The Panel, composed of a mix of international and local experts, researchers and practitioners, went to visit 3 different islands (Pico, Terceira and San Miguel), interviewed local stakeholders of the tourism sector, especially hotel owners visiting their premises in order to, at the end of the week, present publically some proposals about the tourism and hospitality strategy in the Azores.
This Panel was held together with the 2011 edition of the Summer Course and was a response to an invitation by the Observatory of Tourism of the Azores (OTA) and its partners :
- to enlarge the international base of experiences of OTA by sharing practices and knowledge on tourism development,
- to evaluate the trends in the hospitality industry of the Azores.
Therefore, the mandate for this peer-to-peer review was:
Hotel strategy: which course to propose to optimise the hotel offer on the island?
How to introduce more services into a tourist package, how the hotel industry on the islands could become more service oriented?
Air transport policy and strategy: how to reconcile public service and open competition?
Can stakeholders use common delivery (marketing) instruments?
The Panel team has interviewed local stakeholders of the tourism industry in 3 different islands (Pico, Terceira and San Miguel) in order to built some recommendations on the Tourism and Hospitality Strategy in the Azores and especially in the three visited islands.
At the end of the week, the Panel presented publically its impressions and some proposals to built an integrated tourism strategy as leverage for regional development.
The tourism strategy should reinforce the value chain between the tourism attractions, stakeholders and final markets to guarantee the competitiveness and sustainability of the destination.
A wide number of tourism attractions and products (tea, cultural routes, health and wellness resorts and spa, gastronomy, nautical activities, etc.) has been identified in the destination that requires an inter-dependent development because of their isolation, complementarities and relatively homogenous profile.
The tendency of the new products is to base their value on the services that they offer and in the visitor's experience: feel nature rather than see nature.
The average decrease of the occupancy rate of the hotels in the Azores is at the image of the Euopean Union bleak growth economy. But the crisis might be ahead. Therefore, Azores needs defining clearly its branding, give notoriety to it, and also positioning the brand in the international markets for promoting Azores.
Hotels need to develop their own brands, with distinctive character, but according to the global Azores brand.
There seems to be a lack of regular communication between the public sector and the private sector, especially on important issues that affect the tourism sector.
There is a need for a structure and a system to allow the sector to abide by public sector requirements and private sector needs so that it can flourish.
The Observatory of Tourism of the Azores – OTA - is in an ideal position to provide a platform and forum to bring the stakeholders together to debate issues of common interest and to reach consensus on the way forward. This crucial role would provide the bridge between the sectors.
See the profile of the experts
Read more information about the Summer Course held together with the Panel.
Read more information about the archipelago of the Azores
Visit the OTA website
Read the press about the Panel and the Summer Course