Articles

Lithuanian Tourism in the Economy

In 2018, the tourism sector was estimated to generate 4.9% of GDP, forecast to rise marginally to 5% by 2020. A total of 47 200 people were directly employed in the tourism industry in 2017, representing 4.9% of total employment in the country.

In 2018, 1.7 million international tourists visited Lithuania, staying 3.7 million nights and spending EUR 1.2 billion – amounting to 12.2% of service exports. Tourists from Germany were the largest market with 214 100 overnight visitors, an increase of 21.6% over 2017. This is a record high for the German market who spend an average of EUR 430 per trip. Russia, Poland, Belarus and Latvia are also volume markets. The United States is a high growth market with investment in overseas marketing resulting in further growth of 11.6%, China (+20.6%), Japan (+22.3%) and Israel (+27.3%). The Ukraine and the United Kingdom have also grown, with the latter due to a new direct route from London City airport.

The interest of Lithuanians in their country keeps growing. Incoming and local tourism divide the Lithuanian tourism market in half: Lithuanians who travelled within the country and stayed in tourist accommodation comprised 51.8% of the market (1.9 million tourists in total) up 12.4% against the same period last year.

-Tourism governance and funding

In 2019, the national tourism administration structures were re-organised. The Ministry of Economy and Innovation has lead responsibility for tourism, and the Tourism Policy Division remains responsible for shaping national tourism policy, destination development and international relations.

A new public institution Lithuania Travel, is now responsible for raising the awareness of Lithuania as a tourism destination and for the development of inbound and local tourism. Lithuania Travel carries out marketing and tourism promotion, and reports to the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation.

The State Consumer Rights Protection Authority, under the Ministry of Justice, is responsible for the supervision of tour operators, travel agencies and accommodation providers. It represents consumer interests in the event of a tour operator insolvency.

Co-ordination is assisted by the Tourism Council, whose role includes drafting policy proposals and advising on a wide range of tourism matters. This 22-member Advisory Body is chaired by the Ministry of Economy and Innovation, with membership drawn from related ministries including Agriculture, Communication, Foreign Affairs, and Culture, as well as tourism associations.

Municipalities are involved in tourism at the local level, including through the operation of Local Tourism Information Centres. The Chamber of Tourism of the Republic of Lithuania represents the country’s ten principal tourism associations, and presents over 900 businesses.

The government budget for tourism is approximately EUR 1.2 million with a further EUR 3.1 million allocated from EU funding. In 2018, the City of Vilnius introduced a city tax of EUR 1 per person per night which is levied on all visitors using accommodation services. The tax revenues will be used to fund international marketing activities and improve the city’s infrastructure and quality of life for residents. A similar tax was previously applied in five other towns and resorts.

Lithuania: Organisational chart of tourism bodies
Lithuania: Organisational chart of tourism bodies

Tourism policies and programmes

The main challenges for Lithuanian tourism include diversifying the offer, protecting important cultural and natural heritage, improving transport connectivity, and encouraging the uptake of digital technologies. Other priorities include improving tourism education and skills, extending the season, and improving the overall quality and sustainability of the offer.

The Lithuanian Tourism Development Programme 2014-20 set out national tourism development objectives, goals and development priorities, and is supported by the Strategy for Tourism Marketing 2016-20. The strategic objective is to increase the competitiveness of the tourism sector via new product development, and improvements to tourism infrastructure and quality of service. Under the Programme, four priority tourism products were identified for development: cultural, business, health and green (eco) tourism, in priority regions for tourism development. These priorities are aligned to EU Structural Fund support.

The Ministry of the Economy and Innovation is working closely with other relevant ministries to implement the Programme, including the ministries of Culture, Transport and Communications, Health, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, and Environment as well as the Health Resort Science and Research Centre, municipalities and the private sector. Particular attention has been paid to cultural tourism, with significant investment made to support the renovation of museums, churches and other iconic places. Investment in business tourism has resulted in Vilnius becoming the host city of the Baltic Sea region’s leading annual trade show for the meeting and event industry, CONVENE. The research of natural resources has also been progressed in close co-operation with the Council of Science, while educational hiking trails and observation towers have been built to support green tourism.

A new long term Strategy for Tourism to cover the period from 2021-2031 is now in development, and will aim to tackle and prioritise key forward-looking issues, namely:

  • Developing public and private tourism infrastructure.
  • Creating and developing attractive tourism routes.
  • Improving Lithuania’s accessibility.
  • Increasing qualifications and improving entrepreneurial skills.
  • Developing certification and accreditation schemes for services providers.
  • Developing the information database holding details of Lithuania’s tourism product.
  • Co-operating with neighbouring countries to implement joint marketing activity.
  • Creating tourism clusters to deliver joint public and private tourism marketing projects.
  • Increasing the supply of shoulder and off-season cultural events and attractions.

Growing innovation, rapid modernisation and many emerging challenges for the development of tourism require highly qualified workforce. To this end, further investment is prioritised to develop the required skills, including improved language, sales and marketing skills, professionalism and intercultural competence.

Particular efforts are needed to increase the competitiveness of rural tourism, as the development of specialised rural tourism services represent a major challenge. Small scale rural tourism appears of little interest to most tour operators and travel agencies, but it has great potential for Lithuania. In order to promote exports of rural tourism and green ecotourism services, the Government is focused on supporting and improving the existing online rural tourism promotion channels in international markets and introducing operator sales training. As more niche tourism products arrive into the market, special attention will be given to supporting areas such as gastronomy, bird watching and tourism of nuclear energy sites.

As part of efforts to identify the most effective ways to increase the competitiveness of the tourism sector, and prepare sustainable tourism development guidelines, Lithuania is working with neighbouring countries in the Baltic Sea Region to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals as they apply to tourism .

Daha Fazla Göster

ant

Media and News

İlgili Makaleler

Bir cevap yazın

E-posta hesabınız yayımlanmayacak. Gerekli alanlar * ile işaretlenmişlerdir

Başa dön tuşu
Kapalı
Kapalı