Inderscience Publishers

The importance of religious tourism segmentation for tourism destination management: the case of the island of S. Miguel, Azores

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The number of tourists visiting tourism destinations during religious festivities have been steadily increasing over the years. They are very important for destinations managers' officers (DMOs) in many places developing aggressive marketing and management strategies targeting religious festivities. Therefore, for destination management purposes it is important to identify the different characteristics of the different types of tourists that attend these festivities and the appropriate marketing strategies used to attract them more efficiently. This paper analyses the segmentation of tourists that attend the Ecce Homo religious festivities (EHF) in the island of S. Miguel, Azores. The island of S. Miguel is one of the nine islands of the Azores, an emergent tourism destination in Portugal. The research findings have some policy implications, particularly those related to the tourists' loyalty, the maximisation of tourism spending in the destination, the decrease in seasonality and the implementation of the right marketing strategies.

Keywords: tourist segmentation, tourists, tourism destinations, destination management, destination marketing, San Miguel, Azores, Ecce Homo religious festivities, EHF, sustainable development, sustainability, religious tourism, tourist loyalty, tourist spending, seasonality

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