Sports Tourism and High-Performance Centres in the Portugal Central Region

Rui Augusto Costa, Inês Moleiro, Maria Fernanda Brasete


Tourism and sports are both the fastest and largest growing sectors, and sports tourism has a positive impact on the development of tourism. Considering the overall potential of sports tourism, this research aims to understand the importance of High-Performance Centres as a support for the development and growth of sports tourism in destinations. A qualitative methodology was developed, structured in the following stages: (i) a characterisation of the High-Performance Sports Centres, (ii) a swot analysis and a tows analysis of this type of infrastructure, followed by (iii) six interviews carried out with the managers of seven High-Performance Centres of the Central Region of Portugal. It is possible to see that tourism has a positive role in the Central Region in terms of employment and in improving the living conditions of the locals, contributing to increased employment in the region which, consequently, leads to an increase in per capita income and an improvement in the quality of life of the population. The main conclusions have shown that sports tourism can be a differentiating product that meets the new needs of the visitor that no longer wants only passive holidays, but demands active ones, seeking to be emerged in differentiated experiences during a trip. In this way, it is crucial that tourism stakeholders be aware of the new visitor’s profile, adapting its services to meet the tourist needs.

Keywords: tourism, High-Performance-Centres, tourism destinations, Central Region of Portugal

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