CEF.UP*, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto
Rua Dr. Roberto Frias
4200-464 Porto, Portugal
This paper reviews the most important theoretical foundations of the concept of spatial competitiveness. To that effect it deals with three levels of competitiveness: the country, the region and the tourism destination. It draws attention to the main aspects that such concepts of competitiveness must include, and it links the regional competitiveness with the related concept of cluster. Therefore, section 2 reviews the key aspects of competitiveness at the first level, highlighting the role of the main forces that act at the national level. Section 3 extends the concept to the regional level, highlighting the critical aspects that must be considered when policy tries to increase the competitiveness of a particular region. Section 4 analyses the possibilities of extending the competitiveness concept to tourism destinations. Next, the paper analyses the literature on policy advice and discusses the inconsistency between the theory and the policy designed to promote regional competitiveness. Finally, the paper presents some concluding remarks on regional policy applied to depressed regions.
* CEF.UP – Centre for Economics and Finance at the University of Porto – is funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), Portugal.