Aspects of the Tourist Movement in Eastern European Countries

Aspects of the Tourist Movement in Eastern European Countries

Ana Mihaela Pădurean (Faculty of Business and Tourism, The Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, Romania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1423-8.ch001

Abstract

Political changes that took place in the 1990s brought up the opening of tourism markets for Eastern European countries leading to a boost in the role of tourism in the economic and social sectors. This dynamic is reflected in the main tourism indicators, starting from the number of arrivals, revenue volume, degree of endowment with accommodation equipment, as well as in the competitiveness monitor aimed at a multitude of aspects. Concurrently, the complexity of tourism resources and their attractiveness represent the starting point in the elaboration of tourism development and promotion measures, which must take into account the harmonisation of all categories of local interests from local authorities and private companies to NGOs and population, thusly providing an adequate framework so that tourism can realise its effect as a multiplier for the economy.
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Introduction

Until the 1990’s, tourism in Eastern Europe has had particular aspects dominated by the traits of socialist economy, in which tourism was perceived as a planned and centralised activity, subordinate to political ruling, whose assets (patrimony) belonged to the state. Tourism flows were “controlled” through the fostering of domestic tourism, within the confinements of the borders of that country, comprised of the internal tourism flow and the incoming flows. Freedom of movement was limited by the restrictions to travel in other than socialist countries on the one hand, and mostly impossible approvals of tourist visa applications. The majority of travel restrictions took place until 1953, and since the 1960’s, a boost registered in tourism flows, both related to outgoing flows to socialist countries, as well as to incoming flows - foreign tourists being preferred for the foreign currency infusion to tourism payments. (Banaszkiewicz, Graburn & Owsianowska, 2016, Ibrahinova, 2012, Radulescu & Stanculescu, 2012)

Starting with the ‘90’s, the political changes that lead to overturning communist regimes “opened the borders”, and, consequently, lead to the significant increase in tourist departures. In the following section, the analysis refers to and East-Central and Eastern European countries.

East-Central Europe is circumscribed to the Carpathian mountain range, the Carpathians being the main element of this area, that represents the direct continuation of the Alps and it includes: The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Romania. Eastern Europe is bordered from North to South by the White Sea, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and from West to East by the Northern Bug at the border with Poland and Ural mountains. What is specific to the area, from the point of view of the relief, is a low diversity, wide plains entangled with hills and plateaus. Eastern Europe includes the following countries: Moldova, Baltic States, Ukraine and Russia (Glavan, 2000)

Background

Specialty literature includes a series of preoccupations aimed at the research of tourism on Eastern European countries, starting from their history, to the trends for the future. Research has studied the particularities of tourism until the 1990’s, showing the development directions that manifested in that period - domestic tourism, social tourism (Radulescu & Stanculescu, 2012), trade union tourism (Banaszkiewicz, Graburn & Owsianowska, 2016), the influence of socialism in the economy, but also the impact of joining the EU (Hosney, Zurub et al., 2015) and, consequently, tourism in the post-socialist era (Ibrahimova, 2012). Furthermore, tourism is also considered from the geopolitical perspective, but also from the sustainable development standpoint (Hall, 2017), identifying the current conditions in the Eastern European countries (Egon Smeral). Howard Hughes*, Danielle Allen. An important role can also be played by regional agreements in the development of tourism changes (Minciu, 2004; Glavan, 2000). Simultaneously, the literature highlights the importance of measuring the impact tourism has from the economic and social perspective, the statistics made available by international bodies complete the analysis of tourism in Eastern European countries (World Tourism Organization, World Travel & Tourism Council, European Travel Comission, World Economic Forum, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Euromonitor International, Encyclopedia Britannica etc.)

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