To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Local tourist accommodation and institutional strengthening in the interior of the Algarve, Portugal: The role of legislation and technology

Virgílio Machado (Universidade do Algarve, Portimão, Portugal)
Joaquim Contreiras (Universidade do Algarve, Portimão, Portugal)
Ana Patrícia Duarte (BRU-IUL, ISCTE-Instituto Universitario de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 10 December 2019

Issue publication date: 16 June 2020




This study aims to understand how legislation and technology can enhance socio-economic development in low-density population territories, focusing specifically on the dynamics of local tourist accommodation over the past decade.


A case study was conducted for five municipalities in one of the most significant tourism regions of Portugal – the Algarve – based on a systematic investigation of relevant laws, regulations and electronic platforms. Official statistics were compiled and analyzed for the five territories’ registered local accommodation services, population, overnight stays and additional local services.


The results reveal that public entities’ regulations favor micro-entrepreneurship initiatives in local accommodation and that digital tools supported by online platforms have quite visible effects on low-density territories. The findings also reveal that the local tourist accommodation supply has experienced an especially dynamic, sustained growth over the past decade. This expansion has been accompanied by an increased supply of other services, suggesting that accommodation can positively influence the existing and/or future socio-economic development of low-density territories.

Research limitations/implications

Further studies focusing on other areas with low-density populations are needed to determine more clearly how local accommodation influences socio-economic development.

Practical implications

Public regulations supported by digital platforms that favor micro-entrepreneurship initiatives in local accommodation can strengthen local development.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to analyze how local tourist accommodation can foster socio-economic development in low-density territories.



The authors are highly grateful to the editor and the reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions for how to improve the manuscript. They are also grateful to Isabel Santos (University of Algarve) for making the map available.

This study was supported by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal, in the framework of a contract-program foreseen in DL 57/2016, changed by DL57/2017, and under UID/GES/00315/2019.


Machado, V., Contreiras, J. and Duarte, A.P. (2020), "Local tourist accommodation and institutional strengthening in the interior of the Algarve, Portugal: The role of legislation and technology", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 255-272.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles