Part of the research of the Campus of International Excellence Southern Catalonia (CEICS) concentrates on the tourism sector. For some years, Rovira i Virgili University and the participants in the CEICS have led groundbreaking initiatives in the field of research into tourism. Since the mid-1990s, the URV has had a research group devoted solely to tourism, which is currently recognized as a consolidated group by the Catalan government. The Territorial Analysis and Tourism Studies group, belonging to the URV's Department of Geography has participated for many years in R&D&I activities in projects dealing with both competitiveness and knowledge and technology transfer.

This was a pioneer research group, although there are currently others involved in analyzing tourism activity from different perspectives, including business, economics and new technologies.

A pioneer tourism observatory

In addition to the university's research groups, the counties of Tarragona also have an ad hoc body involving the university, the public sector and tourism company associations: the Costa Daurada Foundation of Tourism Studies. The foundation provides information concerning the sector by generating statistical data on the tourism dynamics of the Costa Daurada and Terres de l'Ebre and is the founder of the first Tourism Observatory of Catalonia. For ten years, it has compiled and published all of the statistical information concerning tourism activity in the counties of southern Catalonia

The Science and Technology Park of Tourism and Leisure

The observatory is one of the transfer units of the Science and Technology Park of Tourism and Leisure (PCTTO). The park is also currently part of the Consortium for Improving Competiveness in Tourism and Leisure in the Province of Tarragona, a knowledge and technology transfer structure responsible for seven innovation and development programmes in the areas of strategy, technology and product creation. Furthermore, the park's own transfer unit undertakes studies, develops projects and drafts reports at the request of any interested stakeholders in the sphere of tourism.

The Science and Technology Park of Tourism and Leisure, together with the Faculty of Tourism and Geography form an environment that facilitates research into tourism.

And it is in this environment that there are plans to construct a new research and innovation tool: IRTUCA, the Tourism Research Institute of Catalonia, a project that will be promoted by the Catalan government and co-operated with the University of Girona. It is a space for research that aims to keep abreast of the transformation of the tourism sector through studying forecasted demand and the potential of tourist destinations.