Tourism planning and development: The case of Portugal’s Norte region


  • Ana Paula Lopes Polytechnic of Porto (P.Porto)
  • Filomena Soares Polytechnic of Porto (P.Porto)


Norte region, sustainable tourism, tourism planning, regional competitiveness


Tourism has been gaining increasing importance in the global economy, in general, and, more specifically, in Europe, Portugal, and smaller areas such as Portugal’s Norte region. The north of Portugal has a rich cultural, historical and architectural landscape heritage, including some pearls that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has classified over the years as World Heritage Sites. With its wide-ranging impact on economic growth, employment and social development, tourism can be a powerful tool with which to shape the Portuguese economy, contributing to the country’s competitiveness, richness and cohesion. Therefore, the government and tourism stakeholders have recently made a stronger commitment to developing this sector.

The goal of this study was to analyse tourism policies’ contributions to the development of tourism sector in northernmost region of Portugal, included in the National Strategic Plan for Tourism (PENT) and in the Regional North Tourism Agenda (ART). This study sought to achieve these objectives by focusing on two main aspects. First, it examined the characteristics of the sector, identifying the tourism products in Norte region. Second, this research analysed the overall picture of the sector’s development between 2004 and 2014, for that we made a descriptive analysis of the main tourism indicators based on data collected from several sources, namely the Instituto Nacional de Estatística (National Statistics Institute) (INE), PENT, the Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Norte (Northern Portugal Regional Coordination and Development Commission), Turismo de Portugal (Tourism of Portugal) and Turismo do Porto e Norte de Portugal (Tourism of Oporto and Northern Portugal). The results reveal that investment in tourism in the Norte region has included offering eight primary tourism products and differentiators in four tourism subregions (i.e. Oporto Metropolitan Area, Alto Minho, Douro and Terras de Trás-os-Montes). Comparing the forecast values in terms of overnight stays, tourists and revenue set by PENT, the reality showed that the results were a little bit far from the expected; however the findings confirm the common perception that Portugal’s Norte region is still experiencing a trend towards growth as a tourist destination.


Benur, A. & Bramwell, B. (2015). Tourism product development and product diversification in destinations, Tourism Management, 50, 213–224, doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2015.02.005.

CCDR-N (2006). Norte 2015, Competitividade e Desenvolvimento – Uma Visão Estratégica, Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Norte. Porto.

CCDR-N (2008a). Plano de Ação para o Desenvolvimento Turístico do Norte de Portugal, Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Norte. Porto. Retrieved from

CCDR-N (2008b). Plano Desenvolvimento Turístico do Vale do Douro 2007-2013, Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Norte. Porto. Retrieved from

Choi, H. C., & Sirakaya, E. (2005). Measuring residents' attitudes toward sustainable tourism: development of sustainable tourism attitude scale. Journal of Travel Research, 43(4), 380-394.

Crotti, R. & Misrahi, T. (2015). The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 - Growth through Shocks. World Economic Forum. Retrieved from

Eduards, J. & Fernandes, C. (1999). Emigrants and Espigueiros – Tourism Activities in a Peripheral Area of Portugal. International Journal of Tourism Research. 1, 329-340.

Fernandes, P. & Cepeda, F. (2002). Produtos Turísticos para o Nordeste Transmontano. XII Jornadas Luso Espanholas de Gestão Científica/Novos Desafios na Gestão: Inovação ou Renovação. Publicação em Actas. Volume IV-Marketing. Universidade da Beira Interior, Covilhã; pp. 189/197.

INE (2005), Anuário Estatístico da Região Norte 2004 / Statistical Yearbook of Norte Region 2004. Instituto Nacional de Estatística, Lisboa, Portugal.

INE (2015a), Anuário Estatístico da Região Norte 2014 / Statistical Yearbook of Norte Region 2014. Instituto Nacional de Estatística, Lisboa, Portugal.

INE (2015b), Anuário Estatístico de Portugal 2014 / Statistical Yearbook of Portugal 2014. Instituto Nacional de Estatística, Lisboa, Portugal.

INE (2016), Instituto Nacional de Estatística. Dados Estatísticos. Retrieved from

Kim, W. & Kim, H. (2013). Regional Development Strategy for Increasing Cultural Tourism Business in South Korea, Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 18:6, 534-548, DOI: 10.1080/10941665.2012.695285.

Lage, B. & Milone, P. (2001). Economia do Turismo. (7ª Edição). São Paulo: Atlas S.A.

Leitão, N. (2011). Tourism and Economic Growth: A Panel Data Approach, Instituto Politécnico de Santarém. Actual Problems of Economics, 9, 343-349. Santarém, Portugal.

Makhlouf, H. (2012). The Multi-Dimensional Impact Of International Tourism. International Business & Economics Research Journal, University of the District of Columbia, USA. 11(2), 233-241.

Masiero, L. & Nicolau, J. (2012). Price sensitivity to tourism activities: looking for determinant factors, Tourism Economics Journal, 18 (4), 675–689, doi: 10.5367/te.2012.0143.

Middleton, V., Fyall, A., Morgan, M. & Ranchhod, A. (2009). Marketing in Travel and Tourism. (4th ed.), Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Ministério da Economia e do Emprego (2012). Plano Estratégico Nacional do Turismo: Revisão do Plano de Desenvolvimento do Turismo no horizonte 2015. Retrieved from

Patel, I. S. & Nayab, Z.A. (2014). Introduction to tourism, Geography of Transport, Tourism and Management. Solapur University. ISBN: 978-81-924687-2-3.

Santos, N. (2011). Modelação da Procura Turística para a Região Norte de Portugal – Dissertação de Mestrado, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança. Bragança.

Silva, J., Rodrigues, P., Mendes, J., & Pereira, L. (2010). A Tourism Research Agenda for Portugal. International Journal of Tourism Research, 12, 90-101. doi: 10.1002/jtr.740.

Smith, S. (1994). The Tourism product. Annals of Tourism Research, 21 (3), 582-595.

Turismo de Portugal (2007). Plano Estratégico Nacional do Turismo (PENT)– para o desenvolvimento do turismo em Portugal. Turismo de Portugal, I.P. Lisboa. Retrieved from

Turismo de Portugal, IP (2014), Turismo 2020 - Plano de Ação para o Desenvolvimento do Turismo em Portugal 2014 – 2020. Retrieved from

UNWTO (2015). World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) - Annual Report 2014 (2015). Retrieved from

Visser, G. (2003). South Africa tourism and its role in the perpetuation of an uneven tourism space economy. Africa Insight, 33(1/2), 116-123.

Weiermair, K. (2004). Product Improvement or Innovation: What is the Key to Success in Tourism? OECD.

WTTC (2016). 2016 Economic Impact Annual Update Summary. Retrieved from

Xu, J. (2010). Perceptions of tourism products, Tourism Management, 31 (5), 607-610, doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2009.06.011






Tourism/Hospitality: Research Papers

How to Cite

Lopes, A. P., & Soares, F. (2024). Tourism planning and development: The case of Portugal’s Norte region. Tourism & Management Studies, 13(4), 20-29.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

<< < 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 > >>