Contributing to a sustainable tourism strategy for the Algarve
Patrícia Pinto is the coordinator of the Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being (CinTurs) and head of the RESTUR project, named for its two fundamental dimensions: Residents and Tourism.
The starting point of this research, which aims to measure the impact of tourism on residents, began with finding out the attitudes and behaviours of residents in the Algarve concerning the development of sustainable tourism in the region. The study includes measuring the impact of tourism on their quality of life, through data collected in the region’s 16 municipalities, both in the high and low seasons.
It also intends to create a digital platform allowing all interested parties to access the information collected.
The RESTUR project has a practical significance for the Algarve, as a survey of this nature and scope had never been carried out before in the region. “The project is innovative, as it allows for an internationally-used set of scales to be validated, as well as for models seeking to gauge the relationship between residents, tourism and tourists to be designed and tested,” adds the researcher.
A destination sought annually by thousands of Portuguese and foreign tourists, but with a highly concentrated high season demand, the Algarve is heavily dependent on its seasonal product: “sun and sea”. The region is heavily dependent on seasonal activities, a factor that affects the structure and performance of its labour market. Despite the importance of tourism in the region, its future is viewed somewhat apprehensively. As Patrícia Pinto explains, “While tourism is undeniably important to the region’s economy, it is also true that it may have negative impacts, and not merely in environmental terms, resulting from this highly inflated population during just two months of the year. I would say that the importance of this project rests precisely on that fragile balance, giving residents a “voice”, since they are the ones who live with the direct (positive and negative) impacts of tourism.”
“The fact of the residents themselves participating in this project has allowed us to determine the state of tourism development in the region (and in each municipality), making it possible to draw up measures that contribute to a more sustainable, and more ‘liveable’ Algarve for its population,” adds Patrícia Pinto.
The findings of the project will also allow public entities, including the Algarve Regional Tourism Board and other stakeholders (including regional and civil society companies, residents, researchers, etc.), to use the information made available on the digital platform to evaluate and monitor the effects of tourism in the Algarve from the perspective of those who live in the region.
As such, RESTUR contributes to meeting Goal 11 of the 2030 Agenda, “Sustainable cities and communities”, as well as Goal 17, “Partnerships for the Goals”.
Patrícia Pinto has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, a Master’s in Business Science and Economics, a PhD and Post-Doc in Quantitative Methods Applied to Economics and Management and is a researcher for the Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being (CinTurs).