Almost 30 public authority figures and public procurement experts from Europe as well as iBuy consortium partners were moved by the innovative initiatives from Parques de Sintra, a managing body for the Park and Palace of Monserrate near Lisbon. During a study visit, organised by National Agency for Innovation (Agência Nacional de Inovação – ANI) in partnership with the Institute of Public Markets, Real Estate and Construction (Instituto dos Mercados Públicos, do Imobiliário e da Construção – IMPIC), the group was introduced to innovation public procurement (IPP), utilised by the park administration to improve experiences for visitors with different characteristics and capacities, and the Nature Interpretation Center that promotes a completer and in-depth visit while taking advantage of the natural and cultural potential of area’s heritage.
Parques de Sintra has launched a project “Parques de Sintra is a Better Accommodator” (Parques de Sintra Acolhem Melhor), which seeks to improve the conditions of accessibility within the parks and monuments managed by the company. It is inspired by the idea of accessible tourism and strives to become an example of such approach far beyond Portuguese borders. While implementing the project Parques de Sintra has decided, among many other things, to create new sensory perception visiting experiences for a wider range of visitors, regardless of their characteristics and capacities. This includes combining several different human senses into a solution that could cater to everyone’s experience despite any differences one might have. In order to obtain a solution of this kind, an IPP process has been initiated for creating a system with integrated sound, sight, smell, touch and taste experience for visitors. In this instance, Parques de Sintra aims to promote new forms of public service, which in turn can help with revitalisation of heritage values and social progress.
Nature Interpretation Center is another tool that Parques de Sintra places at the public's disposal to provide a completer and more in-depth visit while taking advantage of natural and cultural heritage potential of the area. The Nature Interpretation Center is aimed towards schools and families, and has the purpose of promoting contact with nature and environmental awareness. It also facilitates the broadening of knowledge related to the fauna and flora present in the ecosystems, which typify the Serra de Sintra region. Also located within Park of Monserrate, it is meant to promote the use of digital tools for augmented reality, education and learning as an essential means for the exchange of information.
The study visit took place within one of the most beautiful architectural and scenic creations related to Romanticism in Portugal – Park and Palace of Monserrate in the Sintra Mountains. The palace itself dates back to the 19th century. It was designed by architect Thomas James Knowles, by order of Sir Francis Cook, viscount of Monserrate, and is considered to be one of the most prominent examples of national romantic architecture. The park surrounding the palace is one of the richest botanical gardens in Portugal, and one of the most beautiful landscapes associated with Romanticism in Portugal. Here, one may find thousands of species of autochthonous and exotic plants.
Upon this territory Parques de Sintra as the public entity has assumed the responsibility for the protection and appreciation of the Cultural and Natural Landscape of Sintra. The entity’s responsibilities include rehabilitation, revitalisation, promotion, investigation and exploration of the properties, which comprise of: the Pena National Palace and Park, the Monserrate Palace and Park, the Capuchos Convent, the Garden and Chalet of Countess Edla, the Sintra National Palace, the Queluz National Palace and Gardens, and the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art - with headquarters at the historical Gardens of Queluz.