Monitoring the Algarve’s tourism competitiveness
The “IMPACTUR ALGARVE – Platform for monitoring, forecasting and simulating the Algarve’s tourism competitiveness within Portugal and the Spanish Mediterranean Basin” project, is coordinated by Fernando Perna of the Centre for Tourism Research, Development and Innovation (CiTUR). The project has been made possible by 20 years of applied research in tourism. It is funded by the Regional Operational Programme for the Algarve, Portugal 2020 and the European Union, through the European Structural and Investment Funds.
The project aims to create an unprecedented digital platform that makes it possible to develop and provide an interactive model that can be used to regularly monitor, simulate and forecast the tourism competitiveness of the Algarve vs. the remaining six NUT II regions of Portugal and five regions of the Spanish Mediterranean Basin. Data for the model will be based on official statistics gathered about both Portugal and Spain, as well as the findings of interviews and surveys taken by tourists.
As the researcher explains, “The platform will be both dynamic and open access, allowing users to test scenarios by entering so-called “driver” variables (such as variations in market shares of tourists by nationality). Users will then be able to see how these variations can affect the tourism performance indicators in the Algarve in aspects such as the economy (tourist spending), environment (ecological footprint), marketing (destination image), management (performance metrics in the hospitality sector) and society (load intensity).”
This tool is therefore invaluable thanks to the information it provides relating to the impacts on differing sets of tourism competitiveness variables in the Algarve, thus reducing levels of uncertainty surrounding managerial decision-making. This is especially true for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), whose turnover usually does not allow for this type of investment, which is typically exclusively available to large companies.
“This project demonstrates a drive to combine theory and practice, consolidating a research strategy that is based on the value of providing both knowledge and training in the service of the community,” concludes the researcher.
The project seeks to contribute to three of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 8: “Decent work and economic growth”, working towards this goal through tourism as an industry that generates wealth and quality of life, which is only possible if combined with Goal 11: “Sustainable cities and communities”, as it is only by doing so that tourism can generate a legacy of well-being over time, rather than allowing the tourist industry to prey on both locations and identities. Finally, by serving as a middle ground between producers (for example, hotels and restaurants) and consumer satisfaction (whether those consumers are residents, Portuguese tourists or foreign tourists), the IMPACTUR ALGARVE project contributes to Goal 12: “Responsible Consumption and Production”.
Fernando Perna has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, a Master’s in Economics and Energy and Environmental Policy, a PhD in Economics and is a Researcher for the Centro de Investigação, Desenvolvimento e Inovação em Turismo (CiTUR).