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Title: New Trends in the Sport Tourism industry, a case study of outdoor yoga at the lake Alqueva, Portugal
Authors: Rodrigues, Aurea
Vieira, Renata
Keywords: Tourism
Special interest tourism
Niche tourism
Issue Date: 29-Oct-2020
Publisher: University of Maribor
Citation: Rodrigues, A. & Vieira, R. (2020). New Trends in the sport tourism industry, a case study of outdoor yoga at the Lake Alqueva, Portugal, in Book of Abstracts of the International Scientific Conference Bet on Health, 29-30 Outubro, Universidade de Maribor, pp. 30-33
Abstract: Nowadays tourists seek rural tourism destinations as places rich in cultural local activities but also as nature places where it is possible to do activities that are not directly connected with the traditional rural way of living of the local populations. For Clarke (2005) rural tourism activities can be divided in three categories “seeing”, “buying” and “being/ doing”. The category of “seeing” includes activities primarily passive, “buying” is related with opportunities for visitors to buy physical goods and perishables and “being/ doing” comprehends activities grounded on skill acquisition and special interest. This last category implies “self-development and even transformation (being), and activities that fit with the wellness/fitness trend (doing) such as yoga (Clarke, 2005, p. 91). This category could be rooted or not in local identity. Yoga activities are a special interest activity that has suffered an increased demand by tourists. According to the basic Portuguese Sports Law (DL nº 11/07, 16/01, Chapter I, Scope and Objectives, Article 2nd.) “Sport is understood to mean any form of physical activity that, through free and voluntary participation,… aims to express or improve physical and mental condition,…” so taking the basis of this principle the Portuguese Yoga Federation (2020) considers that yoga is a sport activity “although there is a particular and specific way of approaching the body in Yoga, it can serve any sport, as well as having its own development in this area (Portuguese Federation of Yoga, 2020). For Galan et al (2017: 519) “sports are becoming increasingly important for boosting confidence, staying fit, interacting with peers, being competitive and strengthening a family bond”. Nowadays, people are engaging in sport leisure activities in their daily life, and most start to seek destinations where they can find events or the possibility to enjoy their favorite activity in a different setting. Yoga is an activity that could be considered a wellness but also a sport activity that is increasing in popularity and there are many destinations specialized in this offer such as India and Bali (Telej & Gamble, 2019). Yoga as a practice has a long and unclear history and according to Puustinen and Rautaniemi (2013: 1) although it has not been agreed upon when exactly yoga began, there is a consensus that was originated thousands of years ago in India, with modern day yoga being created and popularized in the 1900’s. The word yoga means ‘union’, ough a more literal equivalent is the English ‘yoke’. In fact, the words yoga and yoke have the same Sanskrit root. Yoga comprises of body postures and transition movements, combined with breathing and meditation (Aggawal et al, 2017). Nowadays yoga is practiced worldwide and in many different styles (Singleton, 2005). According Ali-Knight and Ensor (2017) Yoga tourism is a niche form of special interest within wellness tourism. Cheer et al. (2017) identified that there is a scarcity of research in yoga tourism and the state of research is still in its infancy stage. Although in rural destinations in Portugal there is a growing demand for yoga retreats with activities more related to wellbeing (Joukes, 2011), in this work it is presented the search for yoga practice at an astrotourism event, Dar Sky Party Alqueva which is an event that occurs once a year since 2012 at a Starlight Tourism Destination in Portugal, ie, a certified astrotourism destination with ideal conditions for observing the stars and where light pollution is controlled at the same time the tourism offer is prepared for astrotourists. Besides sky observations with or without equipment at Alqueva it is possible to do several activities such as visits to ancient historical monuments, wine tasting, sport activities, nature observation among others under an unpolluted dark sky, making the experience unique and different. Each year, at the Dark Sky Party some of the activities developed at night at the destination are selected to be offered without being charged (under inscription to control the number of participants). The dark Sky Party Alqueva attracts more than 1000 people each year although the activities offered on the event are not advertised widely some of them are very successful, and registrations often sell out on the first day they are available, being yoga one of them. Yoga activities are developed since 2012 the first edition of the event and occur at the sun rising and sunset. The case study presented in this communication seeks to analyze the success of yoga activities developed at this annual event, through interviews with the event organizers, yoga teachers and participants (studies undertaken by Dark Sky Alqueva). This study also seeks to describe the profile of the yoga participants. With this study it is possible to conclude that the main source of information about the activity was spread by WOM amongst yoga practitioners’ networks and yoga addicts are interested in travel to destinations and events that offer different opportunities to experience natural settings and heritage besides the yoga activities.
Type: article
Appears in Collections:CIDEHUS - Artigos em Livros de Actas/Proceedings

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