Tourism Development in the Western Balkans: Towards a Common Policy

Annual Review of Territorial Governance in the Western Balkans, II, 2020, 24-45 Journal

Enrico Porfido


Tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the global economy. Most countries are relying on it for their economic growth, including Western Balkan countries, which are investing in tourism and considering it as key-sector for their development. In the last decade, several initiatives have been undertaken by national governments, such as reviews of tourism strategic plans, tourism communication campaigns, and the creation of national tourism brands.

This contribution aims to provide a complete framework of public tourism policies in the region through the comparison of the strategies undertaken by each country. Later, countries will be then grouped by policies’ characteristics and analysed according to additional indicators, such as amount of investments, policies’ evaluation and implementation, and tourism numbers trends.

Preliminary findings indicate that Western Balkan countries are adopting similar tourism policies in terms of objectives, products, and investments. This fact may lead policymakers to consider the differences and unique features of their respective territories and generate competition among neighbouring countries, which are consequently obliged to contend for the same tourism market. In such a context, the conclusions and recommendations of this work point to the possibility of a common tourism policy in order to join efforts and to jointly address the region’s competitiveness on a global scale.

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