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Open AccessArticle

Modeling Nature-Based and Cultural Recreation Preferences in Mediterranean Regions as Opportunities for Smart Tourism and Diversification

1
Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, New University of Lisbon, 1069-061 Lisbon, Portugal
2
Laboratory for Geocomputation, Faculty of Arts, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON M5B 1W7, Canada
3
Research Centre for Tourism, Sustainability and Well-being, University of Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010433
Received: 1 December 2019 / Revised: 12 December 2019 / Accepted: 23 December 2019 / Published: 6 January 2020
The tourism and recreational offer of Mediterranean destinations involves, essentially, the promotion of mass tourism, based on the appeal of the sun and beach, and the quality of its coastal assets. Alongside the impacts of climate change, poor tourism diversification represents a threat to the resilience of the territory. Thus, heterogenization of noncoastal tourism products presents an opportunity to strengthen regional resilience to present and future challenges, hence the need to study, comparatively, the complementary preferences of tourists and residents of these regions in order to unveil their willingness to diversify their recreational experience, not only in coastal spaces, but also—and especially—in interior territories with low urban density. Consequently, this strategic option may represent a way of strengthening resilience and sustainability through diversification. In this context, a survey was conducted among 400 beach tourists and 400 residents of a case study—namely, three municipalities of the Algarve region in southern Portugal—in order to analyze their degree of preference for activities besides the sun and beach, such as nature-based and cultural tourism activities, and to probe the enhancement potential of each tourism and recreational activity through the various landscape units considered by experts, stakeholders, and tour operators. The respective degree of preference and enhancement potential were indexed to the area of each landscape unit. Subsequently, respecting the existing recreational structure and constraints, a suitability map for territory enhancement and the implementation of smart tourism practices for each tourism activity and landscape unit is presented. Results show a significant preference for noncoastal outdoor recreational activities. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable tourism; smart tourism; mobile applications; nature recreation sustainable tourism; smart tourism; mobile applications; nature recreation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Samora-Arvela, A.; Ferreira, J.; Vaz, E.; Panagopoulos, T. Modeling Nature-Based and Cultural Recreation Preferences in Mediterranean Regions as Opportunities for Smart Tourism and Diversification. Sustainability 2020, 12, 433. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010433

AMA Style

Samora-Arvela A, Ferreira J, Vaz E, Panagopoulos T. Modeling Nature-Based and Cultural Recreation Preferences in Mediterranean Regions as Opportunities for Smart Tourism and Diversification. Sustainability. 2020; 12(1):433. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010433

Chicago/Turabian Style

Samora-Arvela, André; Ferreira, Jorge; Vaz, Eric; Panagopoulos, Thomas. 2020. "Modeling Nature-Based and Cultural Recreation Preferences in Mediterranean Regions as Opportunities for Smart Tourism and Diversification" Sustainability 12, no. 1: 433. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010433

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