The article characterizes and evaluates the strategic role played by nautical tourism, in general, and by marinas, in particular, in terms of increasing Algarve's competitiveness, reducing tourism seasonality, and generating multiplier effects in connected industries. Central to the analysis is the notion that a marina is an economic unit that provides concentrated services (as opposed to producing a physical product), working as an "anchor" for the surrounding firms and, as such, naturally giving rise to a local cluster. The adequacy to transfer the cluster concept from manufacture to tourism is also discussed. The methodology chosen is an application of the Porter cluster model to the nautical tourism sector in the Algarve, where each component of the diamond model (factor conditions, demand conditions, related and supporting industries, firms' strategy, structure, and rivalry)-besides its two external factors (historical factors/chance and public policies)-is analyzed. The adopted Porter model is tested on each and every one of the above "diamond" dimensions based on statistical data, a literature review (which includes an international benchmarking analysis), and in primary data collected through a survey launched in 2014 to the totality of the Algarve companies in the sectors of nautical tourism and recreational boating, and interviews involving the Algarve marinas' Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). Recommendations to strengthen the aspects identified as more problematic are also included as well as future research guidelines. In particular, the issue of coopetition, identified as a major weakness, is discussed both theoretically and empirically.
- Maritime economy
- Nautical tourism