51st Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "New Challenges for European Regions and Urban Areas in a Globalised World", 30 August - 3 September 2011, Barcelona, Spain
In recent years peripheral regions, such as Guimarães, in the Northwest of Portugal, has been experiencing the expansion of its tourism industry. This occurred, may be, as part of the wish felt by a large number of tourists of reaching "unspoilt" landscapes and more "authentical" experiences (Nepal, 2008). After the nomination by U.N.E.S.C.O., in 2001, of its historical centre as world heritage, the city of Guimarães is now in the process of hosting the 2012 European Capital of Culture. These recent facts helped to reinforce its external visibility and cultural significance and put it in the trail to become a more consolidated cultural tourism destination. This paper aims presenting a few results of a survey that envisaged capturing the Guimarães residents' perceptions of tourism effects and attitudes regarding the tourists. The survey was implemented between January and March 2010 to a convenience sample of 540 inhabitants of the municipality of Guimarães. The results show that the Guimarães` residents keep a strong positive perception of the tourism benefits. The more or less favourable perception of tourism impacts the survey respondents kept are strongly correlated with some demographic features, such as age, gender and level of education. As expected, we got a more positive perception among the younger cohorts of age and the ones endowed with a higher level of education.