The importance of eco-labels certifications and ICT in the promotion of sustainable tourism

case study of a rural tourism unit

  • Lúcia Pato Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Agrarian School, CERNAS-IPV Research Centre, Viseu, Portugal
Keywords: rural tourism, sustainability, ICT, customer orientation


Introduction: In an era of increasing environmental problems, the sustainable conduct of tourism enterprises, particularly in rural tourism, is now of central importance. A good part of the market tends to look for an environmentally friendly and socially responsible enterprise. Hence, information and communication technologies (ICT) are fundamental for the transmission of these principles. 

Indeed, not only promoters but also e-commerce companies in the field of travel are aware of this reality and need, trying to skillfully communicate their respective sustainable tourism offer. 

A notable example that highlights the importance of environmental and social sustainability and the value of using information and communication technologies (ICT) is located in the Viseu Dão-Lafões Region (RVDL), more precisely in one of the most interior communities of the region. 

Objetives: Taking as a unit of analysis a rural tourism enterprise in VDLR, the purpose of this study is to explore the importance of sustainability strategies and ICT for delivery and promotion of the touristic product. 

Methods: In order to allow a deeper analysis, a case study methodology is used. In addition to a semi-structured interview with the entrepreneur of the unit, it was observed and analyzed the web page of the unit and other electronic documents. 

Results: In the genesis and development of this enterprise there was always a concern with the environment and with the community. Hence, the enterprise is in a process of certification by Biosphere and Green Key. Whether it is in the development and updating of the web page, social networks, response to evaluations on TripAdvisor / Booking and updating channels of disclosure when reservations are made, the promotion / communication of the most sustainable tourism offer through ICT, occupies the majority of the time that the promoter dedicates to the enterprise. 

Conclusions: The existence of an environmental conduct by the rural tourism enterprise, and the communication of this conduct, is assumed as a fundamental ingredient for the success of the tourist activity of the enterprise. Moreover, it is fundamental for the attraction of a new tourist more concerned with environmental issues. 

Author Biography

Lúcia Pato, Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Agrarian School, CERNAS-IPV Research Centre, Viseu, Portugal

Maria Lúcia de Jesus Pato é doutorada em turismo pela Universidade de Aveiro desde 2012 e possui mestrado em Gestão do Desenvolvimento Rural (2004) pela Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro. Desde 2001 desenvolve as suas atividades profissionais no Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, onde começou por lecionar disciplinas da área científica de economia e sociologia rural. Presentemente na categoria de professor adjunta leciona várias disciplinas na área da gestão, do marketing, do empreendedorismo e do turismo.

É membro colaborador da Unidade de Investigação GOVCOOP da Universidade de Aveiro. Recentemente participou no projeto de investigação “The overall rural tourism experience (ORTE) and sustainable local community development” promovido pela UA e financiado pela FCT.

Tem participado em vários congressos nacionais e internacionais na área do turismo (e afins) e publicado vários artigos também nestas áreas. Os seus interesses incluem a área do desenvolvimento rural e sociologia rural, do turismo, do marketing e do empreendedorismo.


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Engineering, Technology, Management and Tourism