EVOLUTION OF RURAL TOURISM IN PORTUGAL: A 25 YEARS ANALYSIS
University of Beira Interior
Tourism is Rural Areas (TRA) is seen as an important instrument to ensure economic development of underprivileged rural areas and has the potential to improve the living conditions of poor rural communities. The main objective of this paper is to provide a characterization of the Portuguese TRA market and analyze the evolution of rural tourism supply and demand and its relation with economic development. This study shows that the number of TRA accommodation units in Portugal has been growing continuously over the last 25 years, despite some fluctuation in demand, especially from foreign tourists, and the constant low level of occupancy. No significant changes were found in the structure and geographical distribution of TRA units in the period under analysis. We conclude that the high geographic dispersion of establishments does not contribute significantly to the economic development nor does it help with the development of common marketing strategies.
Keywords: Tourism, rural areas, evolution, Portugal
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