Inbound tourism in Latvia during three decades of independence: Development phases, key drivers and challenges

Aija Van der steina, Maija Rozite, Jeff Jarvis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This article reviews the development of inbound tourism in Latvia over the three decades following the restoration of its independence following occupation by the USSR. The analysis uses the tourist area life cycle framework, which describes tourism development and factors during different development stages. The first stage can be described as the post 1991–2000 “economic pivot and transition phase”, where the orientation of the tourism economy shifted from east to west. Secondly, a “tourism boom phase” occurred between 2001–2009, bookended by the commencement of the EU transition process and concluding with the global financial crisis in Europe. Thirdly, a “managed growth phase” was characterised by a period of steady growth of the tourism economy. This phase included the demand surge associated with Riga becoming the European Union’s “capital of culture” and greater integration with external industry trends, concluding with the COVID-19 crisis of 2020. The article describes the crucial developmental factors and challenges in each development phase of post-independence inbound tourism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136 - 146
Number of pages11
JournalFolia Geographica
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2024


  • tourist area life cycle, tourism development, inbound tourism, Latvia

Cite this