Cultural tourism during the covid-19 pandemic in Portugal

Greg Richards, C Fernandes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic represented a significant break with previous patterns of cultural consumption, effectively halting the growth of “mass cultural tourism” driven by cheap flights and collaborative economy accommodation. Surveys conducted by the ATLAS Cultural Tourism Group in Portugal were used to develop a detailed picture of cultural tourism consumption during the pandemic. In 2020 and early 2021 surveys were conducted at different locations in the country, generating over 500 responses. The research shows that COVID-19 had significant impacts on the profile and activities of cultural tourists in Portugal, with much more domestic tourism at most sites, and fewer visitors staying away from home. Levels of satisfaction and intention to return remained high, as did perceived authenticity. There was a significant drop in touring holidays, with visitors more likely to stay in a single location. Those tourists visiting cultural attractions during the pandemic had a positive experience, despite the challenging conditions. Levels of satisfaction increased compared with previous surveys in Portugal in 2004, but there were also fluctuations in levels of satisfaction during the pandemic period, correlated with levels of COVID-19 infections. Some indications of emerging alternative forms of cultural tourism include an increased proclivity for rural locations and inland areas, away from destinations usually associated with mass (cultural) tourism. The article concludes by considering a number of implications for the development of cultural tourism in Portugal and other destinations in the postpandemic era.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-231
Number of pages13
JournalTourism Culture & Communication
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Authenticity
  • COVID-19
  • Cultural experiences
  • Cultural tourism
  • Tourist profiles


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