Territory and Sustainable Tourism Development: a Space-Time Analysis on European Regions


  • João Romão Centre for Advanced Studies in Management and Economics (CEFAGE - UAlg), University of Algarve http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6024-2624
  • João Guerreiro Research Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics (CIEO), University of Algarve
  • Paulo M. M. Rodrigues Bank of Portugal and Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal)




In the long run, tourism competitiveness depends on the sustainable use of territorial assets: the differentiation of destinations depends on the integration of cultural and natural resources into the tourism supply, but also on their preservation over time. The link between competitiveness and sustainability is the staring point for our analysis of the relationships between regional tourism competitiveness, the dynamics of tourism demand and investment and the existence of natural resources and cultural assets in European regions, by using advanced spatial econometric techniques. Despite the close relationship between tourism activities and the characteristics of the territory, the application of methods of spatial analysis methods in tourism studies is still scarce and the results of this work clearly show their potential for this field of research. Among the main findings of this paper, it was observed that natural resources do not have the expected positive impacts on regional tourism competitiveness and that European regions with more abundant natural resources are often developing unsustainable forms of mass tourism, with low value added and scarce benefits for the host communities. The existence of spatial correlation effects suggests that positive spillovers arising from tourism dynamics in neighbourhood regions prevail over potential negative effects related to the competition between destinations. Policy and managerial implications of these results are discussed and further research questions are suggested.

Author Biographies

João Romão, Centre for Advanced Studies in Management and Economics (CEFAGE - UAlg), University of Algarve

Researcher at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Management and Economics (University of Algarve, Portugal) and guest lecturer at the Graduate School of Economics and Business Administration of Hokkaido University (Japan), with research interests and consultancy experience in tourism, urban planning, regional development and spatial econometrics. João holds a PhD in Tourism (University of Algarve) and a MSc. in Economics (University of Lisbon). He is a founding member of the Regional Science Academy (since 2015) and a co-chair of the cluster on Tourism, Leisure and Recreation of NECTAR (since 2016).

João Guerreiro, Research Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics (CIEO), University of Algarve

Full Professor at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Algarve and Scientific Adviser of CRIA (Division of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer of University of Algarve). João Guerreiro was the President of the Regional Authority of Algarve (1996-2003), Pro-Rector of the University of Algarve (2004) with the areas of Technology Transfer and Innovation, and Rector of the University of Algarve (2006-2013). He holds a Bachelor degree in Geography and a PhD in Economic Sciences (Rural Economy), with research interest in regional economy, economics of innovation and local development. 

Paulo M. M. Rodrigues, Bank of Portugal and Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal)

Senior Research Economist at the Economics and Research Department of the Bank of Portugal and Professor of Econometrics at Nova School of Business and Economics of Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Lisbon, Portugal). His research interests include time-series econometrics, financial econometrics, empirical finance and macroeconomics, and tourism economics. He is an editorial board member and has published a number of peer-reviewed articles in several internationally renowned scientific journals.


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How to Cite

Romão, J., Guerreiro, J. and Rodrigues, P. M. M. (2017) “Territory and Sustainable Tourism Development: a Space-Time Analysis on European Regions”, REGION, 4(3), pp. 1–17. doi: 10.18335/region.v4i3.142.




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