A Sustainable Tourism Observatory has been created by the Algarve tourism board (RTA) to establish what needs to improve for the region to become a more sustainable tourism destination.
The observatory will aim to “study, analyse and monitor the Algarve’s performance in the areas of economic, social and environmental sustainability”.
The feedback will then be used to define new tourism strategies.
Launched at the BTL tourism fair taking place in Lisbon, the observatory will be managed alongside Turismo de Portugal (national tourism authority), the regional coordination and development commission (CCDR-Algarve) and the University of the Algarve (UAlg).
Studies will be conducted by UAlg while CCDR-Algarve will provide “technical and institutional support”.
In a communiqué sent to the press, RTA says that the observatory is in line with Portugal’s Strategy for Tourism 2027 and will soon present a bid to become part of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO).
According to the network’s website, its main objective is to “support the continuous improvement of sustainability and resilience in the tourism sector through systematic, timely and regular monitoring of tourism performance and impact, and to connect dedicated destinations in order to better understand destination-wide resource use and foster the responsible management of tourism.”
Says Algarve tourism chief João Fernandes, “the observatory will allow us to improve the sustainable management of the Algarve as a tourism destination and establish a pioneering position both in Portugal and on an international level”.
He adds that the creation of the observatory shows “our proactivity” and aims to further improve the Algarve’s “image and notoriety”.
“Sustainability in tourism is an absolute priority,” says Luís Araújo, president of Turismo de Portugal.
“With the creation of this observatory, we have created conditions for the planning and management of the country’s biggest tourism region to be based on a deep knowledge of the impact of the tourism activity,” he adds.
He also highlights that Portugal could become the only European country to include two observatories in the INSTO network as the Alentejo observatory is already part of it.
UAlg rector Paulo Águas has also commented on the project, stressing that “good public policies cannot be created without knowledge”.
“More knowledge means better decisions; thus the observatory will contribute towards the improvement of the Algarve’s competitiveness,” Águas says.