Tourism industry in the new Europe: trends, policies and challenges

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Abstract

This paper provides an examination of tourism in the New Member States of the European Union from the date of accession until the last year for which data is available (2014), assessing not only the importance of tourism for the New Member States economy, but also the factors and trends that might affect this industry. Predictions for tourism after joining the EU had been confident and the statistical findings confirmed that the outcomes had been to a great extent encouraging and favourable. Considerable research has been devoted to tourism in the developed countries from Europe, the so-called Old Member States, but rather less attention has been paid to tourism in the Central Eastern Europe, the New Member States region. In this regard, the paper will start with an overview of the current state of the literature on this topic, section that precedes a presentation of European bodies and policies in the travel and tourism field. According to The World Bank Database (World Tourism Organization, 2016), the number of international inbound tourists in the countries Newest Members of EU increased on average three times and in many cases this is partly a consequence of the Community’s accession policy and the market oriented policies in the new Member States (Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General of the European Commission, 2007). Time series will be analysed in order to identify specific trends in the tourism industry, but also in an attempt to characterize the European integration impact on the New Member States’ tourism. Main future challenges and opportunities in the travel and tourism industry will also be sketched, so the paper to better serve not only participants in the academic community and practitioners in the tourism business, but also financial market parties or consultants.

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