Latvia should forget being a bridge between East and West

LATVIA – TOURISM

According to the Investment and Development Agency, The Latvian Tourism Forum took place on December 8 at the Devons Cultural Centre in Sigulda with heated debates involving 608 participants. The forum sought answers to the question how to balance quality and price in the tourism industry, understanding that Latvia cannot be a mass tourism destination.

Latvia should forget being a bridge between East and West

Digitalisation will be a goal and challenge for the tourism industry next year. Entrepreneurs who invest in digital competence will be able to adapt more quickly to the new situation. Government support will also be available for this in 2023.

The importance of environmental, social and economic sustainability is growing every year, especially in the context of recent years. Travel writer, lecturer and journalist Doug Lansky told the forum what pitfalls to avoid when planning a sustainability strategy. As a tourism business strategist, he also shared his recommendations on how Latvia can promote itself in the current geopolitical situation that has affected the flow of tourism in general.

«Discounts will not make people change their minds if they fear for their safety. Rather the desire to support this country might encourage them to come», said D. Lanskis.

The forum ended with a discussion whose task was to determine Latvia’s current position. «We should forget the phrase ‘we are a bridge between the West and the East’», Eriks Lingeberzins, associate professor at Turība Business School, voiced his opinion during the discussion.

«Latvia is not a part of Scandinavia and never will be, but what we can strive for is a Nordic way of thinking», the panelists admitted. Participants agreed that they do not want to go for mass tourism to make up for lost tourist flows from the East, but rather they should strengthen their identity, raise their values, and then tourists will appreciate it too and will pay more…

The forum also welcomed the best authors of student research papers who participated in the announced competition. The aim is to promote research and analysis of the Latvian tourism sector, as well as to encourage students to do research in the field of tourism.

According to the rules, the competition was open to the authors of works by higher education institutions accredited by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia.

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