Interview with Aaron Gjellstad, By Andrew Coutts

Has Luxury Frontiers identified specific geographies in Portugal to consider implementing your concept?

Aaron Gjellstad  | Director of Operations  LUXURY FRONTIERS

Aaron Gjellstad | Director of Operations


LF, in the past, has had tremendous success in sub-Saharan Africa and we are primarily focusing on the exportation of this this expertise and success to the Americas. However, with past projects in Tuscany and Mallorca, and one on the way in Normandy, there is definitely interest and room for growth in Europe. Generally, many of our latest clients are developing in successful, trending destinations with much growth potential, such as Papagayo Peninsula in Costa Rica or Tulum outside Cancun, Mexico. With Algarve’s recent hype and numerous draws to nature, we find that it too is ripe for small resort development.

 Is it the case that Luxury Frontiers invests in new lodging projects?

 Right now, our focus is to become the world’s most renowned luxury experiential resort designers and developers for hotel owners and brands. As we become the leader in this industry, a case can be made that our work can naturally lead to co-investment opportunities for future projects.


What are the critical success factors for your sites? 

Aside from the owner having all full ownership rights and other legal formalities, the site can then be assessed as to what makes it attractive for small eco-resort development. It is ideal if the site has a story that can draw in guests—albeit nature, history, culture, etc. It is also helpful if the site allows for its hospitality operator to curate the guest experience from the moment the guest arrives off their plane, 4x4 vehicle, boat, or in some cases, horse. Added features that truly enhance the leisure aspect of the site could include vistas and vantage points, nearby water features such as streams or waterfalls, and natural and unspoilt vegetation between standalone guest rooms that allows for not only environmental immersion, but also privacy and noise reduction.


What are the key characteristics of your business model? 

What sets us apart is that we are a full-service design and development firm, with services spanning from concept development to project management and operations support. Also, our services are geared to upmarket segments, from upscale to ultra-luxury. And last, our focus is on experiential lodging offerings. All three of these factors enable us to be first-movers in this sector globally, as we hope to continue to blaze a trail and provide the latest design and development concepts in eco-resorts.

Copy of Interview with Declan Conway, By Andrew Coutts

How do you value the residential tourism product within the context of the Algarve economy?

Declan Conway    CEO & Founder - Global Sustainability Initiative

Declan Conway

CEO & Founder - Global Sustainability Initiative

The Algarve tourism sector will only increase in value as tourism globally is on the increase, with more middle classes being created across China, Africa and India all seeking new locations to visit. Also the expanding ageing population in Europe and advances in robotics and Artificial Intelligence will expand the population of tourists even further as people have more time on their hands. This will challenge the sector to add new projects and services that are sustainable over the longterm, such as eco-tourism or tourism that focuses on wellness and healthcare. The Algarve has the natural capital, culture and heritage to address this opportunity.

What constraints do you consider exist to the product contributing increased value and weight in the economy?

I don’t see any constraints that can’t be overcome. There does however need to be joined up thinking to plan the Algarve for the decades ahead, where all the elements required to build a thriving and sustainable economy are on the table. The key is blending innovation, community and sustainability together and adopting the principles of truly local and circular economy to the tourism sector and wider economy. For example much of the food needed can be grown locally either on local organic farms or at indoor vertical farms, powered for example by sustainable abundant sources of solar, biomass or wind. Seasonal workers needing access to housing should be provided accommodation that can be used off season for university/ college accommodations and community enterprises and coops are set up to serve community everyday needs not extract all the value for mainly foreign based global brands and corporations. 


 What role should sustainability have in the future of the economy?

 Sustainability is the key to the future prosperity of economies and communities. Redesigning the global economic system to deliver this sustainable economy is the single largest economic opportunity available in Portugal and indeed in practically every community globally. Existing supply chains designed around extractive and resource depleting economies are no longer feasible and existing infrastructure needs to be replaced and redesigned quickly. This opens up fantastic opportunities for businesses to participate in this transformation which is required urgently to protect our children’s and grandchildren’s futures.

The world is expected to spend about US$90 trillion on infrastructure in the period up to 2030, more than the entire current stock today. Much of this investment will be programmed in the next few years and will be based on Sustainable principles. 


Can the Algarve emulate the hi-tec hub evolution of Lisbon and Porto – how to complement or compete?

Yes, the Algarve will provide a complementary addition to the exciting and growing Portugal tech scene. The Algarve has many of the attributes needed to foster a high tech innovation eco system and is similar in many respects to Silicon Valley. Indeed, due to traffic congestion, commuting time to/from the Valley from San Francisco is similar to that between Lisbon and the Algarve. As more and more workers become digital nomads (50% of tech workers will end up self employed), the migration to lower cost locations with better lifestyles makes the Algarve an excellent choice. Recent expansions announced at the Algarve Tech Hub and support of partners like Altice provides the catalysts for this to happen. Tech hubs like Dublin, Berlin and London are also becoming too expensive to live and even harder to hire and retain staff so regional hubs like the Algarve offers plenty of room to expand. The progressive tax policy of the Portugal government also has helped as well as their success in attracting the Web summit to stay a further 10 years in Portugal.

Interview with Robert Green, By Andrew Coutts

What commercial potential do you see for the new generation of Algarve resorts e.g. Ombria and Palmares?

Robert Green    Founder & Managing Director – Sphere Estates

Robert Green

Founder & Managing Director – Sphere Estates

Trends and desires of buyers and investors of second homes in luxury resorts have changed in the last ten years. Today, it’s all about unique and exciting experiences as well as 5* service. The new generation of resorts in the Algarve must now focus on providing a wealth of experiences to suit all ages and types, from families to couples. Those that get the masterplanning correct will enjoy financial success, through high occupancy year-round and increasing hotel and rental rates. The rental market is booming right now so buyers and developers have an opportunity to capitalise on this. Most buyers today expect rental income to more than cover the cost of ownership so resorts that can achieve 4% net yield or above (on smaller units), and at least 2% net yield on larger properties, will fare well.

One of the fastest growing sectors is wellness. Six Senses Duoro Valley (not selling residences) is evidence that a resort no longer needs to be coastal or within a thirty-minute drive from the airport. They have created a destination and as a result, guests from around the world fill the hotel throughout much of the year. Projects such as Ombria, thirty minutes inland, north of Faro airport, will include a Viceroy hotel with branded apartments, and numerous non-branded villas overlooking a beautifully designed golf course and surrounding hills. However, they plan to offer much more than just golf. A world-class spa, sports facilities, restaurants and activities outside the resort, from cycling to village tours, will make Ombria an attractive option for everyone and a means of escaping the hectic urban life back home.

Many of the existing resorts have focused too much attention on golf. Only 30-40% of home owners within a golf resort play the game and fewer people each year have time to play 18-holes. The new generation of resorts will have a central heart that brings people together but also attracts visitors from outside, creating a buzz even in low season…and therefore greater revenue for the developer.

How should the Algarve position and differentiate itself against other holiday home destinations?

The Algarve should position itself as an attractive, less densely developed, alternative to other holiday home destinations, e.g., southern Spain, that offers authentic experiences and a better lifestyle. This means not only marketing the Algarve as a leading golf destination but as a place to retreat to and escape from stress at home. It’s well connected with daily flights from most European cities, making it highly accessible.

The Portuguese golden visa is one of the most attractive of its type worldwide and with non-habitual residency providing pension and income tax benefits, the Algarve is certainly becoming the best place in Europe to invest or retire to.


Which non-traditional markets or market segments should Algarve developers be considering?

As mentioned, developers should focus on wellness, a rapidly growing market. Wellness real estate is the new ultra-luxury and is now a $134 billion global industry, which is growing by 6.4% per year. It’s not just about spa treatments. Cosmetic surgery, yoga, extreme sports holidays and organic and healthy dining are all areas of growing interest amongst buyers. Resorts that grow their own organic produce are proving popular (Ombria plans to do just that). Developers therefore need to appeal to a new generation of healthy foodies.

Interview with Gavin Eccles, By Andrew Coutts

How can the Algarve improve its air connectivity?

Gavin Eccles – Professor of Aviation

Gavin Eccles – Professor of Aviation

Key to the success of the Algarve is to build on the existing structure of working a strong emphasis between the tourism entities and Faro airport.  An understanding of what routes and markets as set down by the supply side of the sector is key. What do we have, and, who do we want to attract? Developing routes is based on an understanding of where do we want to place emphasis and building a structure to support this.  A sustainable Algarve is built on selecting those markets that can support tourism and residential development for the next 10 years, and, then building scenarios of which carriers we need, and, what we can offer them as a way to build joint campaigns to support longevity and sustained demand.  

What market & carrier opportunities are there for Faro?

Emphasis has been placed on bringing northern Europeans, based on the weather and proximity of flight distances.  Similarly, the charters were replaced with the low-costs. Now, it is time to look beyond the traditional markets, and, see what opportunities built on a 10-year plan of attracting new demand.  North America (Canada has had many years serving FAO) is a new opportunity. With the changes to the narrow-body fleets of A321 LR, Algarve can be at the table with such airlines to look at direct opportunities.  Picking-up on the new realities in Russia can again be of interest, and, why not look at the Asian opportunities. The role of the airline is to bring passengers based on derived demand. If the Algarve can bring a sense of why visit to these markets, the rationale for an airline to serve is much easier.  

People talk a lot about low-costs.  But what is a low cost today? In reality, what Algarve needs is a blend of airline partners.  The charters connected with differentiated hotel stock help to bring the families, and, can also help to reduce some of the seasonality issues – particularly to make charters and packages attractive for the winter shoulder months (November, February and March).  Then, the flexibility of the low-costs to bring the second home visitor, golfer and holiday-maker. European legacy carriers bring connections from hubs (LHR, FRA, MAD, etc.), allowing Algarve to offer the corporate and M&I (meetings and incentives) business. And, then, the mid to long-haul players.  Building on the new airline technologies allowing for longer flights with less people (so less risk to open a new destination), is, a reality that Algarve can push and try and discover. Changes to the aviation industry and are new opportunities for FAO, and, the development of new segments for the Algarve

Is the connectivity of Lisbon and Oporto an opportunity for Faro?

Lisbon for sure.  In addition, do not under-estimate Madrid.

Lisbon is seeing significant growth of traffic from North America.  As mentioned above, the introduction of the A321 LR by TAP on east coast USA allows them to look at double-daily on some of the key cities to LIS.  The fact that we are then 3 hours away from the Algarve is a distance that North Americans are used to. The question that airlines will ask themselves is, do we serve both LIS and FAO?  For the short-haul, European carriers, yes, as the dynamics are different. But, for, mid to long-haul, is 250kms a belief that one city can serve both! Thus, is LIS the natural entry-point.  In essence, it is for Algarve to convince the carriers that the dynamics of the destination are also different. In anyway, if LIS is seeing growth from markets that are of interest to Algarve, then, the first instance must be to look at how to capitalise on this. Using LIS as the gateway to Algarve…

Why do I mention Madrid.  In the past two years, they have received direct flights from Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Delhi, and, the next city is Guangzhou.  If Asia is of interest to Algarve, and, LIS is having difficulties to source new Asia traffic due to slot restrictions, then, utilising an Iberian vision is not out of the question.  How to get people from an airport to the destination is very different then how do you get an airline to fly. Direct flights are always what everyone wants, but, costs and airline constraints should not get in the way of destination development.  Between LIS, MAD and FAO, the Algarve has accessibility!!!

Interview with Prof. Hugo Pinto, By Andrew Coutts

How do you value the residential tourism product within the context of the Algarve economy?

Prof. Hugo Pinto, CES - University of Coimbra

Prof. Hugo Pinto, CES - University of Coimbra

Residential tourism is one of the crucial areas to the future development of the Algarve as its tourism sector, as everybody knows, is the dominant economic activity in the region. Its socioeconomic weight cannot be neglected. In the Algarve, residential tourism encompasses traditional tourist options associated with the sun and sand, rural sites but also the new urban tourism wave in the city centres.

In the Tourism National Strategic Plan 2020, it was identified as a key product for Algarve. In the Tourism National Strategy 2027, living is considered one of the strategic emergent assets for the Portuguese tourism. Also in the preparation of the regional Smart specialisation strategy (RIS3-Algarve), a document that was a requirement for assessing European Structural and Investment Funds during 2014-2020, the residential tourism was seen as an opportunity that could help the creation of critical mass, one of the big limitations when it concerns the investment decision in any innovative activity in this region.

Residential tourism has been crucial in the past, bringing many people to stay in the Algarve. Compared to the “average” tourist, residential tourists create deeper roots within the territory, they are more loyal to the destination. They are also keen in bringing their knowledge, ideas, projects and contacts, stimulating innovation and new ventures with partners in the region. Residential tourists often work as ambassadors in the region abroad. Residential tourism is also instrumental for urban regeneration and has been one of the key sources of revenue for municipalities, associated with property taxes. Many areas that were decaying can now be vibrant again thanks to the expansion of residential tourism.


What constraints do you consider exist to the product contribution increased value and weight in the economy?

Residential tourism is an interesting economic activity. Nevertheless, it has problems that may need attention from public policy and its key stakeholders. I will indicate three that seem relevant to me and its solution could help its positive influence.

The first problem regards two interrelated phenomena: growing speculation and gentrification of cities. The fact that is becoming evident that there is no housing available in the city centres for “typical” residents is problematic. Algarve has always been an open region. The problem is that we may reach a level where, if there is no regulation, the houses will end up going to people that do not spend much time or even none here. The acquisition is just a speculative investment. Portugal is one of the countries that most easily attract these investments today, who take advantage of the tax benefits that are given to foreigners. This does not benefit the community nor the regional economy. Soon, if it is not controlled, many places, like historical neighbourhoods, that attracted the residential tourists will have lost its appeal and authenticity. Exactly what attracted the residential tourist in the first place. We need to pay attention to the right balance between the number of traditional tourists, residential tourists and full-time residents.

A second aspect for me is limited utilization. I will explain what I mean. A residential tourist uses its house only in a fraction, often very small, of the year. That creates emergent problems in terms of the provision of public goods. An example, any neighbourhood with nobody there for months will create additional risks regarding security and related expenses. The Algarve and other regions want residential tourists but nobody likes the feeling of entering ghost towns.

The third issue regards the governance of residential tourism. Residential tourists are stakeholders of the region. They are not only passing by; they do not vote here but they should have a word to say in policy-making. They need a collective voice. A possibility is the creation of a dedicated body that aggregates the vision of residential tourists, that create interaction among its associates or members and the local authorities, planning and policy, promotes the region in other locations and his capable of attracting more talent, resources and ideas to the Algarve.



What role should sustainability have in the future of the economy?

Sustainability is crucial for the future of any economy. In fact, it is so vital that the economy will have no future if society, the local communities, politicians and tourists do not pay attention to this issue. Considering the environmental dimension, it is fundamental to respect the carrying capacity of the region in its many activities. I feel that often in Summer Algarve is close to overcoming this threshold. This may be extremely dangerous has some resources may not be renewable. An example regards wildlife. Many people want to see with their eyes and touch with their own hands but we need to consider that many ecosystems are fragile. See what is happening with the sea horse communities in Ria Formosa. Considering the social dimension, residential tourists desire many different things. Experience the real Algarve. Interact and learn with local knowledge. To be in a safe place. Inequality is problem for all that. We should not stimulate residential tourism as fortified ghettos. We want tourists that are embedded in the socioeconomic fabric of the Algarve. Third. The economic dimension. If we do not respect and degrade the environmental quality of the region, if we do not protect local ways of living and assure that locals can be residents, soon the Algarve that we know will be completely gone. And with that the interest of tourists and investors. Prices of property will fall. Bad for business. And negative for the region as a whole.

The 2008 crisis showed a sad picture of the Algarve. Now that the turmoil is far it seems impossible to accept that the GDP fall and the unemployment growth figures were real. Today the crisis is overcome, the Algarve recovered its tourism dynamics, helped by many positive but exogenous factors. I am not sure if the stakeholders in the Algarve learn everything it should and is needed to pursue a true change in its economic structure. What will happen to Algarve when the next crisis arrives?


Can the Algarve emulate the hi-tech hub evolution of Lisbon and Porto – how to complement or compete?

No. The Algarve cannot emulate Lisbon or Porto for many different reasons. Nevertheless, I am sure that, at is scale, this region can be very attractive to talent and business, even in hi-tech sectors generating innovation for specific segments of the global value chains. The residential tourism can be a catalyst for this, for example, stimulating the sophistication of key enabling technologies as energy or ICT.

One reason for not emulating other cases of success regards the specificities of the Algarve’s innovation ecosystem. In Lisbon and Porto there is no huge problems regarding critical mass. Bigger cities stimulate agglomeration economies that drive innovation. Both public and private sectors have a large number of organizations that compete and cooperate with each other. In the Algarve the public research side is dominated by the University of Algarve. This Higher Education Institution is central to the development trajectory of the region in the last forty years but it is only one. More and diverse S&T players are needed in the region. Regarding innovation intermediaries, there is only a relevant actor, the technology transfers office of this public university. Many other actors are needed to guarantee that the cycle of innovation, from knowledge creation to market, is conveniently covered.

The economic fabric is dominated by tourism-related services. Tourism can be a high value added sector but unfortunately that is not what happens in the Algarve. Even if it has improved and diversified its product in the last years. Firms are also less engaged in traditional innovative activities, such R&D or patenting, when compared with other Portuguese regions mainly because the industrial sector almost disappeared from the region in the last half century. Knowledge intensive-business services have difficulties to prosper for different sorts of reasons.

Also a word for the government, taking into consideration the different levels of decision-making, national, regional and local, bureaucracy and administrative burdens remain excessive. Public officers are afraid to make simple decisions as law and regulations are often unclear and changing constantly. It is needed that the State creates stability for private actors to decide well. The State can steer the strategic collective vision for regional development. In that particular issue, I believe that the CCDRs, even if often pushed by requirements of the European Structural and Investment Funds, developed a very relevant contribution in Portugal. Probably in this point the problem is the lack of implementation of the strategies. Finally, a word to governance. The fact that Lisbon and Porto have this size-effect, it reduces control and power over the entire ecosystem by single actors. I think, here it is only my very personal opinion, that much of the immobility of the Algarve results from lock-in effects that a few but influential individuals and organizations create to guarantee the maintenance and reinforcement of their own status quo. Break these deadlocks and collectively we will be able to get closer to Algarve’s full potential, as one of the best regions to live and work, with a vibrant, advanced and resilient economy and excellent quality of life.

Interview with Peter Robinson, by Andrew Coutts

Peter Robinson, Pro Matura

Peter Robinson, Pro Matura

The opportunity: what is the residential tourism potential of the Algarve with the growing retirement demographic?


I think most delegates to this conference will already know it is a very substantial opportunity with the so-called ‘baby boomers’ retiring, enjoying 10 years more life than 50 years ago. This group are wealthier now than any cohort before them and they are a demanding, relatively sophisticated generation with a pan-european property perspective. Countries in the warmer, more pleasant Mediterranean sunbelt have seen many northern Europeans move to live part or full time, particularly in the Algarve. A recent CNBC report put at No. 1 the Algarve, out if its top 10 spots to retire in Europe, citing also the average 30% lower living costs in Portugal (important as active income ends), compared to its competitors. The opportunity for the Algarve is now to take this to scale with significant and important steps in resort development along the ‘retirement village’ model.   


How to exploit?: can Portuguese businesses:- land owners, developers, financiers, hospitality and care organisations etc – capitalise this growing opportunity?


There is a road-map to success for all these companies and ProMatura helps businesses build the right product at the right price. ProMatura, over the last 2 years, has now established an international office out of London working with clients in the UK, Portugal and many other destinations outside the USA. Our Predictive Analytics can look at (or hypothetically model) any project anywhere in the world and predict what will work, where and why – expensive mistakes are thus avoided. Markets do differ, but our processes work anywhere, backed by the most extensive empirical data available. ProMatura buyer research groups demonstrate high levels of continuing engagement: giving potential to test creative marketing concepts before launch, also to become among the first residents to buy-into a project


Experienced practitioners: what are ProMatura credentials in starting and delivering retirement community projects in Portugal?


We run our business differently to every other ‘research & consultancy’ company in the property sector. We are unique in having spent the last 35 years creating and honing our working practices and data sets, not just in the USA but also now in Europe. We identify and talk to specific customers who may well become your next clients. We have just completed a major research study of several Northern European buyer markets for a Portuguese land owner. We have used proprietary tools to do this. We undertake conjoint analysis that gives a very accurate set of detailed results informing every aspect of what is wanted and will be paid-for on a project. We are justly proud of our international client list, most of which use us on a repeat basis as they move from project-to-project.   


Value to the bottom line: how does ProMatura deliver its actions in various markets and why does the Financial Director of your clients insist on hiring you?


ProMatura uniquely plugs the gap in buyer understanding and likely actions: what do actual potential residents specifically want and what will they really pay for it? We remove the guesswork, provide concept ‘insurance’ and have saved our clients many millions $£€ in mistakes over 35 years: our data, analysis and forecasts proven to closely correlate with actual buyer behaviour. Every site is unique and we help unlock the value in it with the right, proven, product mix, cost reductions and advise on prices which has seen successful price uplifts of upto 20%.   

We provide the project finance team a sophisticated demand / unit / prices spreadsheet accurately forecasting sales by month for the development which is a great aide in ensuring the project is appropriately financed.

Interview with JamieRose Briones, by Andrew Coutts

JamieRose Briones, Luxury Frontiers

JamieRose Briones, Luxury Frontiers

What motivated you to work with Luxury Frontiers?

Before entering the hospitality industry, I began my career working in banking in New York City. It was during my finance years that I became infatuated with international travel and was particularly intrigued by the luxury hospitality market in Africa. Looking to meld finance with my new passion, I decided to pursue a career in luxury resort development in emerging markets, starting with an MBA at Lausanne. Fueled and inspired after 4 years of working in operations and consulting owners of luxury resorts in Africa, I was able to join these various sets of expertise at Luxury Frontiers to develop luxury eco resorts worldwide.


Luxury Frontiers appears to be at the forefront of luxury traveller tourism and sustainability. Please comment.

We definitely strive to lead the sustainability-focused transformation of the hospitality industry through every development project we engage in. From concept development to ongoing operations support, Luxury Frontiers strategizes with ownership and operations on how a project can employ cutting-edge technology and practices wherever possible for both efficient operations and maintaining as light a footprint as possible on the environment. Our solutions span from responsibly sourced and sustainable building materials to leave-no-trace activities programming and renewable energy systems.


Which of the Luxury Frontiers projects do you consider to have added substantial value to the investor and the community?

I had a front-row seat to the operations and performance of one of our projects, Abu Camp in Botswana, where I served as General Manager for nearly 3 years. This property has yielded tremendous value both to its owner (the late businessman and philanthropist Paul Allen) and the greater conservation community. With only 6 suites, a truly one-of-a-kind design completed by Luxury Frontiers in 2011, and a high-touch service offering delivered by Wilderness Safaris, Abu Camp has garnered the highest double room rate in sub-Saharan Africa of USD 6000 per night and an average occupancy of 70%. More impressive than this, the hospitality operations cover the expenses of the camp’s elephant sanctuary for rescued and orphaned elephants, and Abu Camp still remains profitable. Abu Camp is a shining example of low-volume, high-yield hospitality products performing well while doing good.


As Portugal achieves greater global visibility, what potential do you see for Luxury Frontiers in Portugal?

While Portugal has been seeing a strengthening tourism market, it is has already begun embracing hospitality concepts which create an ideal foundation for Luxury Frontiers projects: experiential, nature-based, activity-oriented, eco-friendly, mindful, and wellness concepts. Luxury Frontiers’ unique architecture—such as tented and treetop suites—celebrate these movements. And by using alternative building methods and materials, we are able to offer true flexibility in design, allowing our clients’ projects to perfectly complement the lifestyle they are looking to build or expand upon. Owners and operators looking to diversify their hotels with additional alternative room inventory can benefit the most from Luxury Frontiers’ design and experiential planning: investors are able to leverage existing operations, marketing, and infrastructure, meaning incremental revenues and a faster investment payback. It is a very compelling case especially here in Algarve with its unprecedented growth, so we are eager to see what happens.

First Algarve residential tourism and sustainability conference launches in November - Essential Business

The first edition of a new conference that examines the residential tourism sector in the Algarve and its medium and long-term sustainability will be held in November.


An initiative by tourism and tourist development consultant Andrew Coutts, CEO of the ILM Tourism & Hospitality Real Estate Group Portugal, the one-day conference, co-organised by the Dengun – Digital Agency, will be held at the Anatara Vilamoura Resort Hotel on Friday, 23 November.

The event includes an impressive line-up of keynote speakers, all experts in their fields, including: André Jordan, from the Grupo André Jordan; Scott Bennett, Vilamoura World; Pedro Fontainhas and Carlos Leal, Portuguese Resorts Association (APR); Miguel Fernandes, Dengun; Julio Delgado, Ombria Resort; Gerry Fagan, DPM; Ricardo Guimarães, Confidencial Imobiliário; Charles Weston Baker, resort development consultants; Alexandra Gonçalves, regional director of Algarve Culture and Bruno Mendes, IAD Portugal.

Ten years after the start of the global financial crisis and now nearly three years into the recovery and expansion phase of the market, the conference will address the strategic aspects of the residential tourism segment within the context of the Algarve tourism economy, a sustainable development strategy for the destination and the markets inherent economic cycle.

Conference themes include: Creating a sustainable Algarve tourism destination — market, economic, social and territory; The tourism multiplier effect on residential tourism and tourist lodging source markets & investment; Traveller tribes 2030 – new markets & demand drivers, demographics, consumer / buyer profiles and motives; Seniors, retirees, millennials — which demographic? health & wellness infrastructure — a critical factor — the new market segment of luxury travellers — affluent millennials, experiential travel;  New investors, short-termism, investors return requirements and market cycles — a new model?; A new destination and residential tourism product marketing model — data, social media and digital marketing, new sales distribution channels & players; New resort and tourist lodging concepts, product trends and innovation — case studies; Creating sustainable destinations & communities, authenticity and embracing new cultures.


Andrew Coutts, CEO of ILM Tourism and Hospitality Real Estate Group Portugal who initiated the event and co-organised it with Dengun – Digital Agency, says, “What makes this conference different is that it is very focused on the Algarve and while there has been significant excitement in terms of investment and development generated by Lisbon and Porto, the Algarve has shown a more timid response in terms of investment interest.

“There are many sites in the Algarve that have outline planning permission that can be explored and projects that were in the pipeline some 15 years ago before the crisis which were never developed or indeed need to be redeveloped, rethought and reenergised to reflect changes in the market since then,” says Andrew Coutts.

Read more at:

Tented Camps Are Fast Becoming the World’s Best Resorts -


They’re popping up everywhere, from Mexico to Laos—and luxury travelers can’t get enough. Here’s why.

At one point in the mid-2010s, “glamping” became a four-letter word.

A sudden boom in upscale tented accommodations—which ultimately felt neither glamorous nor like camping—saw the trend go from boom to bust as quickly as spaghetti donuts and ramen burgers.

But now, glamping is back, and the glamour factor is through the canvas roof.

Everywhere from Luang Prabang to New South Wales, Tulum to Costa Rica—even in the heart of New York—hoteliers are ditching bricks and mortar walls and ceilings for safari-style tents, many with free-standing bath tubs, fireplaces, wood floors, and outdoor dual-head rain showers. The concept has become so high-end, “glamping” no longer does it justice.

For travelers, the experience offers novelty, digital disconnection, and access to experiences that are at once authentic and Instagrammable (when you get back on Wi-Fi). Think interacting with rescued elephants in northern Thailand at Four Season’s Golden Triangle tented camp, or hot air ballooning over the Rocky Mountains from the Resort at Paws Up, in Montana.


Why They’re (Mostly) Great for Business

According to Franco, the master tent-builder, hoteliers who invest in tented projects can expect to generate 20 percent to 40 percent more in revenues than their six-star bricks-and-mortar counterparts, and construction costs can be as much as 50 percent lower—particularly in cases where the tents are just one part of an existing resort that has already established the necessary infrastructure. Still, this doesn’t make these camps affordable or easy to build.

“We are in the luxury or beyond-luxury categories,” explains Franco, “so everything has to be truly custom.” When one leading hospitality brand asked him to design a tent that could be replicated in Turkey, the Bahamas, Marrakesh, and Mexico, he said no: “All these places have different climates. There’s no wind in Turkey, but in Holbox, Mexico, the wind is very strong; in the Bahamas, you need tents that can be completely removable for hurricane season; in Tulum, you need something fit for the jungle; and in Morocco, you have extreme heat to deal with.”

Read More at:

Conference Organisers Profile: Dengun Digital Group

Miguel Fernandes

Miguel Fernandes

Dengun Digital Group is based in the Algarve, Portugal, specializing in the design and development of awesome web and mobile applications and integrated marketing strategies.

We are obsessed with conversion, constantly on the lookout for new and ground-breaking technologies and methodologies.


Our core team built the first website in 1994 and Dengun became part of the internet history in 2006 and has since aimed to deliver the best digital solutions.

Our experience is based on the gathering of time, projects and clients from different areas and the search for good results. We continuously seek to expand our expertise and everyday shows us there is room for improvement.

We take pride in guiding our first clients still today.


With our feet firm on the ground and minds way high in the sky, we travel together with our clients on the thousand mile journey to a successful product.

Our multidisciplinary team is obsessed with test automation, event based tracking, performance and A/B testing, all are needed to empower our clients to reach their targets. Unless targets are met, we won't rest.


Our clients’ business is our business. We understand the hardship involved in achieving online success and respect them for taking the chance.

We go beyond the mere client/company traditional relationship, considering ourselves true partners.

Ultimately, your success will be our success, and we propose to do it side-by-side throughout the whole process.