Mechkovskaya O. A. — lecturer of the Department of economic geography of foreign countries of the geographical faculty of the Belarusian state University
Study of issues related to the economic importance of international tourism in transition economies is of particular relevance. Currently, the States of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are, first of all, before selecting the export specialization, secondly, before restructuring of the unprofitable traditional industries, focusing on new products for export, as well as to new activities in services and international trade. At the same time, the majority of researchers working on issues of international tourism (I. I. Pirozhnik, 1996; G. A. Papiryan, 1998; Zorin I. V., Kvartalnov V. A., 2001; A. Y. Alexandrova, 2001, 2002) and noting the high profitability of foreign tourists and show large benefits arising from the development orientation of the economy towards tourism international specialization compared to the specialization in traditional exports.
International tourism is considered an effective form of exports, which is implemented throughout the country in all places of service of foreign tourists in the exercise of basic (accommodation, food, transport) and additional (Spa treatments, excursions, sports and tourist and recreational activities) of goods and services required for tourism consumption. Economic efficiency of international tourism relates primarily to the income currencies that improves the balance of payments and contributes to the revitalization of the economy of individual regions and entire countries. If you have a negative balance of payments the country’s income from international tourism can serve as an important source of its alignment. Focus on the creation of export tourism sector contributes to the development of the natural values of the country, which in tourism increases its economic efficiency. The production of tourist goods and services is particularly necessary for countries in the stage of development of market relations. These countries have cheaper labor force, have relatively low prices on food, can develop the production of goods and services with minimal need for imported [1; 2; 6; 8; 9]. Such a path of development among countries in CEE have gone Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Poland, Bulgaria. Intensification of tourism is relevant for countries with an insufficient influx of foreign currency. As a result of the expenditure of foreign tourists the tourism sector compared to other industries delivers faster currency.
Market reforms in CEE countries led to dynamic development of the tourism sector, which began to have a significant impact on the economies of the region . The average annual growth rate foreign exchange earnings from international tourism in the region during the period 1991–2000 — the highest in the world and constitute is 146.1%. In absolute terms, the income from international tourism in the region has increased over this period in 2,5 times, and at present are annually about 30 billion dollars. [10-12]. The share of tourism receipts in GDP of the region has changed from 1.6% in 1993 to 4.1% in 2000, the Significant role played by tourism and in exports of goods and services: in 1999 the share of revenues in total exports of the region was 16.7% (in 1993 — 7.3%) (table). At the same time, the nature and extent of the influence of tourist revenues and expenditures on the national economy of different countries there are significant imbalances, due to the efficiency of market transformations .
The economic importance of international tourism can be estimated as by analyzing its functions in the economic complex of the country and studying the impact of tourist receipts and expenditure on national balance of payments of the CEE countries.
Analysis of economic indicators of the share of tourism receipts in GDP and in total exports reveals the changing roles of tourism in the economic complex of the country. These tables allow to establish threshold values to identify the different features of tourism. So, if the share of incomes from tourism in GDP amounts to more than 5.5 %, and exports — more than 11%, it can be argued that tourism in the economy of this country is the specialization of the industry and one of the leading sectors of the economy. During the 1990s, this situation is different from Poland, Croatia and the Czech Republic. By the end of the ten-year period of market transformations international tourism has become a branch of industry in most CEE countries (see table). If the share of incomes from tourism in GDP ranges from 1 to 5.5%, and exports — from 4 to 11% and these figures increase, then we can talk about the dynamic development of the tourism sector and that tourism has an important export function, and help reduce deficit of balance of payments and stimulating the development of other sectors of the economy (an optional feature). Since the late 1990s, the situation is similar in Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia (see table) — countries that differ more protracted period of socio-economic crisis and in which the formation of the tourist sector started later than in Central Europe. Related function (the share of tourism revenues in GDP is less than 1%, exports — less than 4%) indicates that tourism does not play a significant role in the economy of the country, as a negative tourist balance only exacerbates the deficit in the overall balance of payments of the country. In such countries (Belarus, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania) the most urgent is the development of active tourism, with appropriate consideration of the positive experience of CEE countries in shaping the tourism sector.