Guimarães is a world heritage site (UNESCO) since December 2001, and is hosting the European Capital of Culture (ECOC) in 2012. This paper examines the profile, destination image and motivations of tourists’ visiting Guimarães before the cultural event. Based on survey responses from 276 tourists, this study found that tourists arrived to Guimarães came from the two most important cities in the northern part of Portugal (Porto and Braga). They are relatively young and well educated compared with the average tourists that visited Portugal. The results suggest that many tourists are aware of the city status as a world heritage site encompassing a historic centre, monuments, and architectural buildings. Further, these perceptions shape the image of Guimarães, as the factor analysis indicates that “historical background and functionality” is the most reliable and valid factor behind the choice of visiting the city. Finally, the main tourists’ motivation to choose Guimarães as theirs destination is educational, rather than recreational as they want to live a learning experience.
J. Freitas Santos
Paula Cristina Remoaldo
J. Cadima Ribeiro
Keywords: Tourism motivations; tourists’ perceptions; tourist destination image; cultural tourism; Guimarães - Portugal.
[Resumo de comunicação apresentada no 32nd International Geographical Congress, organizado pela International Geographical Union (I.G.U.), pela German Geographical Society e pela Universidade de Colónia, que decorreu na Universidade de Colónia, Alemanha, de
26 a 30 de Agosto de 2012]