55th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "World Renaissance: Changing roles for people and places", 25-28 August 2015, Lisbon, Portugal
Introduction: This paper analysis the spatial dynamics of the development of tourism industry in a leading tourism destination in Portugal. Previous studies focused on the spatial dynamics of the tourism industry had shown that, at the very begin, hotels and tourism facilities are located in the main city and surrounding areas along the coast. Then, the hinterland is incorporated into the dynamics of economic development to sustain the development of mass tourism. Method: Based on the Plantation Model proposed by Weaver (1993), we provide an illustrative description of the progressive spread of tourism facilities from Funchal to rural areas into the island rural areas in the North Coast. Despite all efforts to develop from scratch alternative market niches, rural areas face severe obstacles in developing the tourism industry. Rural areas are deprived of key tourism ?raw materials? such as complementary services, an entrepreneurial attitude on the rural houses owners´ part, strongly linkages between the emerging tourism sector and agriculture and an ?autonomous? image abroad. All this issues are well evident in Madeira and we show that intra-island imbalances in terms of the accommodation capacity and tourism receipts are still a pressing issue. Conclusions: The aim of this paper is to apply the Weaver´ Plantation Model to the Madeira Island case study in order to conceptualize and understand recent developments in the tourism sector and to provide recommendations to bridging the gap between the South Coast and the North Coast. Based on the evidence provided, we highlight the importance of investments in infrastructure and increased levels of accessibility, and we argue for a comprehensive analysis of tourism benefits from a rural area point of view.
regional development plantation model Tourism Madeira