38th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Europe Quo Vadis? - Regional Questions at the Turn of the Century", 28 August - 1 September 1998, Vienna, Austria
The impacts of three decades of intensive growth in tourism place enormous stress on natural assets of industry. The increasing tourism fatigue, the environmental degradation, noise, congestion at airports and the negative socio-economic impacts slow down the rate of growth and brought a new concern with the environment and with it limits to growth. In spite of concerns about the environmental destruction will limit the further growth of tourism this perspective should mean the most sustainable pattern of development, if the industry is to survive over the long term. This paper is an attempt to estimate and analyse the Tourist carrying capacity in Algarve. 'The methodology was supported in a model that evaluated simultaneously the Tourist population and the index of consumption. The main indicators used were: Consumption index of transports, seasonally index, occupancy and activity taxes and capacity of infrastructures. These indicators when related with some territorial indexes should indicate the economic infrastructures, other services and resources constraints to a maximum level of tourism. Some of the indicators used have been suggested by the Tourism World Organisation and by territorial plans at the region level. The conclusion present some reflections about the limited capacity of some resources and the possible strategies available to a sustainable development of the sector.