Knowing our tourists is key

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Inspired by the tourism development in Portugal and the Algarve in particular in recent years, a University professor examined and wrote a book about Residential Tourism and its importance to the region’s future.

Speaking to the Algarve Resident this week, Cláudia Almeida, director of the tourism course at Universidade do Algarve in Faro and author of Aeroportos e Turismo Residencial – Do Conhecimento às Estratégias (Airports and Residential Tourism – From Knowledge to Strategies), explained that her book was written after she completed her thesis on the subject of residential tourism.

“A publisher found it appropriate to launch a book about my work and I gladly accepted the proposal,” said Cláudia Almeida.

The research for her thesis meant that she had to review literature which focused on knowledge management, strategic partnerships, airports and residential tourism.

The research aimed to establish a relationship between knowledge management as a process and the partnerships between airports and public and private organisations in order to demonstrate how this might contribute towards an accurate strategy for the development of airline routes, as well as enhancing the development of new markets, such as residential tourism, consequently altering the tourism demand within the region.

She added: “I started working on my thesis in 2007 when I worked at Faro Airport. I felt that there was a need to understand this segment of the tourism sector. I looked at residential tourism from the perspective of the airport in order to understand what kind of activities and strategies needed to be developed for this type of client.

“The main objective of my study was to compile information to understand this market and create a support platform for its future development in the region.”

Low-cost airlines are used by these tourists, who, according to Cláudia Almeida’s findings, seek the quietest times of the year, away from the bustle of the summer season. They are often semi-retired or retirees and come mostly from countries with a colder climate.

Cláudia Almeida also highlighted the importance of airports to help create a detailed profile of residential tourists.

“It is necessary to carry out regular surveys among tourists as the region’s reality changes so quickly nowadays. We must be prepared to respond to new challenges and difficulties.”

The professor believes residential tourism is a very important segment to develop in the tourism sector as it relates to second home owners who live abroad but have invested in property here so they can holiday in the region.

“Often residential tourists seek holiday destinations that are not too far away from their home country so that they can enjoy more vacation time at the least expense possible,” said Cláudia Almeida.

The book also presents guidelines for the development of residential tourism, along with key actions to fulfil the requirements of the tourism sector in the Algarve.

Aeroportos e Turismo Residencial – Do Conhecimento às Estratégias, only available in Portuguese, retails at 25 Euros and can be purchased from all good book stores.

If you would like to know more about Cláudia Almeida’s work on the subject of residential tourism, please contact her directly at email [email protected]