The Plano Estrategico Nacional do Turismo de Portugal de 2007 (PENT) (Resolution of the Council of Ministers 61/2007, adopted on february 13, 2007) is a document approved before the present economic crisis, which has provoked substantial reductions in public expenditure in Portugal. It is a document that illustrates a vision of the role of tourism in a small European economy that configures a tourist market that can be considered as an alternative to the Spanish one.
In 2004 tourism in Portugal represented 11% of GDP, with a descending trend in world market share, a relevant dependence on four client countries, and three main regions (Algarve, Lisbon and Madeira) touched by seasonal oscillation of demand and limitations in air links.
The Plan defines three kinds of markets:
– Strategic markets (Portugal, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany and France)
– Markets ripe for consolidation
– Markets for diversification, including China
The plan also defines 10 strategic tourist products:
– Sun and sea
– Cultural and landscape touring
– City Break
– Convention tourism
– Nature tourism
– Nautical tourism
– Health and wellness
– Integrated resorts and residential tourism
– Food and wine
Priorities are defined for each region of the country. The strategic actions include 6 new tourist nodes to diversify the offer:
– Douro: Porto wine and food, wineries, heritage, local culture and a combined offer with urban tourism in Porto.
– Serra da Estrela: snow, natural park, rural hamlets, food and local culture
– West: castles, churches and monasteries; golf, food and wine; beaches and a combined offer with urban tourism in Lisbon
– Alqueva reservoir: new lake, food and wine, Evora and historical hamlets
– Alentejo coast: climate, unexploited beaches, natural parks and areas, combined offer with urban tourism in Lisbon
– Porto Santo (Madeira): climate, beaches, natural heritage, golf and a combined offer with tourism in Madeira.
The document specifies that PENT implies parallel measures to ensure coherence with regional level spatial planning. From a territorial viewpoint, the actions with the highest potential impact are those of Alqueva (which has implied in recent years the approval of many development plans for tourism housing with thousands of beds) and of Porto Santo; the effect of the current crisis on these projects is relevant.