Sustainability and holidays plans in Covid times: an analysis of Portuguese residents' intentions


  • Fernanda Oliveira CiTUR/Politécnico de Leiria
  • Sofia Eurico CiTUR/Politécnico de Leiria
  • Sofia Lopes CiTUR/Politécnico de Leiria



COVID-19, sustainability, consumer behaviour, travel intentions


Abstract: This study focuses on micro-environmental factors (Casado-Aranda et al, 2021) related to changes in consumers' travel behaviours, arising from COVID-19. It seeks to understand if risk perception associated with COVID had an impact on travel intentions of residents in Portugal and if there are changes, regarding more sustainable choices, in 2021 summer holiday’s intentions. Data was collected through an online questionnaire between December 2020 and March 2021 (overlapping the first 3 months of the vaccination process, corresponding to 5% of the full vaccination of the Portuguese (Our World in Data, 2021) and reflects short-term effects (Miao et al, 2021) on the travel behaviours of residents in Portugal (n=610). Almost half of the participants (48,5%) responded positively to the probability of going on holidays in 2021. From these, the majority (64,2%) intended to travel only to domestic destinations, mostly justified by the willingness to help the country (54,5% of those who considered likely to go on holidays) and not as much as a risk perception associated to the pandemic (only referred by 26,8%). As for holiday’s consumption intentions, residents expressed concerns that may have a positive impact on the socio economical sustainability of the destinations. In fact, from those who considered likely to travel, 71,6% referred that they will prefer national products, 64,5% will value more than before certified touristic services and 57,4% intends to shop mostly in small traditional business. In terms of environmental sustainability, 59,5% will have an increased concern in reserving touristic services environmentally responsible. Results emphasize the need for reflection on the effective positioning of sustainability issues concerning the tourism sector’s future. COVID-19 has created an opportunity for tourism to review and relaunch itself, based on more responsible and sustainable approaches (Brouder, 2020; Casado-Aranda et al, 2021; Jones and Confort, 2020). It’s important to understand to what extent consumers are willing to assume more sustainable behaviours in their future travel options. These results ask for future research regarding the importance of understanding the difference between tourists’ stated intentions and effective actions when it comes to sustainable travel behaviour.



2022-05-11 — Updated on 2022-05-13