About two thirds of Portuguese citizens residing in the Algarve consider that part or all of their family income comes from the tourism sector.

Of the more than 4,000 respondents validated by the RESTUR project (Attitudes and Behaviors of Residents: Contributions to the Development of a Sustainable Tourism Strategy in the Algarve), 67 percent (%) earn income from tourism, 57% perform professions linked to sector and 47% have direct family members working in this economic activity.

“We noticed, as we were expecting, that there is a very high percentage of people who have their professional activity related to tourism, or in some way their household benefits from being professionally involved in tourism”, pointed out Patrícia Pinto, professor at the University of Algarve and responsible for the study, which is unprecedented in that it encompasses, for the first time, the opinions of residents in all 16 municipalities in the district of Faro.

The coordinator of CinTurs – Center for Research in Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being of the University of Algarve, who was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the presentation of the study, highlighted that Algarve residents “perceive that tourism has important positive impacts in the region”.

Within the scope of the RESTUR project – whose data can be consulted at www.restur.pt –, 4,026 questionnaires were collected and validated during the high and low seasons of tourist activity in the Algarve, in the periods before and after the covid-19 pandemic, but only among Portuguese citizens. Foreign residents were left out of this survey.

More than 90% of respondents point out that the sector increases job opportunities and contributes to the development of the local economy, while eight out of ten Algarvians say that tourism creates more business for the resident population.

Residents also have “a favourable opinion of their interaction with tourists” and “they like” the fact that the Algarve is a consolidated tourist destination, maintained Patrícia Pinto.

“They are willing to adopt some practices that can help the region to continue to be a good tourist destination, to protect natural resources, to get involved in the promotion of the destination”, she added.

Negative impacts

As for the “important negative impacts” at an economic level, 91.5% indicate that tourist activity increases the price of houses and land, 86.4% state that tourism increases the cost of living and 75.5% point out that goods and services are more expensive.

Asked whether they are willing to pay more fees that could benefit tourism, only 14% answered in the affirmative, while environmental impacts are considered more negative than positive: 68% specify traffic, parking and accidents problems and 66.2% point out that tourism increases pollution, garbage and noise.

The president of the Algarve Tourism Board, João Fernandes, said that the study demonstrates that, among residents, “there is no attitude of resistance, or anti-tourism, which is very positive for an already mature destination that is already following the path in this sector since the 60s [of the last century]”.