HoST Lab - Hospitality, Sustainability and Tourism Experiences Innovat​ion Lab


HoST Lab is a project led by the University of the Algarve, with a multidisciplinary team of researchers applied to the innovation of new products and services related to basic foods integrated in the Mediterranean Diet, and to the promotion of the main elements of this Common Heritage of Humanity, as the main value of the eno-gastronomic and cultural offer of the region. The HoST Lab main aim is: To develop, evaluate and test new products, services and experiences, for hotels, restaurants and tourism, associated with the basic elements integrated in the MD - cereals, olive trees, vines, and other common foods in the South of Portugal -, which contribute: to the qualification and diversification of the Algarve as a sustainable tourist destination; to add emotional value to the eno-gastronomic experiences of those who visit us, as, and to promote the authenticity of the destination; and to enhance the set of local knowledge and customs, improving the quality of life of the resident community of the Algarve region. The tourist experience consists of multiple products and services (tangible and intangible) and combines a great diversity of actors, with different motivations and needs. HoST Lab wants to understand and study the feelings associated with the eno-gastronomic experiences, and the characteristics of flavor and surrounding atmosphere, which can determine the sensory result of these experiences (in real context, testing along the "Rota do Petisco" and, in laboratory context, in a simulated environment). Local resources and products will be used, promoting local consumption and the sustainability of the Algarve market and rural economies, including responsible consumption. The research process includes: (i) the collection of information from tourism stakeholders (catering companies, hotels, local producers, visitors) will take place in the first phase of innovation and the structuring of new offerings. The following phases of the research includes: (ii) the design and testing of new products, services and culinary experiences as one of the dimensions of the global tourist experience, (iii) the development of data sheets and mapping of resources associated with product proposals, services and experiences, as well as (iv) tests of developed products, and finally (v) the study of their respective viability and economic and financial sustainability and (vi) reporting results. The results of the project include the production of a system for assessing and monitoring the sustainability of new experiences, products and services associated with the MD, including a set of reference indicators for assessing the tangible economic impact of these new offers (development of economic nutrition labels). Sentiment analysis will identify new opportunities to innovate in terms of products and services, and enable to define indicators that contribute to managing the reputation associated with the tourism sector.

Partners: n/a

Researcher(s): Alexandra Rodrigues Gonçalves (Principal Investigator) (CinTurs/ESGHT UAlg), Célia Ramos (CinTurs/ESGHT UAlg), Paula Guerreiro Martins (CiTUR Algarve/CinTurs/ ESGHT UAlg), Ana Isabel Martins (ESGHT UAlg), Carlos Monteiro (ESGHT UAlg), Manuel Serra (ESGHT UAlg), Carimo Rassal (ESGHT UAlg), Célia Quintas (MED/CinTurs/ISE UAlg), Isabel Ratão (ISE UAlg) and Patrícia Nunes (ISE UAlg).

Budget UAlg: 599,273.27 €

Funding institution(s): ERDF by CRESC Algarve 2020

Period: 2021 - 2023

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