Promoting sustainable tourism in rural and natural areas through small business innovation: the case of Atenor village (Northeast, Portugal) uri icon


  • Douro International is a cross-border mountainous region located between northeast Portugal and northwest Spain (see Figure 1). The Portuguese side is one of the most remote regions of the country. It has a diversity of natural, semi-natural habitats, and humanized landscapes, which are important repositories of biodiversity and cultural heritage. Indeed, this region has a high floristic importance (Carvalho & Frazão-Moreira, 2011) and is one of the most important areas for fauna within Portuguese, Iberian and European contexts. The region’s wild vertebrate fauna comprises 238 species, including 28 mammals, 168 birds, 17 reptiles, 11 amphibians and 14 fish. Concerning birds, this region is one of the most important European nesting habitat for rupicolous birds, such as the following endangered species: Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Bonelli’s eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) and Black stork (Ciconia nigra) (Monteiro, 2011; Van Beest, Van Den Bremer, De Boer, Heitkönig, & Monteiro, 2008). Agriculture (traditional production of wine, olives, almonds, wheat and rye) and extensive livestock, mainly with regional breeds well adapted to local ecological conditions (e.g. sheep breed ‘churra galega mirandesa’, goat breed ‘Serrana ecotype transmontano’ and to a lesser extent, the cow breed ‘mirandesa’) play a relevant role in economic-productive terms, for their organic-like quality, contributing to a sustainable use of natural resources and maintenance of rural landscaping (Rodrigues, Cadavez, & Teixeira, 2006; Sousa et al., 2018). The highly threatened donkey breed, Asinina de Miranda, is still part of the agricultural heritage. Although, it is currently less used in transport and traction. Today, this breed is increasingly used as a companion animal and in ecotourism activities (Quaresma, Martins, Rodrigues, Colaço, & Payan-Carreira, 2014).

publication date

  • April 2019