Innovative Tourism Development

ESTG - School of Technology and Management
Casa Melo Alvim
Flor de Sal
Axis Viana Business & SPA Hotel
Terras de Geraz
Solar do Louredo


The Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo (IPVC) is a relatively new higher education institution (created in 1980), in rural northern Portugal, that has developed rapidly over the last few years to become a major provider of higher education in peripheral northern Portugal, having a critical  role in the regional development.

The Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo is offering an interdisciplinary Master’s qualification in Innovative Tourism Development. This graduate programme has been designed to equip students with skills and knowledge on key areas relating to innovative tourism development at different degrees of complexity and geographical scale, namely tourism and hospitality-related enterprises and destinations. Together with research skills and relevant practical applications, the programme covers a considerable range of topics of critical relevance for tourism development. They are: tourism trends and innovation, policy contexts (at the local, regional, national and international scale), the development of a business plan, strategic development and management of tourism destinations, tourism communication, culture and heritage, on events management, economic growth and development, and e-marketing and e-commerce technologies. In addition, the programme also encompasses an approach to intercultural communication, and to people management and its importance in tourism development.

Taught by the distinguished expert academic staff of the IPVC with inputs from our global network of researchers and professionals, the course will address the most important themes and contemporary tourism issues. The teaching team draws on the international expertise of a number of renowned first-class lecturers representing various sectors of the tourism industry who convey theoretical and practical knowledge.

Number of credits: 120 ECTS
Study regime: full time
Duration: four semesters
1st Semester: September
2nd Semester: February
Number of students: 25
Fees: €1050 per year
Dates for pre-registration: from 1st April to 31st May

Programme Director
Prof. Doutora Alexandra Correia


Entidade Regional Porto e Norte de Portugal
Câmara Municipal de Viana do Castelo
Hotel Casa Melo Alvim
Hotel Flôr de Sal
Hotel Axis Viana Business & SPA Hotel
Fábrica do Chocolate Hotel | Restaurante | Museu
FeelDouro, Cruising & Yacht Charter FeelViana, Hotelaria

Note: partners’ information will be updated on a regular basis

Aims and objectives

The Master´s in Innovative Tourism Development provides an opportunity for developing the skills and knowledge necessary to sustain a professional career in the tourism industry. The curriculum is consistent in providing students with employability skills and preparation for further studies. Its major aim is to equip students with the essential background knowledge, analytical skills, and strategic thinking necessary to develop and assess tourism initiatives, in the context of the regional, national and international setting which are highly valued by employers in the national and international market place.

While taking the course, students:

  • Develop an understanding of the fundamentals for appraising tourism policy, planning, innovation, development and management at local, regional, national and international level.
  • Apply research skills to carrying out research in tourism policy, planning, innovation, development and management at local, regional, national and international level.
  • Interpret the concept of sustainability and relate its complexity to tourism development and management.
  • Apply professional skills including research, business plan development, funding proposals and project management skills, to tourism development projects.
  • Generate and evaluate innovate ideas for tourism development throughout the tourism value chain.

Career opportunities

A wide range of career opportunities exist internationally in tourism because the sector is forecast to continue to grow in its demand for skilled employees. Career opportunities exist at different managerial levels within the service industries and the demand for employees with good skills and qualifications is high. This Masters degree has been developed with both the workplace and the future skills needs of graduates in mind. It is both relevant and focused upon the need for tourism-focused skills that can interact with a wide range of businesses.

The opportunities span the visitor attraction sector, transportation, hospitality, operations management in the service sector, as well as in many associated industries which require a wider understanding of how tourism operates, is managed and how a creativity perspective can add value to the tourist experience.

Career options include:

  • Directors of tourism-related enterprises
  • Tourism Facility Management
  • High-level staff positions in tourism, leisure and recreation companies
  • Marketing and tourism communication managers
  • Strategic development managers for companies and tourist destinations
  • Consultants and researchers in the field of tourism
  • Managerial/ project management roles in rural, regional and national tourism organisations
  • High-level staff positions in the public/civil service
  • Lecturers in the area of tourism education
  • Liberal professionals
  • Tourism entrepreneurs

General access requirements

This Master’s programme is open to those who have an official undergraduate degree.

Candidates will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Grade point average of undergraduate degree
  • Area of undergraduate study
  • Oral and written fluency in English
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Professional experience

All documents must be translated into the English or Portuguese languages.

Additional Information

The Masters programme is held over a period of four semesters and consists of a total of 120 ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer System).

Successful completion of the course is dependent on regular attendance (80%) of contact sessions, meet all evaluation criteria on lecture subjects, presentations, Master´s thesis, and final examination before a board.

In the first two semesters, face-to-face classroom instruction (contact sessions) will take place at IPVC.  In the 3rd and 4th semester, students can choose between a dissertation, project-based study, and internship. There will be full support in the development of contacts with different entities to ensure an interesting experience for students.

Moreover, students can spend a semester at one of the UNWTO.TedQual institutions (final decision by the host institution), and /or spend a semester at one of the European institutions with which IPVC has a bilateral agreement under the Socrates Programme (final decision by the host institution).

Students are required to have access to a computer, preferably a laptop.

Study programme