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First Base is the equivalent of an 'Editorial'. It is the opportunity for S & A to provide comment and provoke discussion on topical issues relating to leisure and tourism. This will be provided each month and we would welcome your feedback on the matters raised.

First Base 26: The New Tourism Geography in Europe

Date: 25/8/2004

There is a major challenge to the traditional order!! The tourism map of Europe is now changing at a pace hitherto unknown even in such a dynamic industry as this.

The momentum is driven by two main factors:

(i) the emergence of the low cost airlines and, especially, their willingness to cast aside traditional business models;
(ii) the innovation taking place in destinations where either traditional tourism businesses realise that they have to be more creative or in those destinations where there is a youthful approach to tourism planning borne out of recent civil strife.

Both of these motivations are strong catalysts of change. Both inject energy and enthusiasm to the tourism system. Both are borne out of a need to reinvigorate their tourism industry.

In Europe S & A has identified two significant new regions of tourism development driven by these two factors. This is the ‘new geography of tourism in Europe’:

(i) an arc from Hamburg through Prague to Bratislava;

(ii) an arc from Milan through Ljublijana to Dubrovnik.

These are new tourism regions without borders where tourists have easy access by way of numerous low cost services and where there is a commonality in the product generally based upon either (a) high quality, shared, natural resources (such as the Alpine environment in (ii) above) or (b) a shared, cultural heritage omnipresent in (i) above.

In analysis it is clear that the low cost airline business is a fundamental driver of this new geography. Given the ability to link/hub low-cost routes, where will the next generation of ‘tourism without borders new destinations’ emerge in Europe? Well, here are our thoughts …

(i) an arc from Helsinki through Tallinn and Riva to Copenhagen;

(ii) an arc from Bratislava through Krakow to Athens.

Watch this space with interest!!

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