Tourism and third sector organizations: synergies for responsible tourism development?

Paula Guerreiro Martins, Ana Maria Alves Ferreira, Carlos Manuel Costa


The main aim of this paper is the analysis of the third sector arts, culture and local development organizations (TSO) participation in the context of tourism planning and development and to understand the characteristics of its connections to the tourism sector in the region of the Algarve, Portugal, a mature sun and sea destination.

The methodological strategy is anchored in a mix-methods approach applying qualitative techniques such as semi-structured interviews (n=40), document analysis, non­-participant observation, and adopting a triangulation approach.

There have been few empirical studies that analyse this theme, thus, identifying the forms of participation that the third sector can adopt and their characteristics and specificities constitutes one of the main contributions of this research towards reinforcing the conceptual framework in the context of responsible tourism development.

The results revealed that third sector organizations display a set of characteristics that position them as active agents in the tourist planning and development processes by operating on areas such as the promotion of cultural and artistic expression, research and inventory of cultural and natural resources, raising awareness of those resources and also by actively participating in supply structuring and provision of tourist services.

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