Today our guest is Alessandra. She is the head of communication and events of Outdoor Portofino, a company that promotes sports, active tourism and environmental education activities related to the Marine Protected Area and Park of Portofino and other natural and cultural heritage areas of Liguria. We have conducted an interview with her.
What does your company do mainly and who is in the team?
Outdoor Portofino is a company that promotes sports, active tourism and environmental education activities related to the Marine Protected Area and Park of Portofino and other natural and cultural heritage areas of Liguria. The project started in 2013 by the idea of the four founding members to spread their passion for the land, nature and sport bringing into play their skills and focusing on continuous training. Outdoor Portofino is the result of a unique composition of valuable natural assets, personal aspirations, and sustainable business concept. Made possible by the thorough passions and skills of a young, good willing and well prepared, group of local: marine biologists, environmental guides and sports instructors, for their surrounding natural environment, traditional bond with the sea, mountains and all outdoor activities and their determination to achieve shared goals by rolling up their sleeves and offering what they know and love best, refusing the negative down falls of the economic crisis and investing in their territory of origin to create a brighter future.
What are your company's mission and vision related to Park of Portofino?
Our mission is to raise people’s awareness to an active, conscious and sustainable lifestyle and make sure that everyone can get to this result. This is why we place great emphasis on activities with children, creating awareness projects, and with people with disabilities, because no one can be excluded from this philosophy. Our goal is to make sports accessible to everyone and spread a culture of environmental respect and knowledge of nature and of the surrounding area. The project is driven by a sustainability perspective, with special attention to the enhancement of the traditional activities, of the local cultures, of eco-tourism and the fruition of socially sensitive categories. Our values and goals are not only elated to Portofino’s Park, but also to the surrounding area. We also operate with the same values in Sestri Levante, Chiavari and the Cinque Terre.
For uncontaminated nature lovers, what do you think is the most important value to preserve?
The most important value to preserve is knowledge and respect of nature. We want to give everyone the possibility to discover our territory which is not so often known, but which reserves unspoiled natural peculiarities. These beauties, given by nature, must be respected and valued by a conscious tourism. Kids are the future; this is one of the reasons why we have many projects concerning them in order to educate the people of tomorrow. It is wonderful to live and explore our seas and lands, the Park and Marine Protected Area of Portofino are beauties which must be visited once in a lifetime, but at the same time, it is important to preserve the territory and its inhabitants.
How do you uphold these values, promote sports and active tourism at the same time?
Outdoor Portofino holds a strong relationship with the authorities of the Park and Marine Protected are of Portofino as well as with Santa Margherita’s and Portofino’s Municipality. This connection permits us to bring along several awareness projects for kids, both in school and during summertime. For example, we run free marine biology workshops two days a week during summertime and participate to school programs with lessons and activities to increase kids’ consciousness. During summertime we also bring along every week our Sea Summer Camp, a one week of activities for kids between 6 and 14 years old, an opportunity to discover the sea, the sports and the beauty of staying outdoors in contact with nature. The Sea Camp foresees kayak and paddle boarding lessons and excursions, snorkelling, sailing, environmental education and marine biology lessons. During the week of Sea Camp, kids live as real "seamen", discovering how a nautical base works, taking care of their own equipment, and studying the maps of the excursions and the history of the visited locations. Kids learn nautical lexicon and will attend knots lessons, they will learn how to recognize winds and their origin.
The same consciousness is brought along with adults: before every tour or excursion our environmental guides brief the participants on where we are, why it is important to preserve this area, what you can see around (marine species, animals, etc.), without missing a briefing on the sports they are going to practice.
We also organise sports events with 0 impact, such as the Blue Mile, an amateur swimming race in the Marine Reserve. This year, the race will occur on August 27.
During winter time we also organize Street Orienteering activities in the close cities and villages. This activity is very popular because gives people the chance to discover the surrounding area and often discover new places and in the meanwhile do sports.
Which three activities are the most popular?
Our activities are always appreciated and popular, both from kids and from adults. Definitely, we have some special activities which are our “treats”, such as the Sunset Paddling, a kayak and snorkeling tour followed by a happy hour in the wildest side of the Marine Protected Area of Portofino, an exceptional mix to enjoy the beauty of the sun that dips into the sea. Another appreciated tour is a two-day kayak tour: starting from Portofino we paddle inside the marine reserve until San Fruttuoso di Camogli, the beautiful tiny village reachable only by sea or by feet, with a medieval abbey on the beach. We spend the night here at the Agririfugio Molini immersed in the calm and silence of Portofino’s Park. Another really appreciated tour is the Snorkeling Tour in Paraggi Bay famous for its Posidonia meadow. Thanks to this marine plant, to the Park's protection and to the particular geomorphological structure, this small's bay seabed is extremely rich in flora and fish fauna. Dive with mask and snorkel in this natural aquarium is absolutely a unique experience.
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