The infectious disease outbreak caused by the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) negatively impacted the tourism sector all around the world. This sector is one of the most important vehicles to implement a Sustainable Development and this pandemic crisis is an opportunity to rethink and restructure tourism in a more sustainable way. The key to the sustainability concept operationalization is in Tourism Stakeholders hence the importance to explore their perception and attitudes. This study focuses on analyzing the impacts of COVID-19 on the three dimensions of Sustainable Tourism (economic, social and environmental) in Azores Autonomous Regions, one of the most sustainable tourism destinations in the world, from the perspective of two stakeholders: the residents and the tourism companies. In order to assess and answer to the work objectives, a qualitative study was developed through semi structured interviews and the sample was composed by 17 residents from the nine islands and 13 companies based in Azores. The results show that financial sustainability of the tourism sector was affected in the region for all the parts involved, as it is possible to see in things such as the financial situation of residents who work on the tourism sector, that got worse with the pandemic, and the fact that companies stopped hiring, differently from what was planned before the pandemic. The results also show that social sustainability was damaged mainly because of the relationships between residents and tourists. Regarding companies, results show there the tourists that these companies are receiving during the pandemic are now different, being mainly from Portugal Mainland and from Azores region, and therefore not as worried about sustainability issues like international tourists. In the environmental dimension, it was possible to conclude that the pandemic had a positive effect on the resident’s perspective once they noticed a visible growth of footpath vegetation. Furthermore, residents said that problems related to pollution are often linked to residents themselves and not to tourists. In the company’s case, it was proved that COVID-19 brought some constraints once they started to produce a lot of waste linked to the pandemic, such as masks and disinfectants. All the results are important to contribute to future investigation about the impacts of COVID-19 in tourism sustainability, once this pandemic still exists and there is a need to understand stakeholders perspectives for public entities, as these are crucial to plan and define suitable strategies in order to guide tourism in an increasingly sustainable direction.
|Date of Award||17 Dec 2021|
- Universidade Católica Portuguesa
|Supervisor||Jorge Julião (Supervisor) & Marcelo Gaspar (Co-Supervisor)|
- Sustainable tourism
- Tourism companies