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Regional identity for the leisure of travellers: early tourism infrastructure in the Algarve (Portugal), 1940–1965

Agarez, R; (2013) Regional identity for the leisure of travellers: early tourism infrastructure in the Algarve (Portugal), 1940–1965. The Journal of Architecture , 18 (5) 721 - 743. 10.1080/13602365.2013.838982. Green open access


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The Algarve, the quasi-Mediterranean province of Portugal, a geographically and culturally differentiated region, was the first in the country to experience the consequences of, and to profit from, the consolidation of the Welfare State model in northern Europe: from the 1960s on, being both affordable and somewhat exotic, it became an important magnet for middle-class families in pursuit of the increasingly popular sun-and-sea holiday formula. Tentatively, the Portuguese regime, aided by private entrepreneurs, explored ways of reconciling the economic and political drive behind the process with its own deep-rooted strategy of preserving regional diversity as a valuable quality. The Algarve's regional built identity, translated into modern mass-tourism infrastructure, was instrumental in the endeavour of marketing the country for foreign consumers as simultaneously up-to-date and traditional. Twenty years before, however, the same regional identity was construed, through tourism facilities arising from official initiatives, to contribute to the inward-focused project of nationalism. This essay uses the case of the Algarve and three specific hospitality projects realised over a two-decade interval (one 1930s' state roadside inn and two 1950s' sun-and-sea hotels), to discuss how leisure architecture and regional built identity were combined and manipulated to serve markedly different purposes within the same, southern European, dictatorial regime.

Type: Article
Title: Regional identity for the leisure of travellers: early tourism infrastructure in the Algarve (Portugal), 1940–1965
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13602365.2013.838982
Additional information: © 2013 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted. Permission is granted subject to the terms of the License under which the work was published. Please check the License conditions for the work which you wish to reuse. Full and appropriate attribution must be given. This permission does not cover any third party copyrighted material which may appear in the work requested.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1457057
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