This DOUROTUR project aims to bridge the gap between the potential of the NUT III Douro and its current levels of sustainable development, increasing the importance, impact and embeddedness of tourism in the local communities. To this end, the Douro must offer services capable of differentiating itself from other similar destinations and promoting competitive advantages and creative cultural tourist products by boosting the synergies existing between the various distinctive components of the local “terroir” (in the widest sense of the term) ─ such as landscape, material and immaterial heritage, wine and other quality local products ─ thereby better meeting the needs and expectations of tourists who are increasingly demanding, well-informed and have a variety of alternative destinations from which to choose. Strengthened by a marked technological component, Dourotur project aims to promote greater and more sustainable convergence between the supply and demand sides of the market; to do so, it has adopted a methodology that transcends the more traditional approach of systematic data collection. The project, based upon a systemic, anthropological and holistic view of the relationship between tourism and development in the Douro, is structured around a number of key questions:
- What tourist products and services does the Douro currently offer?
- What does “destination Douro” communicate to tourists?
- What does “destination Douro” communicate to local tourist operators?
- What type of interaction currently exists between visitors and the local community?
- To what degree are new technologies used by Douro tourist operators/agents?
- What is the current and potential state of demand for the Douro as a tourist destination?
Furthermore, this project aims to assist in the renewal and diversification of the Douro’s tourist offer and to contribute to finding solutions to tourism development in the territory. This will be achieved not only by adopting a “creative tourism” approach, but also by making concrete proposals for widening the range of the goods and services supplied, promoting more and better coordination of their delivery, and improving how their value and benefits are communicated to potential first-time and returning visitors through a wider use of digital marketing and other strategies of communication with tourist markets.
It should be stressed that the project will study the use of both technologically-based innovation (employing new communications technologies) and non-technology-based innovation (driven by the updating, improving and adapting of management skills and organisational forms) considered most appropriate to the territorial context and to the profile of its current and potential visitors, with a view to assessing their contribution to faster and better quality progress in the development of tourism in the Douro.