Can They Manage in a Sustainable Way?


Beach destination
quality awards
qualitative method
sustainable destination management


This study aims to reveal the perceptions of local beach destination managers about the level of sustainability in their management practices. This research puts into practice a comparative study assessing two beach destinations: Muğla, located in Turkey, which won the World Travel Award, and Algarve, located in Portugal, which is a member state of the European Union (EU) that has also repeatedly won the same award. In this context, in-depth interviews were held with tourism offices in selected destinations and qualitative data were obtained through semistructured interviews that were carried out between February and April 2020. As a study outcome, two hypotheses were elected and analysed: “the two regions’ sustainable managerial practices differ” and “no difference exists between the regions.” Both regions won the same award, but the EU Algarve destination is still winning the award, whereas the non-EU Muğla destination is not. The findings can be shared with beach destination managers to create or increase their sustainability awareness. No studies were found that compared the sustainable management of award-winning EU and non-EU beach destinations. Because of this gap in the literature, this study will add value to the literature about this topic.