TU-SÉNIOR 55+ - Elderly Tourism and Wellbeing in the Azores: Creation of a Cultural Program

 

PROJECT TITLE

TU-SÉNIOR 55+ - Elderly Tourism and Wellbeing in the Azores: Creation of a Cultural Program

PROJECT CODE

AÇORES-01-0145- FEDER-000044

MAIN GOAL

Is it this project´s goals to accomplish the following:

  1. To understand the motivations, expectations, desires, and needs of the elderly from different regions (the Azores islands, the Portuguese mainland and the diaspora communities, such as the US and Canada), specifically on the consumption of a cultural and health promoting program.
  2. To build an elderly tourism program to fit a time period of around 5 days to a week, asserting on self-identified senior citizens’ motivations in visiting the Azores, respecting all of their dietary, physical, and overall functional restrictions. It is also a goal of this program to provide its public with experiences of thermalism (the use of thermal waters for the promotion of a person’s wellbeing), while also being educated on the Azores’ natural and cultural patrimony and being exposed to an active wellbeing and aging.
  3. To promote the Azores as a destination of excellence for senior citizens, through the studies’ results (1 & 2) among the elderly and tourism agents.

BENEFITING ENTITY: Fundação Gaspar Frutuoso, FP.

ELIGIBLE TOTAL COST: € 96 466,80

EUROPEAN UNION FINANCIAL SUPPORT: € 81 996,78

DESCRIPTION

In an ever-growing era of world economies’ globalization, tourism has become a key characteristic of Western modernity and global spatial mobility. We are undoubtedly active heirs of a tradition in which travelling has become an unavoidable factor in the making of a nationality, in the affirmation of a region’s identity and, perhaps, even in the very nature of what forms being an islander. For the longest of times, the Azorean region was a place that constituted both a passageway and a supply platform, being the trans-Atlantic strategically located pole that it is. Due to its nature, the Azores have an unspoken tradition of welcoming travelers from all corners of the world.

Over the years, there has been a multiplication of social categories that praise society’s demands and give expression to current markets’ international trends. On a global scale, senior tourism has been an increasingly financially-rewarding market. Its popularity is rising within the larger tourism industry, which sets an interesting pattern for research.

The increase in the demand for the Azores as a touristic destination along the elderly population requires an effective knowledge that allows an adequate offer of initiatives, actions, and programs.

By choosing to develop this tourism sector, we aim to share concerns such as the promotion of an active outlook on aging and intergenerational solidarity as research priorities and as an ethos to foster different initiatives that pertain to the development of products and services with the main focus of this target audience’s wellbeing.

In this sense, the present study ultimately aims to develop actions/initiatives program models that will last around 5 to 8 days. The latter’s content and focus will be on ludic-expressive activities, with the greatest adaptability for the promotion of health and well-being to the type of Senior public in its different values, limitations and needs, also reverting in favor to the region with possibilities of being replicated on a wider scale. There is an inherent and compelling need to equip every program to better serve this population segment’s needs, therefore making interdisciplinary action mandatory.

The project is formed by a multidisciplinary research team with highly qualified individuals both in the aging and tourism fields, as well as in economy, sociology, ecology and statistics that we believe are a major plus for the development of a project of such a dynamic nature. The main goal of the project is the design, structure planning, and development of a promotional program with initiatives that integrate artisan, gastronomic, cultural and environmental activities within an articulated and programmatic framework that meets both the health and wellness needs of the elderly. In methodological terms, the present study uses the multimethod and a multivariate analysis, proceeding in two stages or two complementary studies:

Study 1 focuses on conducting a questionnaire survey of a sample centralized in 4 different locations, selected according to their relevance to the archipelago: Lisbon, the East Coast of the United States and Toronto, Canada, in addition to S. Miguel, Terceira, and Faial. The present research is predominantly quantitative and involves the construction of a survey instrument with standardized factors and dimensions capable of evaluating the attitudes, aptitudes, motivations, expectations and requests of the senior tourism public over 55 years of age.

Study 2 will be developed among agents, promoters and privileged actors relevant in the tourism branch that hold relevant information both in terms of specialized knowledge and of perception of the state and trends of senior tourism in the sector as a whole. The main agents’ feedback will require a more qualitative methodology and shall be implemented through in-depth interviews, which will be dealt with based on a content analysis and the creation of comprehensive/interpretive categories.

RESULTS

  • Creation of a Cultural Program of Senior Tourism and Welfare to the Azores as a destination;
  • Design of a website and Facebook page Tu-senior + 55;
  • Organization of a Congress on Senior Tourism;
  • Attendance in regional, national and international scientific events in order to share the project’s scientific results;
  • National and international publications with the results of the two project studies;
  • Construction of e-book with the results of the Project;
  • Networking between local, national and international partners.

PHOTOS