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The Role of Planning in Local and Regional Tourism Development

Ana Paula Figueira Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Gesto / IPBeja XXVII Reunion de Estudios Regionales Madrid (Espanha)/Novembro 2001

I - TOURISM, TOURISM PLANNING AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT 1.1. Tourism its importance worldwide and in Portugal At the start of a new millennium, the tourism industry is increasingly important. According to the temporary data made available by the World Organisation of Tourism (OMT), the Arrival of Tourists in the world, in the year 2000, was set in 698 million people, having recorded a 7,4% increase when compared to 1999 (649,9 million people). This growth appears to be justified by a steady world economy and by the impact of the world-wide celebrations of the start of a new millennium. There was also a growth of the revenues world-wide, reaching 476 billion dollars a 4,5% growth was recorded, compared to 1999. Europe, on its turn, witnessed a significant growth in the number of the Arrival of Tourists compared to 1999 there was a 6,2% increase and it counted on 58% of International Tourism. The 2000 World Exhibition in Germany, the Celebrations of the Jubilee in the Vatican, the recovery of Eastern Europe after the Kosovo War, as well as the recovery of Turkey after a long period of decline caused by different instabilities certainly played an important role in this situation. Generally speaking, all the regions in the world went through a period of growth as far as the Arrival of Tourists is concerned. Yet, those with a more remarkable growth were Eastern Asia/Pacific (14,5%) and the Middle East (10,5%). Portugal was in the 16th place as a world destination, registering 12 million international tourists, which implies a 3,45% growth when compared to 1999.The revenues from tourism in Portugal have been undergoing some growth over the last years, becoming steady at the level of 5,1 million dollars in 1999, which represents an yearly average growth of 6,3% between 1994 and 1999. In the frame of the Portuguese economy, the sector of services and tourism in particular, is extremely important. The national economic structure, impelled by the communitys structural funds as well as by the joint efforts in the promotion of quality, design and diversification, has undergone an evolution similar to that of other European countries, becoming more dependent on the sector of services. According to the 1998 values, supplied by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), in Portugal, the sector of services represents 52% of the active population and 63% of the Gross Value-Added (GVA), unlike the farming sector that absorbs 13% of employment and which only contributes with 3% for the GVA. Tourism is one of the most important economic sub-sectors whose revenues in cash, during the same period, represents about 5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employing 5% of the active population and it contributes heavily for the Balance of Payments.

1.2. Tourism planning Nowadays, tourism has undeniably acquired an important place internationally. Gunn (1988, quoted by Moniz, 1996) states that it was long believed that it would be possible to benefit from the positive

impacts of tourism, by setting some strategies whose main core would be a strong promotion, together with a very slow development and, thus, not inflating the economical, social and environmental costs. However, since that wasnt a very suitable point of view, several authors point out the positive as well as the negative aspects of the practice of tourism and, at the same time, they suggest planning as a way of causing the positive aspects to minimise the negative ones. Gunn identifies two kinds of problems that will be faced by those whose aim is making the most of the benefits of tourism: the first one has to do with things that may be solved through a better planning; the second one underlies the very tourism development and it should thus be accepted. From this perspective of the justification of planning, Inskeep (1988, quoted by Moniz, 1996) briefly presents the impact of tourism, stressing the fact that, in order to enhance the positive effects, the authorities should be involved in the tourism planning and development. Besides, the tourism development should be carefully controlled. Therefore, and according to this author, tourism promotes the interaction between visitors and those who are visited, which results in smaller or larger social and cultural impacts, according to the degree of the differences between the cultural patterns and to the social and economical characteristic in contact. As examples of positive effects, Inskeep refers the conservation of the historical and cultural heritage, revitalisation of the pride in the local culture as well as the exchange among different cultures. On the other hand, as an example of negative effects, he points out: the congestion in the tourism attractions, transport, commerce and local infrastructures, which may cause some grudges on the receiving community; excessive commercialisation and the subsequent loss of identity of traditional practices, objects of art and handicraft; the demonstration effect on the residents, specially on the younger people, who wish to imitate the behaviour and the patterns of life of tourists; affecting some beaches and other areas solely for tourism use; the misunderstandings and conflicts between the residents and the visitors because of differences in the language, practices and values; the exacerbation of problems with drugs, crime and prostitution, as well as the violation of the codes of local conduct. As far as the economical benefits of tourism are concerned, the author mentions the increase of infrastructures and equipments, from which the residents may benefit, the growth of governmental revenues and the subsequent development of other sectors of the economy. But tourism may also cause negative economic effects, such as an increase of imports, the ownership and management of tourism services and equipments by non-residents, economical distortions caused by the geographical affection of tourism, by the agrarian speculation and also by the pressure on the prices for selling the local services and goods. Toms (1990, quoted by Moniz, 1996) points out that the basic justification for the negative effects of tourism is much more closely connected to the fact that there isnt any careful planning than to the nature of tourism itself. According to Mill and Morrison (1985, Burns and Holden, 1995), the consequences of an unsuitable planning may be grouped into five sets of impacts: on the environment; on people; as far as marketing is concerned; as far as the organisations are concerned and other sorts of impact. Based on the work of these authors, Moniz (1996) gives some examples of effects on the environment: damaging or lasting changes on nature; damaging or lasting changes on historical/cultural landmarks and resources; congestion; pollution and, also, traffic problems. As far as human impacts are concerned, we may refer a more difficult access, by the local community, to the tourism equipments and attractions, thus leading to some bitterness; a dislike for tourists; the loss of cultural identity; the lack of vocational education and training and of hospitability,

when it comes to the rendering of tourism services; an unsuitable exploitation, by those from the are of destination, of the benefits of tourism. As far as marketing is concerned, the failure in taking advantage of the new marketing opportunities; the erosion of the market quotas due to the actions taken by the rival destinations; the absence of information/promotion near the main issuing markets, as well as the lack of a clear positioning by the area of destination; an inadequate cooperation among the tourism operators as far as tourism promotion is concerned and, still, the unsuitable taking advantage of the packaging opportunities. In view of this situation, the entrepreneurial tissue faces some problems and this leads to a fragmented approach to marketing and to the development of tourism; the lack of cooperation among the tourism operators; an inadequate representation of the interests of the tourism industry; an insufficient support from the local authorities and, finally, the failure in solving common problems for industry. As an example of other impacts, one may refer the inadequate signalling; insufficient attractions; a strong seasonal character and the short length of the stay; weak or deteriorating equipments and services and, also, precarious or inadequate information. Burns and Holden (1995) introduce some factors that may determine such an inadequacy as far as planning is concerned, such as: 1 - flaws caused by imperfections in the information made available, specially concerning the resources to be involved in the planning and in the aims set; 2 - technical flaws, caused by the lack of experience of the technicians involved, namely in what concerns the quantitative previsions and their assessment in the market; 3 - social flaws caused by the lack that the local community isnt given much consideration. Toms (1990, quoted by Moniz, 1996) adds that the impacts of tourism are the result of an interaction of phenomena grouped into two subsets: the first one involves tourists, the population and the destination area; the second one involves tourists and the decision processes. In the first situation, the author thinks that, according to the burden hold of the economical, social and environmental subsystems of the area of destination, one may consider positive the effects that do not exceed the limits of toleration of the burden hold of each of the previously mentioned subsystems and that, on the other hand, one may consider negative all the effects that may exceed those limits. As far as the second situation is concerned, he stresses that the effects of tourism vary according to the tourists decisions, namely on what concerns the selected destinations, the characteristics of the trip and the personal and behavioural qualities of tourists. Thus, and from the point of view of planning, tourism should be considered, not in isolation, but rather as an element of the global economic system, bearing in mind the three elements it is made of: a) a dynamic element that concerns both the structure and the characteristics of tourism demand, as well as the forms and the kinds of tourism; b) a static element, concerning the characteristics of tourism and those of the area of destination and its burden hold; c) a consequent or consequential element, concerning the impacts of tourism and which results from the interactions established between the two previously mentioned elements. These impacts may be economical, physical or environmental and social. From its adequate assessment will result a diagnosis and a control of the action whose aim is to supply the guidelines, signalling its risks and advantages, so as to promote the positive effects and to minimise or exclude the negative effects of tourism, both in the Economy/Finance, and in society, culture and in the surroundings of the destination or receiving areas. Mill and Morisson (1985) and Plog (1973) establish a close relationship between the concept of planning, made from a strategic point of view, and the cycle of life of the destination. For Plog, the success of a destination increases or decreases according to the evolution of

the psycho-graphic groups: in the beginning, innovating people, then, less aggressive and enthusiastic ones and, finally, the more passive groups. Planning should prevent destinations from entering a stage of decline. Taking into account the study he carried out on the United States, Plog mentioned that, according to the sort of tourist one wishes to attract, the tourism destinations go through different stages in different periods of their historical development. He establishes a relationship among the personality profiles of the identified and previously mentioned tourists, the market that is aimed at and the stage of the cycle of life of the destination. Thus: Allocentric Midcentric Psychocentric Market of the innovators Market of the masses Market of the late-comers Introduction and growth stage Maturity stage Decline stage

Even though Plog suggested that all tourism destinations tend to go into a stage of decline according to an exaggerated promotion and subsequent commercialisation, Moniz (1996), just like Mill and Morrison (1985), consider that the cycle of life of destinations may be extended, as long as it is previously prepared and as long as everything and everyone involved adapts itself to change. This will or should be the main function of planning.

1.2.1. Tourism planning: a strategic and integrated approach According to the methodology proposed by Michael Porter, Bordas (1994) believes that strategic planning should consist of a guideline of tourism development, for both the public and private sector and whose instructions may be applied to both. Thus, the plans of tourism development should help the enterprises, no matter how big they are, to identify and develop competitive advantages. Since tourism is characterised by the fact that it is an atomised sector, where entrepreneurial fragmentation and small and average size businesses prevail, the partial vision of many tourism agents may be corrected through a strategic planning that will make it easier to obtain competitive advantages for everybody. So, the public administration has decided to actively intervene in the strategic planning for tourism, so as to make possible a greater prosperity in the area or in the region and to make the conservation of the natural, social and cultural resources profitable. Governments have become increasingly interested in tourism for other reasons too, namely to stop the negative impact of the crisis other sectors of the economy have been undergoing and to avoid the desertification of certain areas and places, to promote the balance between different territories and, also, to complement the revenues, namely agricultural ones. This way, a strategic planning of tourism is a tool at the service of a certain region that defines the general conditions for the balanced development of the territory for a certain amount of time. It is, thus, a question of structuring the aims and the policies so as to identify the priorities for the action of the public sector, to overcome the hindrances to the exploitation of the tourism possibilities and, thus, to develop new business opportunities. This way, the unrestrained and reactive growth of supply is avoided. The strategic planning of tourism is the one that determines, in the long run, the model of development desired for the referred territory by the inhabitants and the public administrations. This model will make it possible to reach the best level of competitiveness, and to determine its advantages. It should also make it possible to obtain both the economical and the social and environmental profitability, from the sustainability perspective.

Strategic planning assumes two requirements: the first one has to do with sustainability, that is, the development of tourism shouldnt question the preservation of the resources which are, after all, the basis on which the tourism development is carried out; the second one implies the existence of a consensus that is, since there is a strong competition among the different destinations, one should promote a spirit of association and establish strategic alliances so as to raise the power of joint synergies. This way, in nowadays world, where competition and competitiveness rule and bearing in mind the importance of the practice of tourism, only those who plan tourism development in advance and in a suitable and sensible way will be successful. However, strategically planning the development of tourism has some difficulties which result, basically, from the fact that this activity works as a functional system, which gives it some dynamism as well as some instability, in terms of its balance, the result of the diversity of agents involved in this process. Whenever its balance is endangered by one or more of the intervening agents, some adjustments involving the whole system should be made. When one plans in tourism, one wishes to reach a more effective positioning in what the making the system operational is concerned, involving and taking into account both all the intervenients in the system and all the interactions established among them. According to Gunns point of view (1988, quoted by Moniz, 1996), there are some difficulties to be able to reach this widely desired performance. Such difficulties result specially from the fact that the dynamics of the system isnt always fully understood, thus implying some hindrances to planning. Mill and Morrison (1995) consider that the difficulties in carrying out this planning in tourism may be caused by: 1 - adversity to planning, shown by some entrepreneurs who, not being able to understand its aims, do not value tourism and who see planning only as a way of messing with their activity; 2 - the steep financial costs inherent to the process of planning and which result from the detail with which some tasks should be carried out, due to their importance such as the analysis of the resources and the studies of the market. The public authorities are usually the ones who have to bear these costs; 3 - the industry of tourism is quite complex and diversified, involving public organisms and some basic problems are raised, such as the identification of the revenues and expenses in tourism. Gunn (1988) also points to this fact as a difficulty of planning; 4 - Involvement of a large number of small companies, each one seen as being part of a specific area of the sector be it linked to hotels, restaurants, transports or others thus leaving behind the wider and more entangling side of its function in the sector. Gunn (1988) also identifies this situation as an obstacle to planning in tourism. 5 - Other issues such as its seasonal character and the high turnover of property. Gunn (1988), on his turn, presents the following reasons as difficulties for carrying out the planning: a) lack of perception of what the tourism product is, as often happens, for example, in the area of hotels, where people usually believe the product are bedrooms, ignoring that the service rendered is closely connected to promotion, information and to the attractions made available for the costumer; b) existence of institutional frontiers. Several public organisms are involved in the tourism activity, even though that was not the reason why they were created, Since they do not have policies or staff organs with a clear vocation for tourism, they get lost in bureaucracy, making difficult the functional integration of tourism; c) excessive fragmentation of private organisations. There are too many hotels, restaurants, companies of air transportation, travel agencies, rent-a-car companies, and so on, which makes difficult the agreement on policies and, therefore, the integration of the system; d) duality of the (local and visiting) markets. The

branches of activity that supply goods and services to the sector of tourism usually do not operate for visitors alone. It is essential to attend to both segments of the market in the process of planning, since it isnt possible to establish policies only for tourists; e) ideological controversy as far as the priority to attribute to the issues of development versus the protection of the resources, which comp romises the development of tourism. However, and according to Mill and Morrison (1985) as Moniz (1996) stresses out, those difficulties do not prevent us from recognising the value of planning tourism in the world, as confirmed by the increasingly higher number of plans developed.

1.2.3. Some models of Tourism Planning Being a continual process, as suggested by Gunn, planning is also flexible, endowed with a dynamics justified by the interaction of many different intervenients. Therefore, it cannot be seen as a finished or completed product. On the contrary, it should be the target of constant upgrading and reassessment according to the changes made, especially of the economical, social, cultural and environmental surrounding with which it interacts. Thus, nowadays, planning should clearly aim at the agreement of varied interests, so as to promote the integrated development. The approach to be implemented should be a strategic one implying, as it was previously stated, a clear definition of the aims and of the more effective guidelines to reach those aims, a consideration of the existing and inherent strong and weak points, as well as of the opportunities to take advantage of and the threats to be avoided. Bearing in mind that the models of planning have undergone some adjustments over the time, let us take a look, as an example, at some of those approaches considered as more representative of such an evolution. In the first place, the Baud-Bovys traditional scheme of Tourism Planning (1985), an approach that Baptista (1990:330) characterises as an urbanistic approach of planning and bases it on a detailed analysis and on the assessment of the tourism resources, usually the physical ones, existing in the country or in the region considered, from the point of view of quality and of the possibilities of its exploitation, which led to the design of a Guiding-Plan, in which a relationship between the use of the ground and the setting of the tourism structures is established, represented on Figure 1.

Figure 1. Traditional Scheme of Tourism Planning

Inventory of the resources and of the structures

Studies of market

Program of touristic development

Aims and management options

Assessment of the economical impact

Physical guidingplan

Source: Baud-Bovy (1985, quoted by Moniz, 1996:37)

Baptista refers a second stage in the evolution of the approaches to the development of planning, but which does not add much to what has already been told: he calls it economical policy approach since it resorts to methodologies and techniques which had already been tried in other areas of the economic activity, adapting them to the specific case of tourism. On the other hand, the PASOLP Products Analysis Sequence for Outdoor L eisure Planning Approach developed by M. Baud-Bovy between 1976 and 1977, already implies some innovation, specially since it is more restricted in what concerns the study of the different factors which, in a certain moment, may affect the development of infrastructures, lodgings and tourism equipment. It is made up of five stages: 1 - research and analysis; 2 - definition of the tourism; policy and of priority flows; 3 - designing the physical guiding-plan and establishing the strategy; 4 - assessing the impacts; 5 - continual planning. Baptista (1990:330) considers that, even this methodology, represented on Figure 2, does not cover all the requirements of the integral planning of tourism, when it is supposed to be approached in the scope of the administrative structure of the public sector to which the national organism of tourism of the implied country belongs. According to Mill and Morrison (1985), Moniz (1996) also presents in short the stages of tourism planning as: 1st analysis of the past, which is made up of: nd

interpretation and adequacy of todays policy of tourism; inventory of the tourism resources; analysis of nowadays demand; analysis of nowadays supply in the region. Identification of the strong and weak points.

2 research and detailed analysis, which involves: rd

analysis of the resources; analysis of the activities that may be done in the region.

3 - synthesis, where one proceeds to: the search for conclusions about the development of tourism, of the organisation of the tourism industry, of the opportunities detected and, finally, of other services and auxiliary activities of tourism. 4 - establishing targets, strategies and goals that will direct the actions to be followed as far as tourism is concerned. 5 - establishing the plan, which consists of: establishing programs and actions in order to achieve each goal of the plan; defining the duties and responsibilities of the public and private sector so as to carry out the programs and the actions; defining the specific concepts of development and marketing, as well as the opportunities that may help us reach those aims; defining the costs which are inherent to its application as well as to the entities to which they should be affected; establishing a chronogram of action; defining a method for controlling the results of the plan.
th th

As a conclusion, let us take a look at McIntosh and Goeldner (1986, quoted by Moniz, 1996:38) model, represented on Figure 3, where planning and the process of development of tourism are seen from a clearly agreed upon perspective.

1.3. Effects of tourism in the regional development Tourism assumes a more and more important role in the world economy, especially in the countries with a larger tourism dynamic. The strong economic expression of this activity determines a set of interactions between the various sectors and activities that cohabit within the tourism industry area and that, in their turn, cause various effects in the process of local and regional development. The development of a country, region or place must occur in an integrated and sustained way so that it can be based on the harmonious co-existence of the different activities that characterise the area, without jeopardising the preservation of the existent resources. From this point of view, tourism can play an important role in a regional or local economy, although it does not mean the end, of his own accord, of the coherent set of activities that should constitute the economic basis of that region or place. According to Baptista (1994), the understanding degree of the changes that tourism causes in the regional development is directly related with the major or minor relevance conferred to this activity, beyond the strict view of its contribution as a source of foreign currency. As a matter of fact, if the strictly economic point of view prevails, very little or nothing will it matter, the contribution that tourism is able to offer to each region of the country in terms of revenues, jobs, tensions in the job market, valorisation or degradation of the historic, cultural and environmental patrimony, socio-cultural tensions, effects of dynamisation of other activities or supplying crisis caused by the intensification of the demand generated by tourism, etc. On the contrary, if tourism is understood and assumed in its different implications at economic, social and cultural level, it must be correctly considered in a strategy of regional development. In this sense, the plans of tourism development are integrated in a policy of regional development as they take into account the characteristics and singularities of each region, indicating the application of methodologies and techniques suitable to each case. Thus, they promote the evaluation of the direct impact of tourism and the effects of complementation and production of synergies that the tourism activity causes to develop, with the aim of enquiring about the degree of sustainability of tourism in a region or place and its role in the regional and local development. The development and regional policy issue is presently a central concern of several governmental structures. As an example, the European Union (UE), in spite of being one of the most prosperous areas of the world, shows a remarkable disparity between its Member states. In order to measure that disparity, one should measure and compare the levels of wealth produced by each country, that is, its gross domestic product (GDP). The GDP per capita of Greece, Portugal and Spain is 80% inferior to the E.U. average, while the GDP per capita of Luxembourg is 60 percent higher than that average.

Figure 2. The PASOLP Process

General information

Touristic resources

Todays touristic development

Organisation and financing of tourism

Places of touristic interest and potencial development

Analysis of products Touristic flows Infrastructures and existing equipments

1 2 3 4 1 id Product considered a b c x

x id

Competitions supply A,B,C,...X

rentability different impacts

Policy of tourism

Priority touristic flows

Supplementary equipments

Execution policy

Physical guiding plan


Control and revision Source: Baud-Bovy (1985, quoted by Moniz, 1996:38)

Figure 3. Model for the Planning and the Process of Development in Tourism

Initial stimulus

Concept of Marketing

Study of the market

Segmentation of the market

Restrictions of the supply

Environmental impact

Economical impact

Social impact

Potential of the segments

Decision models

Choice of the alternatives

Legal, administrative and budget restrictions


Parameters of the business

Plan of development

Marketing strategy

Development of the business

Carrying out the plan

Carrying out the strategy

Control o

Control o

Control o

Satisfaction of the tourist

Source: McIntosh and Goeldner (1986, quoted by Moniz, 1996:38)

The ten most dynamic regions of the E.U. detain a GDP that is about three times higher than the one detained by the ten less developed areas. Thus, the Europeans do not possess the same trump cards, or the same success opportunities to face the globalisation, whether they inhabit a prosperous region or one with a development handicap, a dynamic region or one in crisis, the city or the countryside, the outskirts of the E.U. or its central economic poles. The access to the job market, the competitiveness of the enterprises and the investment in the technologies of the new economy depend especially on the economic operators and on the national and regional authorities, but this is not all. The solidarity between the E.U. peoples, the economic and social progress as well as the reinforcement of cohesion are purposes registered in the Treaty of Amsterdam. Specifically in the article 158 of this treaty it is said: The Community will try to reduce the disparity between the development levels of the different regions and the slowness of the less favoured regions and islands, including the rural areas. This is the reason why the Member-states execute a regional European policy financed by the European funds, the structural funds and the cohesion fund, which reflects the solidarity between the E.U. citizens. The E.U. role is not limited to the attribution of financing. The regional European policy also introduces a communitarian perspective in the actions of development conceived in loco, contributing thus to complete, in regions where it becomes necessary, the internal market and the Economic and Monetary Union. In 1999, the member States have provided the EU with the financial means that will make it possible to deepen and enlarge their activities in the 20002006 period. These European financial perspectives, known by the name Agenda 2000, have been accompanied of several reformations that have extended themselves to the great policies of the Union. The guiding principal of the reformation of the regional policy is a greater concentration of help to less developed regions, that is, to regions where there are more serious problems in terms of infrastructures, of the creation of economical activities and of training. The carrying out of that policy was simplified so that the variety of interventions has been reduced. Significant changes in the management of the financing of the EU have also been introduced. It was essential to recognise that the States and the regions were very interested in taking the future into their own hands and, thus, to start managing directly the sums given by the EU. They thus became the main responsible for the management and control of the expenses, and the Commission just had to intervene when there was the need to verify the efficiency of the established systems of control. The financial transfer to the less favoured regions and social ranks represent for the 2000-2006 period, one third of the communitys budget, which represents 213 000 million euros (195 000 million euros through the structural funds European Fund of Regional Development, European Social Fund, Financial Instrument of Guiding of Fishing, Guiding section of the European Fund of Agricultural Guiding and Warranty and 18 000 million euros through the Cohesion Fund). In this context, Portugal has been able to achieve a community structural support of 8 460 billion escudos for this 20002006 period, in the scope of the Quadro Comunitrio de Apoio III (QCAIII), unlike what happened with the previous one (QCAII) whose value was much lower 5 217 billion escudos. The communitys support to Portugal for this period was formalised on March 31st , precisely with the signature of the QCAIII, becoming the first country to have the QCA approved for the 2000-2006 period. The basic legislation for the internal management of the QCAIII was quickly published: the Decree nr. 54-A/2000, from April 7th , defines the organic structure for the management, follow up and control of the QCAIII and the Resolution from the Board of Ministers nr. 27/2000 from May 16th , which appoints all the teams for

the management of the operational programs and which sets the respective structures of technical support. The QCA III is a key instrument for the next years, since it contributes for the promotion of the smooth, balanced and sustainable development of the economical activities, of the development of employment and of human resources and of the exclusion of inequalities. The Alentejo region is explicitly considered in the scope of axis 4, which concerns the promotion of the sustainable development of the regions and social cohesion and whose capacity is the following:
(billions of escudos)

Total Costs Total

Public Expenses

Private Financing

Structural Funds

National Public Resources







Source: QCA III Portugal 2000/2006, European Commission

In Portugal, the General Direction of Regional Development is a service of the Ministry of Planning responsible for the following: a) study and co-ordination of the policy of regional development; b) coordination of the intervention of the Structural Funds; c) presidency of the Commission for the Management of the Structural Funds; d) presidency of the commission for the follow up of the QCA; e) presidency of the Units for the Management of the Programs of Community Initiative; f) national interlocutor of the European Fund of Regional Development (FEDR) close to the European Commission; g) national interlocutor of the Cohesion Fund close to the European Commission. In the Alentejo, the organ that represents the central administration in the region as regional manager of the Operational Program of the Alentejo is the Commission for the Co-ordination of the Region of the Alentejo (CCRA). Tourism, as a sector of the national economy, is directly considered in the Operational Program of the Economy (POE) that integrates a set of tools of economical policy of a middle run for the 2000 to 2006 period, destined to the sectors of industry, energy, building, transportation, tourism, commerce and services. Inserted in axis 2 of the Plan of Regional Development Change the Productive Profile Towards the Activities of the Future this program aims at stimulating some changes in the Portuguese tissue, concerning both the existing structures and the encouragement of new opportunities of development provided by the global economy, including the modern technologies and a high added value. Due to its multi-sectorial nature and to its national scope, it keeps some articulation with other axes and operational programs. The POE tries to promote a growth in productivity and in competitiveness of Portuguese companies in the global market, essential conditions to face the growing external competition and the globalisation of the economies. The main aims of this Program are to reinforce the companies productivity, as well as their participation in the global market and the promotion of new possibilities of development. As far as the sector of tourism is concerned, the aims are to: a) promote, in a sustainable

way, the competitiveness of the companies of this sector; b) support the emergence of new areas of business that will place a bet on the creation of new tourism products; c) act on the critical elements of the sector of tourism through the consolidation of the great centres of tourism production, the consolidation of the existing tourism supply, of the qualification and intensification of the training of professionals of and for tourism and the promotion of the internationalisation of Portugal as a tourism destination; d) support the internationalisation of the economical agents of tourism. The management of the POE depends, in the top, on the Ministry of Economy, existing in the basis some management commissions. In the sector of tourism, the management entities are different delegations of the Ministry of Education at a regional level. As far as the mobilisation of resources is concerned, the POE has an underlying total cost, public and private, which is superior to 10 609 million euros about half of it (5 330 million euros) corresponds to the sum of the public national resources and of the Structural Funds (3 290 million euros), also called public expense. The Plan of Tourism Development of the Alentejo was promoted by the Region of Tourism of vora and prepared by the entrepreneurial consortium CEDRU Centre of Studies of Regional and Urban Development, Ltd. and the World Praxis Group.

II. CENTRAL IDEAS OF THE PLAN OF TOURISTIC DEVELOPMENT FOR THE ALENTEJO (PTDA) With basis on the documents made available by the enterpris e responsible for the execution of the PDTA, documents that are here sometimes fully quoted, our purpose is to offer a summary perspective of the content of this document. A special attention is given to the purposes to achieve with the accomplishment of the Plan, to the synthesis of the tourist market of the Alentejo, to the identification of the key ideas which embodied the strategy, to the structure of the intervention plan and finally to the strategy of promotional positioning. Thus, rather than criticising or making considerations about the work accomplished by the team in question, our aim is its promotion.

2.1. Aims The aims that conducted the accomplishment of this work had to do, once more, with the need of in the Alentejo, it is important the execution of a sustained tourist dynamic capable of innovating and competing in an increasingly more global and smaller world. However, sustainability scenery is formed by a co-ordination of essential factors that are complex and of difficult execution, indicating a process of tourist development that reveals itself as: a) strategic and politically co-ordinated, so that it can guarantee a background movement free from conflicts and participated by the striking agents of the process of tourist development, either public or private; b) acceptable in terms of environment and landscape, within the acceptable limits of charge, that is, able to guarantee the regular functioning of the ecosystems as well as a landscape profile that can be a defender from the shocks of the true deconstruction of the landscape construction, that marks the image of the local tourism destiny; c) culturally valorising, respecting the identity of the host communities, praising the valorisation of the main patrimonial elements that establish the difference between the local touristic space in relation and similar destinies, potential competitors; d) socially progressive, as a way of guaranteeing more jobs and family income, as well as a general

elevation of the socio-professional statute of the active staff connected with the various service areas related with tourism and leisure; e) economically competitive and self-regulated through an entrepreneurial ambience open to innovation and risk, aware of the changes that operate in each new cycle of the tourism demand. It is important to guarantee that the economic dynamic of tourism keeps an endogenous, outstanding presence of economic resources and Know-How, so that it can assure a capacity of self regulation of the valorisation process of the capital involved; f) territorially ordered in order to have a better use of the resources available and avoid squandering in the provision of the supporting structures.

2.2. Starting diagnosis 2.2.1. Synthesis of the tourism market of the Alentejo Supply Emergent space in the national map of tourism which registered a reasonable dynamic of expansion and diversification in the nineties, in spite of detaining a modest representation at national level that reveals a clear potential of development of various tourism products integrated in the supply mosaic of this space of tourism destination; 4,2% of the capacity of hotel accommodation of the continent in 1999; 3,2% of the overnights in the continent in 1998; Nineties: dynamic of expansion and diversification of the supply of equipments and services and the present situation indicts the existence of objective conditions to undertake a sustained introduction on the market of the activities related with tourism and leisure; Hotel structure formed by 137 hotels and 8 109 beds (year 2000); Sector of Tourism in Rural Space (TRS): 90 resorts and 1 028 beds; 23 camping and caravanning parks; The matrix of the tourism accommodation supply reveals the co-ordination of several supply sectors, which allow a global supply of 10 800 tourism beds and an accommodation capacity (including the camping offer) for approximately 31 000 tourists and visitors, without mentioning the significant use of secondary residences, which registered a growth in the last decade; Expansion of the number of enterprises dedicated to the tourism entertainment services (organised tours, several sports activities, etc.); Demand 891 000 overnights in the hotel industry in 1998 (National Institute of Statistics); Portuguese (60.6% of the total value); Spanish (18 % of the overnights); From the international flows of tourists stand out the German, French, British, North American, Italian, Dutch, Belgian and Swedish markets; 21 conference rooms with capacity for 4 770 persons; 2 golf courses with 18 holes (Tria and Marvo); 508 licensed areas, which include about 283 thousand acres (in 2000); 58 equestrian centres and 19 stud farms.

Core of central motivations which arise the desire of travelling having the Alentejo as a destination: a) the enjoyment of the landscape and natural spaces; b) the search for time and resting places; c) the visit to museums and monuments; d) the acquaintance with people and places; e) the fruition of the regional gastronomy;

Average time of stay in the hotel industry: 1.9 days for the Portuguese and 1.6 days for foreigners;

Dominant profile of the tourism travel: a) family trip or with friends; b) travelling with his own vehicle (car); c) organisation of the trip without the services of a travel agency; d) trip focused on a single destiny or organised in tour; e) stay in hotel facilities or similar, namely in the typology of the tour travel; f) length of the stay from 2 to 3 nights, especially when the accommodation is in hotels or similar;

Another profile that is important to structure is the profile of the socio-demographic characteristics of the tourism demand of the Alentejo. The prevailing typology consists of tourists between 26 and 65 years old, of both sexes (with a predominance of men, although without a great difference), working on account of others and part of income scales which cover the typologies medium/low, medium/high, and high.

2.3. The Back Scene of a Strategy 2.3.1.Stategic sides and sectors of intervention The composition and settlement of the touristic tissue and activity of the Alentejo rises particularly deep actions, co-ordinated in five strategic sectors, which should be articulated with eight specific sectors of intervention and from which the structuration of the Intervention Programs will develop: 1. Strategic Sides ?? Development and valorisation of the tourism products; ?? Structuring interventions of territorial basis; ?? Investment in equipments and tourist services; ?? Preparation and formation of the human resources; ?? Promotion and tourism marketing 2. Strategic Sectors ?? Valorisation of the tourism resources; ??Development of tourism services and supporting equipments; ??Organisation of the supply and tourism operation (tourism products/services); ??Professional formation for all kinds of tourism professionals and technicians; ??Tourism promotion (marketing and public relations); ??Information, interpretation and tourism signalling; ??Investment (equipments/activities and services, support to investors, lightening of the bureaucratic burden); ??Studies and plans (support to decision taking).

2.3.2. Portfolio of strategic tourism products of the Alentejo: a prospective The definition of the strategy for tourism development in the Alentejo is based on a network of products that together reveal the potential of the region for the differential valorisation of the identifiable tourism products. The analysis of the results obtained concerning the future of the mosaic of tourism products of the Alentejo in the next twenty years shows that the generality of the agents directly related with the tourism in the region share a strong expectation of development of the tourism tissue. In this context, it is obvious the structural basis that the new economic basis of tourism in the region tends to develop. The Alentejo reveals itself as a tourism space with a potential of development divided in three specific chains of tourism products-The first one, which will form the vital core of the touristic tissue, the second and the third, which combine tourism products with different capacities of economic assertion. To this articulation of tourism products associate five chains of products with striking specifications, whether they are emergent products (enological tourism and golf tourism), or products that reveal limitations or persistent problems (health tourism, young tourism and social tourism). Structuring tourism products with a great potential of development in the region: Tourism of sun and sea, urban cultural tourism, cultural and discovery touring, short-break travelling; Tourism products with a great capacity of development in the tourism regional tissue: Equestrian tourism, nature and landscape tourism, tourism in rural areas, historical/archaeological tourism, nautical tourism (in interior water surfaces), tourism of multi-activities in the open; Tourism products with a strong potential growth in the next twenty years but with an average assertion in the regional touristic tissue: Tourism of events, synergetic tourism, golf tourism, gastronomic tourism, senior tourism.

III STRUCTURATION OF THE INTERVENTION PLAN Internal surrounding a) Axis 1 Vertebral interventions of the tourism system Subprogram 1: valorisation of the chains of tourism products; Subprogram 2: Structuring interventions of territorial basis. b) Axis 2 Transversal interventions in the tourism system Subprogram 3: Entrepreneurial development and tourism investment; Subprogram 4: Qualification and formation of the human resources; Subprogram 5: Promotion, commercialisation and marketing. External surrounding c) Axis 3 -Technical assistance to the plan: Subprogram 6: Implementation of the Plan of Tourism Development; Subprogram 7: Supervision of the plan and carrying out studies. d) Axis 4 Complementary interventions to the tourism system Subprogram 8: Recovery and valorisation of patrimonial values; Subprogram 9: Urban and commercial revitalisation of the urban centres; Subprogram 10: Reinforcement of the infrastructures of the territorial surrounding;

Subprogram 11: Reinforcement and promotion of the supply of cultural, sportive and economic events.

IV STRATEGY OF PROMOTIONAL POSITIONING OF THE ALENTEJO The strategic vision for the Alentejo in what its positioning is concerned takes into account the importance of the existence of a unique selling proposition (USP) that is transmitted to the consumer by means of a clear message so that he does not get confused. Considering the results of the enquiries that the enterprise passed with the tourism trade of the external markets, it was verified the existence of a low level of knowledge of the brand Alentejo, what means that there is a neutral basis to introduce its image. Thus, it is believed that the suitable USP for the Alentejo should be its Authenticity. Under the positioning Alentejo, synonym of Authenticity one should distinguish two obvious supplies: the Coast and the Countryside. The first area positioned as a Sun and Virgin Beach with golf destiny to be developed in the medium/long term. The second one is positioned as the Countryside/Rural destiny, where the touring and the cultural urban tourism are included, which would have a development in the short/medium term. It is wished, through a clear positioning, to give the client a well-defined picture of the region, so that he can consider it as a destiny for his holidays if it suits his mo tivations. Defined the umbrella brand Alentejo, synonym of Authenticity and the main supplies, a set of products aimed to form the complementary supply will be defined. The region possesses enough resources to assure a diversity of complementary supply. The complementary products might constitute, for some sectors of niche, the main motivation to travelling. These micro-products oriented for the tourism of special interest are quite interesting, as one of the great attractions of this region is its preservation, which obviously we wish to keep. This kind of tourism involves less groups but with a higher average expense. Organisational structure of tourism the Alentejo will need an identity to supervise the application of the PTD, a role to be assumed by the Associao das Regies de Turismo do Alentejo (Association of the Tourism Regions of the Alentejo)-ARTA. Moreover there must be created an identity to execute the directives of the ARTA in what concerns the Plan, being that identity an operative agency of touristic promotion the Agncia de Marketing Turstico do Alentejo (Tourism Marketing Agency of the Alentejo) AMTA. The main function of the AMTA would be to join together, that is, to optimise the capacities of the several organisms and associations of the sector. The existence of an independent and specialised enterprise is important for the possibility of a) having a strong and credible image; b) being a lively and structured organisation; c) being an agency capable of communicating, with staff specialised in tourism marketing. The aims of this new identity would be: a) stimulate the dynamic of the sector becoming the promoting identity of all the tourism supply of the Alentejo; b) join together the different promotional initiatives (inter-regional, regional, sub-regional and private) so that it becomes possible to unify criteria, avoid dispersion and confusion of messages and optimise the use of the available resources; c) facilitate the tourist satisfaction through the implementation of systems of quick assistance to his complains and claims; d) assume functions with the organism of global representation of the interests of the sector with the agents of the issuing markets.

CONCLUSION Tourism has nowadays an important position at world scale, due to both the high revenues it generates and the multiplicity of effects, negative and positive, that it causes at several levels. Thus, the development of tourism is often seen as a way of compensating the losses that the traditional sectors of the economy have been suffering in many regions of the world. However it must be taken into account that it can only be an activity within the context of the economic structure of a regional economy and can not in itself replace the other sectors or activities of the region. In this context, the planning of the tourism activity appears as the way of granting an order and simultaneously adequacy to the activity of Man in such a way that it prevents the deterioration of the resources that represent, after all, the basis on which the tourism activity develops. This way there is the possibility of optimising the positive effects of tourism, such as the development of the host regions and minimising the negative ones. These questions are not indifferent to organisms with responsibilities at a world-wide and European scale. In the context of the EC, where Portugal is one of the Member-states and namely in the definition of the QCAIII for the period from 2000 to2006, this topic was subject of a substantial financial provision, having been attributed to our country an amount much superior to the one attributed in the last QCA. Europe pretends with this to preserve what is its bigger source of attractiveness: its resources and its past! The Alentejo is a rather extensive Portuguese region, with a low demographic density, where the agricultural sector has always been dominant. Due to the hard times that this activity has gone through, the Alentejo has lived a recession period and at this point it is important to reconvert its supporting economic basis. In face of the enormous patrimony of the region, tourism appears as a feasible alternative, susceptible of coexisting with the other economic sectors, with a more traditional character. The execution of the PTDA fills in the need long felt by the different regional agents worried about providing this region with the suitable instruments in order to make possible its tourism development under a perspective of sustainability and simultaneously m ake the Alentejo competitive in global terms. The Alentejo presents a natural and environmental, constructed, ethnological and cultural patrimony, unique and extremely relevant for the tourism attractiveness of the region. In spite of that fact, the supply is not very structured, yet, and it is modest at national scale, although it presents a strong potential for the development of several tourism products. In what the demand is concerned, the Portuguese in particular are those who look for the Alentejo as a tourism destiny, standing out from the international tourism flows the German, French, Britain, North American, Italian, Dutch, Belgium and Swedish markets. In this context and considering the information collected, the strategy of tourism development to be defined for this region as it is presented in the PTDA is co-ordinated in five strategic sectors development and valorisation of the tourism products, structuring interventions of territorial basis, investment in equipments and tourism services, preparation and formation of the human resources, promotion and tourism marketing articulated with eight specific sectors of intervention: valorisation of the tourism products; development of tourism services and equipments of support; organisation of the supply and tourism operation (tourism products/services); professional formation for all kinds of tourism professionals and technicians for tourism; tourism promotion (marketing and public relations); information, interpretation and tourism signalling; investment (equipments/activities and services, support to investors, lightening of the

bureaucracy burden) and studies and plans (support to decision taking). On the other hand, three specific

chains of tourism products were defined, with a different potential of development in the region. Finally, the Alentejo needs to clearly define its positioning in terms of tourism and in the context of the international market in order to achieve the identification and notoriety desired. Thus, it is here proposed the definition of an umbrella brand Alentejo, synonym of authenticity, around which the supply will be constructed. In what concerns the execution, the ARTA is presented as the entity responsible for the application of the Plan and for that effect it should carry out the creation of an entity which would be capable of executing its purposes respecting the PTDA and that would function as an operative agency of tourism promotion.

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