The European Capitals of Culture (ECOC) are the most ambitious European cultural partnership project implemented in Europe, if one looks at its scale. In 2012, for the first time in Portugal, a medium size city hosted it. Guimarães was the chosen one. Three years after hosting the ECOC, it is time to access what has changed as a consequence of it in terms of visitors’ profile and city attributes perceptions. Primary data sources were used, gathered through surveys conducted to the Guimarães tourists in the ex-ante (2010/11) and post-event periods (2015). In analytical terms, we made use of statistical methods allowing to put in evidence the similarities or differences found in what regards the visitors’ profiles and perceptions towards the destination attributes, when looking to the two time periods under scrutiny. In what regards the results gotten, we concluded that a change in the Guimarães visitors’ profile occurred (more balance between men and women; decrease in the amount of tourists aged from 0 to 25 years old and increase in those aged from 46 to 65 years old; and increase of the tourists endowed of lower schooling levels), as well as a notorious evolution in what regards the perceived city attributes. One believes that the empirical results attained are a valuable source of information for tour operators and, mainly, to city planning and managing authorities.
Key-words: visitors’ profile; destination attributes perceptions; 2012 European Capital of Culture; Guimarães.
J. Cadima Ribeiro