In this paper, the aim is to discuss and analyze seasonality of demand within the rural tourist market of North Portugal and corresponding destination marketing implications.
The data (n=2280) were collected through a large‐scale survey in the context of a study of the rural tourist market in North Portugal, from 1998 to 1999.
Results reveal statistically significant differences between those coming in the high versus low season, concerning tourist profile, travel behavior, motivations and perceptions of the destination.
Research limitations/ implications
The study results may only be valid for the specific rural region studied, which would make replication studies in other rural destinations desirable to take more generalizable conclusions.
Understanding seasonal market differences and confronting them with the destination's resources may contribute to the development of more attractive products and correspondingly to the destination's ability to attract and satisfy different types of tourists in different seasons of the year. The capacity to thereby improve the destination experience in the eyes of its tourists and to also manage demand, avoiding excessive crowding in the high season and eventually sub‐optimal use of resources in the low, may be an important step for maintaining a sustainable tourism business in rural areas.
The paper aims at contributing to the discussion of how to cope with seasonality of tourist demand, considering particularly the specificity of rural destinations and the global aim of sustainable destination development.
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