Surf

Surf has become a worldwide multibillion dollar industry that includes the sale of surf-branded clothing for surfers and non-surfers, the manufacture of surfboards and accessories, and surf-related travel costs (Buckley, 2002).

Surf tourism is a rapidly expanding market segment, concern for the vulnerability and adaptation of surfing areas in the wake of climate change (Steven Andrew Martin, 2012).

Surf tourism is a multibillion dollar industry expected to continue expanding, destinations with strong surfing attributes, may want to appeal to travelers more engaged in their surf as they are in constant quest for the perfect wave and surfing spot (Barbieri, 2016).

According to a recently done survey in relation to water sports in the UK, it was found that about two percent of the British population is or has been involved in the practice of Surf, Bodyboard or SUP (Stand Up Paddle) during the year 2015. This corresponds more or less to almost one million practitioners. When compared to the previous year, the popularity of these sports also increased 0.6%. And the survey also shows that, in general terms, there was an increase in water activities in the last four years (with each person practiced between 8 to 10 times per year) (Arkenford, 2016).

Surf has become a worldwide multibillion dollar industry that includes the sale of surf-branded clothing for surfers and non-surfers, the manufacture of surfboards and accessories, and surf-related travel costs (Buckley, 2002).

Surf tourism is a rapidly expanding market segment, concern for the vulnerability and adaptation of surfing areas in the wake of climate change (Steven Andrew Martin, 2012).

Surf tourism is a multibillion dollar industry expected to continue expanding, destinations with strong surfing attributes, may want to appeal to travelers more engaged in their surf as they are in constant quest for the perfect wave and surfing spot (Barbieri, 2016).

According to a recently done survey in relation to water sports in the UK, it was found that about two percent of the British population is or has been involved in the practice of Surf, Bodyboard or SUP (Stand Up Paddle) during the year 2015. This corresponds more or less to almost one million practitioners. When compared to the previous year, the popularity of these sports also increased 0.6%. And the survey also shows that, in general terms, there was an increase in water activities in the last four years (with each person practiced between 8 to 10 times per year) (Arkenford, 2016).

Surf in Portugal

Portugal has been, along with a small group of countries, one of the world’s surf capitals, this is generating economic gains and allows to associate Portugal with surf. Portugal was the most digital searched country in the world on the subject of surfing between June 2013 and June 2014 (Consulting, 2014).  In 2014, Portugal received a total of five events of the World Surf League (WSL) in Peniche, Cascais, Azores and Ericeira.

Peniche hosts since 2009 the World Surf League, this is an important event for the city in relation to the mission and goals of the brand “Peniche – Capital Wave”, adding to that, since 2011 Ericeira is the first and the only place in Europe to be considered a World Surfing Reserves (Waves, 2011).

Ericeira shows that the wave’s sports have created one economic asset, mainly by the amount spent sleeping, meals and other experiences. The values ​​found express considerable economic potential of the wave sports in the region and for this reason, either public entities or local traders, should note the importance of these activities (Ivo Gonçalves, 2013).

Close to Ericeira we have Nazareth, which is known as one of the places with the biggest waves in the world, with the record of the biggest wave ever surfed, by Garret Macnamara.

In 2015 Portugal won important awards, Algarve is the Europe’s Leading Beach Destination of 2015; Hotel Quinta do Lago is the Europe’s Leading Beach Resort in 2015 and Tourism of Portugal is the Europe’s Leading Tourist Board in  2015 (Awards, 2015). Build-up to that, the city of Oporto was considered the third city in the world as a top destination on the rise (Tripadvisor, 2015).

Australia developed and sustained a strong brand, a country with outdoors culture and a history of adventure and vigorous sports activities, Australians have centred their brand plan on becoming world class swimmers, divers, water polo players, and surfers. Their location assets have made Australia a premier tourist destination for people looking to engage in these sports (Irving Rein, 2007).

Portugal at a smaller scale can look to the Ocean, like Australia did, and implement a strategy for the country brand with the emphasis on the Ocean. The recent facts, the awards and the inheritance of Portugal with the Ocean, show a possible path to implement a similar strategy as Australia.

Finland implementing a branding plan to become a major player in the surfing world would not only require too many resources, but a major restructuring of its tradition (Irving Rein, 2007).

From the north to the south of Portugal, Azores and Madeira, Portugal has a wide range of waves to offer, from those suitable for beginners to the more radical ones which are perfect for other levels (António Leal, 2012).

Adolfo Mesquita Nunes (former Secretary of State for Tourism) pointed out – “More important than the event (world surf league) is to tell the history of Portugal”.

Recently Garret joined the Tourism of Portugal to launch the project “McNamara Surf Trip” through which the surfer will go all over the country with the aim of producing videos to promote Portugal abroad, also EDP (Portugal Energy Company) launches the ‘Endless Sea’ project, which the purpose is to discover big waves, unknown and unexplored in Portugal. In addition to that, TAP (Portuguese airline) made videos from different regions of Portugal (TAP – Portugal Litoral Surf Guide), with the purpose to promote surfing in Portugal, the involvement of TAP in the preparation of this video has been yet another contributing to the promotion of both the country and of surfing among the company’s passengers, with the video being shown on in-flight entertainment systems and on social media. More than 4,000 passengers viewed the video in 2015.

In 2014, the three senior competitions in Portugal had a total return of media € 46 million. Only in the event in Peniche, the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal, television broadcasts reached a global audience of 299.5 million people, and the online broadcast recorded more than 19 million views. According to Adolfo Mesquita Nunes – “since 2012, the Tourism of Portugal has invested in the surf as a privileged communication partnership, so that Portugal is now internationally recognized as the best surfing destination in Europe. More than a sport, Surf represents a lifestyle and relationship with the sea and with nature. In addition to the direct contribution to the surf flows and tourism revenues this product is relevant in the ability to relate Portugal as a young tourist destination, creative, modern, lively, respectful of nature. More than supporting events, which should be supported by local and regional actors, we have used surfing to enable Portugal brand, with a strong presence in social media and digital marketing. The surf tourism is a great example of the Ocean economy”.

According to Francisco Spinola, responsible for the organization of the event in Peniche -“We have a unique competitive advantage: Our waves. This is what makes the investment makes sense. In Europe, we are the country with the best consistency of waves, with the best conditions to host this kind of event.”

According to Mark Noonan, Chief Commercial Officer of global WSL – “The size of the Surf industry in the US represented a turnover € 5.6 billion and is expected to reach € 11.6 billion in 2017”.

According to the National Strategic Plan for Tourism (Portugal) published in 2006, the Nautica tourism is considered one of the 10 strategic tourism products to develop in coming years in Portugal, the main motivation is, enjoy a trip with active contact with the water, the main activities are sailing, windsurfing, surf, diving, rowing.

In the PENT (2006) are mentioned as major trends for the development of Nautical Tourism product, the growing of media coverage of water sports, the increasing number of participants and supporters of this type of events, the increasing number of federated athletes and the image that is passed by those who practice this kind of sports, coincide with the illustration of a high-level life style and healthy.

The Secretary of State for Sport, Alexandre Mestre, argues that it is through the sea Portugal should be differentiated from other countries. Ernani Lopes (2009), report coordinator Hipercluster Sea, states that the sea is where if you can find important opportunities to create value.

The development of surfing and the capture of such events for Portugal, should take into account many important factors for the welfare of the places and their populations, bearing in mind the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. Given these facts and evidences, surf can probably be part of place branding strategy, helping to create a sustainable, unique and favorable position in the country brand of Portugal.

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