interested in joining the Wild Côa Network should contact Rewilding Portugal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rewilding efforts in and around the Greater Côa Valley, which are carried out by Rewilding Portugal and partners Rewilding Europe, ATNatureza and the University of Aveiro, are supported by the European Commission’s LIFE programme and the Endangered Landscapes Programme. The latter is managed by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and financed by Arcadia, a charitable fund founded by Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing.