On 17 February, two studies were presented in Faro to find out more about how Algarvians view tourism in the region, as well as how tourists feel about the region. The first study revealed that around two-thirds of Portuguese citizens living in the Algarve have part or all of their household income from the tourism sector.

"We found that there is a very high percentage of people who have their professional activity related to tourism, or in some way their families benefit from the fact that they are professionally involved in tourism," said Patrícia Pinto, a professor at the University of the Algarve and responsible for the study, which is called RESTUR (Attitudes and Behaviours of Residents): Contributions to the Development of a Sustainable Tourism Strategy in the Algarve).

The happiest county

The study had the participation of 4,000 respondents, spread across the Algarve's 16 municipalities, for the first time in a different study measuring the happiness of residents in relation to tourist activity. To the question "Am I a happy person?" most residents answered yes and the municipality where most people feel happy is in Lagoa.

Patrícia Pinto said: "Algarve residents think that tourism has important positive impacts on the region". More than 90 percent of respondents stress that the sector increases job opportunities and contributes to the development of the local economy, while eight out of ten Algarvians say tourism creates more business for the resident population.

In addition, "they are willing to adopt some practices that can help the region continue to be a good tourist destination, to protect natural resources, to get involved in promoting the destination," she added.

The negative side

However, residents also point out some negative aspects of tourism. On an economic level, 91.5 percent indicate that tourism increases the price of houses, 86.4 percent say that tourism increases the cost of living and 75.5 percent point out that goods and services are more expensive.

The president of the Algarve Tourist Board, João Fernandes, said that the study shows that although there are negative sides "there is no anti-tourist attitude, which is very positive for a destination that is already consolidated and has invested in this sector since the 1960s".

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Client;

What do tourists think about Portugal?

On the same day, another study called TurExperience was also presented in Faro. TurExperience analyses tourist experiences throughout the year in the Algarve and their profile.

According to the study, which had a total of 2,729 tourists responding, many of the tourists in the Algarve are women (58.6 percent), married or living with a partner (50.7 percent), between 25 and 64 years old (69.1 percent), on holiday (80.5 percent), with family members (40.7 percent) and staying between one and seven days (50.8 percent), with a balance between four or five star hotels (22.6 percent), holiday homes (21.9 percent) and AL (18.3 percent).

Tourists really enjoy their experience in the Algarve, however, they do not think it is an eco-friendly destination, which means that "there is still work to be done" in this field.

The two projects were developed over three years by the University of Algarve, with EU funding from the Algarve Operational Programme CRESC Algarve 2020.


Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252

Paula Martins