The T-rELMA project is exploring the phenomenon of entrepreneurial lifestyle migration, in rural areas of the Algarve region in southern Portugal. The overall aim of the research is to investigate to what extent, and in which ways, tourism-related entrepreneurial lifestyle migration has the potential to contribute to the sustainable development of both tourism and rural areas.
Lifestyle migrants are generally seen as relatively privileged and affluent individuals whose migration is motivated by the quest for a particular lifestyle and a better quality of life, typically in amenity-rich areas such as the Algarvian coastal belt. They have therefore mostly been been studied from the perspective of consumption-based mobilities. However, there is growing evidence that some people are combining their own lifestyle interests and values with entrepreneurial activities, such as B&Bs and other small businesses linked to tourism, in rural areas. Many of these areas have been heavily affected, socially and economically, by dwindling and ageing populations as well as a sharp decline in traditional activities and gradual abandonment of land and property. Migrant-entrepreneurs therefore have the potential to contribute towards the regeneration of these areas in multiple ways.
What will the project study?
The T-rELMA project will firstly try to identify the extent to which lifestyle migrants in the Algarve are taking up entrepreneurial activities that contribute to the production of tourism in rural spaces. Secondly, the project will consider the impact of tourism-related entrepreneurial lifestyle migration in socio-economic and environmental terms.
We envisage the following outcomes from the project: (1) for migrants involved in tourism-related activities in rural areas, it will provide a basis for support in terms of developing networking activities as well as a better understanding of the challenges faced and the support measures available; (2) for policy makes, the findings might also will provide some kind of support for emerging policy agendas in rural areas; (3) we hope to build a framework for comparative research in other rural areas in Portugal and elsewhere. T-rELMA is an 18 month project with a multinational team of researchers. It is based at the University of the Algarve /CiTUR Algarve (Centre for Tourism Research, Development and Innovation) and funded by the FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology).
Kate Torkington, Principal Researcher (PR)
Filipa Perdigão Ribeiro, Co-Principal Researcher (Co-PR)