On the Approval of the National Programme for the Development of Tourism for 2003-2006


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Official translation
 
 
GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA
 
RESOLUTION No 1637
 
of 18 December 2003
 
ON THE APPROVAL OF THE NATIONAL PROGRAMME FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF TOURISM FOR 2003–2006
,
Vilnius
 
 
 
Acting in accordance with point 1 of paragraph 3 of Article 18 of the Law on Tourism of the Republic of Lithuania (Valstybės žinios (Official Gazette) No 32-852, 1998; No 123-5507, 2002), the Government of the Republic of Lithuania h a s  r e s o l v e d:
1. To approve the National Programme for the Development of Tourism for 2003-2006 (as appended);
2. To establish that implementation measures of the National Programme for the Development of Tourism for 2003-2006 shall be funded from the general appropriations allocated to the responsible bodies for a relevant year;
 
3. To recommend that local governments take part in the implementation of the National Programme for the Development of Tourism for 2003-2006 and its implementation measures;
 
4. To charge the Ministry of Economy together with the State Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Economy, with coordinating and controlling the implementation of the implementation measures of the National Programme for the Development of Tourism for 2003-2006.
 
 
 
Prime Minister                                                                                 Algirdas Brazauskas
 
 
 
Minister of Economy                                                                      Petras Čėsna
 
 
 
APPROVED by
Resolution No 1637
of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania
of 18 December 2003
 
 
NATIONAL PROGRAMME FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF TOURISM
FOR 2003–2006
 
 
I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
 
1. The purpose of the National Programme for the Development of Tourism for 2003–2006 (hereinafter referred to as the Programme) is to evaluate national tourism development trends and, taking into account national, regional and other strategic documents in the tourism sector, to identify priorities for the development of and investment in tourism in Lithuania and develop measures for the implementation of these priorities in 2003-2006.
2. The legal basis for the Programme is the Republic of Lithuania Law on Tourism (Valstybės žinios (Official Gazette) No 32-852, 1998; No 123-5507, 2002), Seimas Resolution No IX-1187 of 12 November 2002 on the National Long-Term Development Strategy (Valstybės žinios (Official Gazette) No 113-5029, 2002), Seimas Resolution No VIII-1284 of 1 July 1999 on the National Programme for the Development of Tourism (Valstybės žinios (Official Gazette) No 63-2061, 1999), Seimas Resolution No IX-1154 of 29 October 2002 on the Master Plan of the Territory of the Republic of Lithuania (Valstybės žinios (Official Gazette) No 110-4852, 2002), Government Resolution No 853 of 12 April 2002 on the Approval of the Long-Term Economic Development Strategy of Lithuania until 2015 (Valstybės žinios (Official Gazette) No 60-2424, 2002), and Government Resolution No 1713 of 29 October 2002 on the Conception for the Development of Resorts in Lithuania (Valstybės žinios (Official Gazette) No 104-4671, 2002).
The Programme has been drawn up by making use of the results of the national tourism development study. Data for the Programme have been sourced from the Department of Statistics under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the State Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Economy (hereinafter referred to as the State Department of Tourism), also from surveys of opinion among local governments and businesses.
3. Implementation measures of the National Programme for the Development of Tourism for 2003–2006 are set out in the Annex to this Programme.
4. For the purpose of the Programme, the term tourist product shall mean services and conditions aimed at satisfying the needs of a tourist journey and the aim (interest) of such a journey.
Other terms used in this Programme shall have the meanings defined in Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Tourism.
 
II. overview OF THE PRESENT SITUATION
 
5. Planning of tourism and the legal environment:
5.1. Recent years have brought about improvements in the legal environment of the tourism sector: new wording of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Tourism has introduced amendments aimed at improving the protection of consumer rights; better conditions to engage in rural tourism have been created; a mandatory classification of enterprises providing accommodation has been introduced; the Republic of Lithuania Law on Value Added Tax (Valstybės žinios (Official Gazette) No 35-1271, 2002) has established the application of a reduced rate of VAT of 5% to accommodation services provided by legal persons. However, the growth of tourist flows and the development of infrastructure is impeded by a complicated issuance of visas to tourists from Eastern markets, by insufficient incentives to invest in the protection of cultural heritage and in its adaptation for tourism purposes, by cumbersome construction authorization and project negotiation procedures, by inflexible land tax policy with respect to tourist objects that occupy large plots of land  (i.e., camping-sites, amusement parks, etc.), and different rates of the value added tax chargeable on accommodation services.
5.2. Tourism in the country is managed by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, Ministry of Economy, State Department of Tourism, county governors, and local authorities. There are 5 tourist industry associations, also independent tourism organizations, functioning on a national level.
5.3 The Council on Tourism that brings together representatives from public institutions, the Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania, tourist industry associations and independent tourism organisations has been established to address interdepartmental tourism-related issues and submit proposals to public institutions that implement national policy in the field of tourism and the National Programme for the Development of Tourism. The work of the Council on Tourism is organised in the form of ad hoc commissions.
5.4. The strategy for the development of tourism in Lithuania has been formulated as part of and incorporated into the Long-Term Economic Development Strategy of Lithuania until 2015 that has been approved by Resolution No 853 of 12 June 2002 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. The National Programme for the Development of Tourism is the principal medium-term strategic document in the field of tourism drafted by the State Department of Tourism. Until recently, two programmes were adopted and implemented: i) the first National Programme for the Development of Tourism and Its Implementation Measures for 1994-2000 approved by Resolution No 318 of 27 April 1994 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (Valstybės žinios (Official Gazette) No 33-599, 1994), and ii) the National Programme for the Development of Tourism approved by Resolution No VIII-1284 of 1 July 1999 of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, with the accompanying measures for its implementation for 2000-2002 (altogether 42 measures, 40 of which have been completely or partially implemented) approved by  Resolution No 408 of 10 April 2000 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (Valstybės žinios (Official Gazette) No 31-868, 2000). In the past years, state budgetary funding for the implementation of the National Programme for the Development of Tourism has been increased from 162 thousand litas in 1999 to 698 thousand litas in 2002 and further to 1798 thousand litas in 2003. Yet, the funding allocated was less than actually needed for the implementation of all measures under the Programme. The deficit was partially compensated with the funds of international programmes (in 2002-2003, about 28 million litas were allocated for tourist projects under PHARE and SAPARD programmes and from other international financial sources).
5.5. In 1998-2002, a number of studies on the development of tourism were conducted for various types of tourism and different types of activities, most prominent of them being the Programme for the Development of Cultural Tourism, the Programme for the Development of Rural Tourism, the Conception for the Development of Resorts in Lithuania, the Feasibility Study on the Development of the Seaside Water Tourism Infrastructure and Recreation, the Feasibility Study on the Development of the Nemunas Tourist Route, the Feasibility Study on the Development of Conference Tourism, the Feasibility Study on the National Bicycle Routes and Tourist Information Signs, the Feasibility Study on the Active Leisure in Southern Lithuania, and the National Tourism Information and Pilot Tourism Infrastructure Project.
5.6 Counties and local governments of Lithuania are now more actively involved in the strategic planning of the development of tourism. Tourism-related issues are covered separately in regional development plans drawn up or being drawn up by all counties. Counties are responsible for the coordination of quite a few tourism development projects. In 2002, counties received 15 million litas for the development of these projects, of which about 11 million litas (71%) came in the form of international grants.
5.7. 11 local governments have already drawn up their programmes for the development of tourism (12 local governments still work on them). Municipal strategic development plans with separate coverage of tourism-related issues have been prepared by 17 local governments (6 local governments still work on them). The share of funds earmarked in local government (municipal) budgets for the development of tourism is rather low, i.e. about 0.4% of their respective budgets on the average (cf. between 0.002% and 3.6% in 2002). Tourism projects involving local governments are mainly funded by PHARE programme. In 2000-2002, the Republic of Lithuania state budget allocations for tourism development measures were distributed among 5 local governments (Anykščiai region, Druskininkai, Kėdainiai region, Šiauliai, and Panevėžys). 
5.8. Tourism development management and regulation matters are administered by 32 local governments; for this purpose, tourism development units or positions have been established within local governments, or the function of coordination of tourism-related issues has been delegated to tourist information centres set up by local governments.
5.9. In the modern ideology and practice of strategic planning, the development of tourism, like any other sector of the economy, is being increasingly centred around the concept of sustainable development, with the environmental aspect being taken account of in the evaluation of any project. Yet, not all strategic planning documents pertaining to the national economy as a whole or those specific to and drawn up by local governments (including separate, tourism-specific documents) took due account of the principle of sustainable development, i.e., the compatibility of ecological, economic and social interests, which is important for the development of tourism in protected areas and resorts.
5.10. In the context of international tourism, Lithuania is recognised as a new tourist region on its own and as a part of the Baltic Sea tourist region. The most effective use of the country‘s tourist potential can be achieved in the overall context of the Baltic States region. On the national level, individual tourist products can be planned by strategically focusing on target regions and centers to be selected by taking account of the concentration of tourism resources and other local opportunities. The following regions may be considered target regions of tourism development: the geographical regions of the Seashore, the Samogitian Highlands, the Eastern Aukštaitija and the South-Eastern Dzūkija, territorial areas of Vilnius-Trakai-Kaunas, the valley of Nemunas and the following major tourist hubs: Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai and Trakai, and resorts of Druskininkai, Birštonas, Palanga and Neringa.
6. The potential of physical and human tourism resources:
6.1. Lithuania possesses a relatively big natural tourist potential which is comprised of the Seashore Natural Area and inland water bodies: lakes (2850 lakes of over 0.5 hectare each, with the total area of over 910 square kilometres) and rivers (760 rivers over 10 kilometres long each, with the total length of over 76 thousand kilometres), as well as woodlands (covering 30% of the country‘s territory). Among the most valuable and interesting natural tourist sites suitable for cultural and ecological tourism, also for rural tourism and active leisure, are 5 national parks and 30 regional parks (covering 7.5% of the country‘s territory), 254 national reservations, 101 local government reservations, and 410 natural heritage objects. The country has a uniqueness in that the geographical centre of Europe is here. The set of protected territories also comprises a number of ethnocultural heritage objects. The greatest potential for the development of tourism lies in the Seashore Natural Area, the laky woodlands of the Eastern Aukštaitija, the Southern Dzūkija and the Samogitian Highlands, and the valley of the Nemunas River. However, the opportunities to make use of these areas are poor as they are not properly adapted for tourism (poor infrastructure, short supply of sanitary facilities on beaches, neglected surroundings). Poor infrastructure does not discourage casual tourists to litter or otherwise harm the environment.
Forming a separate part of tourism resources, the abundant medical resources in health resorts are capable of satisfying great needs pertaining to healthy life and the development of resorts.
6.2. Lithuanian cultural tourism resources and ethnical culture are appreciated for their distinctiveness; however, the utilisation of this potential for tourism purposes is rather poor. Out of the total number of 10,700 registered cultural heritage units, only about 350 objects can be used for tourism, of which only one-third can be used for international tourism. The most important objects of international tourism are the old towns of Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and Kėdainiai (Vilnius Old Town and the Curonian Spit are inscribed in the UNESCO heritage list), historical heritage of Kernavė and Trakai, the Lithuanian baroque monuments and castles. A number of other units of heritage are not open for tourists (including the disabled) due to the poor infrastructure of services and public tourism. Depending on their attractiveness and condition, cultural heritage units can be restored and renovated, adapted for expositions or for the infrastructure of services and public tourism, or for a combination of expositional and infrastructural purposes. Poorly presented in tourism exhibitions, the numerous cultural events and festivals held in Lithuania do not enjoy popularity as objects of international tourism. The interesting cultural life of towns could be better used for weekend tourism. Special interest (domain-specific) objects, i.e., museums, galleries, exhibition centres, leisure and health parks, etc., constitute a significant part of national tourism resources.
6.3. According to expert assessments, about 60 thousand people (or 4% of all working population) work in the tourism sector. The development of tourism greatly contributes to the creation of jobs even in other sectors of the economy (e.g. transport, trade, financial mediation, etc.).
6.4. Workers for the tourist services sector are trained by 3 universities, 8 non-university higher schools (colleges) and 20 vocational schools in Lithuania. Non-university higher school (college) graduates are seen as best specialists in this field, whereas vocational school graduates do not enjoy great demand on the market (as revealed by employer surveys) due to the lack of practical skills and poor knowledge of modern information technologies. Schools do not pay adequate attention to fostering and improving hospitality skills in vocational training. Another problem is related to the employment of tourism specialists according to their speciality. In the Conception for the Development of Resorts, incapacity to work under market conditions (inadequate marketing and management) is identified as one of the weaknesses of sanatorium activities.
6.5. The State Department of Tourism is the key institution responsible for and organising training and improvement of qualifications of civil servants of local governments and public institutions that are in charge of the coordination and development of tourism, also other workers in the tourism sector. Training is still needed in such fields as drawing up of tourism development programmes, feasibility studies, investment projects, project implementation and monitoring (especially in local governments), marketing plans and measures. The demand for high-skilled workers and for training will particularly grow with the growing need to absorb European Union Structural Funds.
7. Tourist services and recreational activities:
7.1. At the end of 2002, accommodation services for tourists were provided by 516 accommodation enterprises offering 16.1 thousand rooms or 38.4 thousand beds. The most rapid growth is recorded in the sector of hotels and motels, whereas the sector of leisure institutions is on the fastest downward trend. In the past ten years, the number of hotels doubled and the number of motels increased 7 times, whereas the number of leisure homes dropped by over one-third. This was due to the privatisation of leisure homes. Moreover, leisure homes in resorts tend to be turned into hotels, after renovation. Yet, the condition of leisure homes in the countryside is poor; furthermore, seasonality and the incapacity to work under market conditions often discourage investments in the renovation of leisure homes and the expansion of the choice of recreational activities. Over two-thirds of all hotels are concentrated in Vilnius, Klaipėda and Kaunas, whereas 7 centres of local governments have no hotels at all (by the data as of the end of 2002). With 38% of all hotel accommodation of the country, Vilnius has the leading position in the field. By the number of hotel accommodations per 1000 people (3.3 accommodations in Lithuania), Lithuania is almost 8 times behind the EU average (25 accommodations), suggesting that the sector has a large growth potential. Major towns (with the exception of Vilnius) have an insufficient number of larger, tourist-class hotels; moreover, the quantity of hotels and the quality of services in the periphery also present a problem. The opportunity to develop motor tourism is also limited, due to an obvious shortage of motels and camping-sites (22 motels and 3 camping-sites in 2002). The quality of accommodation services in the country’s health resorts, particularly in many sanatoriums, is below international tourism standards.
7.2. The number of foreigners staying in accommodation enterprises is increasing (in 2002, they accounted for 52% of all users of accommodation services), as is the number of overnight accommodations. Citizens of Western and Central European countries (Poland and Germany, in particular) account for over one-third of all users of accommodation services, and those of CIS countries for about 10%. Two-thirds of hotel users were foreigners. Nevertheless, the total occupancy of accommodation enterprises is limited and hardly reaches 20-25% (cf. 35% in 2002). This can be explained by seasonality, as most leisure homes are closed for winter season; this fact should be taken into account in record-keeping. For hotels, there is also an issue of  weekend occupancy.
7.3. Rural tourism is considered to be the fastest-growing sector of tourist services in Lithuania. At the beginning of 2003, the number of registered rural homesteads was 287, up from 203 in 2001. According to experts, about 70 thousand people spent leisure in rural homesteads in 2002, of which foreigners accounted for about 6%. The main users of rural tourist services are local population, as foreign tourists are only discovering this type of tourism. The setting-up of the rural tourism and folk crafts information and booking system has contributed greatly to the development of rural tourism. There is a lack of rural tourist services in border areas and in the national and regional parks of the country. Many providers of rural tourist services face a challenge of overcoming seasonality and learning foreign languages; moreover, rural tourism providers are not prepared to accept the disabled and lack entrepreneurship skills. Manor houses, wind- and water mills, also other vacant buildings in villages and townships are not yet properly used for the development of rural tourism.
7.4. The fastest growth of catering enterprises is recorded in most-visited towns (Vilnius in particular) and in places close to objects of tourist attraction or to most popular tourist routes, also to the main highways of the country. The number of catering enterprises that specialise in different national cuisines is increasing. The quality of service in restaurants, especially in high-class hotels, is improving; culinary tourism routes are also gaining popularity. Nevertheless, poor knowledge of foreign languages by service workers, insufficient quality and, in rural areas, also insufficient quantity, of catering services, is still a matter of great concern.
7.5. The recreation sector has not yet become the object of tourist attraction and does not contribute to the utilisation of accommodation capacity. The recreation sector is best developed in the major towns: Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda. Large investments are planned in Vilnius and Druskininkai; however, the country still lacks larger multifunctional recreational facilities for the whole family. There are no golf courts or hippodromes, although the necessary conditions and the demand exist, as evidenced by recreational trips of Lithuanian nationals to foreign countries. There is also a lack of recreation services extending the tourism season in the country‘s resorts: amusement or aqua parks, casinos, winter events, special-interest activities (fishing, hunting, etc.), and all-inclusive packages. A lack of recreational activities is one of the most common reasons said to lower the country’s attractiveness for tourists. Seashore thermal waters could be used to set up an aqua park, which would help to deal with seasonality in the seaside region and to better use the existing potential of accommodation and catering services. For this reason, the development of recreational infrastructure in resorts should be considered as a part of the development of the public tourism infrastructure.
7.6. Key providers of tourist information services in Lithuania are 30 tourist information centres set up by local governments, 3 private tourist information centres, 15 national and regional park visitor centres, and Lithuanian tourist information agencies in Moscow (the Russian Federation) and Munster (the Federal Republic of Germany). In addition, information is provided by the Ministry of Economy’s commercial attachés in the Permanent Missions of the Republic of Lithuania to the European Union, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Republic of Poland, the French Republic, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Russian Federation, the Ukraine, also by diplomatic representations of the Republic of Lithuania. More and more tourists are using services of tourist information centres. The amount of services provided via the Internet is growing, as is the number of tourism organisations having their own websites. Several websites have been created for tourist information on the national level. However, the information is scattered, not always timely updated, lacks consistency. It would be useful to improve the presentation of information on the Internet, to maintain the National Tourism Information System and extend its capacities by enabling a speedy ordering of services.
7.7. In 2002, 323 tourist enterprises were registered as providers of travel organising services in Lithuania, including 66 travel organisers and 257 travel agencies. Half of these tourism enterprises are located in Vilnius. 204 tourism enterprises are engaged in the outbound tourism and have so far sold services to 142 thousand Lithuanians. 84 tourism enterprises operate in the inbound tourism sector; they have arranged trips to Lithuania for 96 thousand foreign tourists (8% of all foreign tourists coming to Lithuania). Due to higher operational costs, more stringent service quality standards and seasonality of activity, only 6% of all tourism enterprises in Lithuania act as travel organisers supplying travel packages for Western tourist markets.
8. Priority tourist markets and main tourist products:
8.1. The main flow of foreign tourists (80%) comes to Lithuania by roads (cf. 14% by railway and 4% and 2% by air and sea, respectively). In the past ten years, Lithuania received 32 million foreign visitors, of which tourists (with at least overnight’s stay) accounted for 29% and single-day visitors for 71%. In 2002, the number of tourists grew by 13 per cent; however, the total number of visitors went down by 4.7 per cent (to 4 million tourists) as a result of a drop of flow of single-day visitors. According to the data of the Bank of Lithuania, revenues from inbound tourism received for travel services and international carriage of passengers grew to 2 billion Litas to account for 7.5% of the goods and services export in 2002, after a downward movement in the proceeding two years.
8.2. The priority tourist markets are the neighbouring countries that are sources of the largest number of single-day visitors and the traditional sources of tourists such as the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Poland, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Finland, the Kingdom of Sweden, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Among the tourist products that enjoy the widest popularity and have the largest growth potential are active leisure, cultural, ecological, resort and rural tourist products, including conference tourism, which is popular owing to the favourable geopolitical location of the country.
8.3. The best potential for development lies in marine and inland water tourist products, since the Baltic Sea, the Curonian Lagoon and other inland water bodies provide an opportunity to develop the said and other tourist products of active leisure. The future of cruise tourism is linked with the completion of the construction of a cruise ships quay in Klaipėda and better utilisation of the seashore region‘s natural and cultural potential. However, the progress of adjusting the Klaipėda State Seaport infrastructure to service the needs of passengers and marine (yacht) tourism is too slow, and the problem of service infrastructure in the cruise ships quay remains unsolved. Due to the lack of appropriate infrastructure, the marine (yacht) tourism is unable to offer competitive products, and the seaside resort of Palanga does not avail of this possibility at all. Although tourists show an increasing interest in trips by inland water bodies, the same obstacles exist here: insufficiency and a poor quality of passenger service infrastructure (old ships, shortage of quays and small ports, non-availability of regular routes), seasonality, shortage of  accommodation close to tourist routes, and a lack of rental services. Hence, the development of marine and inland water tourist infrastructure is of great importance for the whole tourist sector of Lithuania and the priority should be attached to the improvement of accessibility of the country and of utilisation of the tourism potential.
8.4. Lithuanian cultural resources facilitate the creation of attractive cultural tourist products, including weekend trips. Currently, Lithuania’s cultural tourist products enjoy great popularity in foreign markets, and the demand for such products will only continue to grow owing to Lithuania‘s accession to the European Union. One-third of foreign tourists coming to Lithuania come with the purpose of spending holiday and exploring the cultural heritage of the country. Cultural trips are always a part of business (conference) tourism programmes. The development and supply of cultural tourist products has prompted the setting-up of cultural tourist centres in Vilnius, Kaunas, Trakai, Klaipėda and Neringa. The prospects for the establishment of new cultural tourist centres and products are good; however,  more active effort is needed to adapt cultural heritage objects for visits and for tourist infrastructure. The utilisation of these objects for tourism is a precondition for the preservation of heritage. The development of cultural tourism is to be linked with the creation of regional tourist centres and the drawing-up of public infrastructure projects on the European Council‘s cultural tourist routes (The Baroque Route, The Route of Parks and Orchards) and national cultural tourist itineraries (The Amber, The Castles and Manors, The Monasteries, Via Hanza, etc.).
8.5. The demands of tourists for healthiness, safety and privacy of recreation are increasing; therefore, tourists (especially foreigners) have a growing interest in resort-sanatorium and active leisure tourist products (bicycling or water transport trips). Over the past several years, the number of foreign tourists in resort sanatoriums has grown by 15% on the average (whereas the flow of national tourists has dropped by 19%). However, a limited supply of recreational facilities at health resorts or services on tourist routes, also underdeveloped tourist infrastructure, eliminates the opportunity to offer competitive sanatorium (rehabilitation) tourist products or active leisure products both to foreign and local tourists. The setting-up of the infrastructure for bicycle or water tourism routes is a key direction in the development of active tourist products that will stimulate the growth of private tourist industry in the countryside.
8.6. Hotels that have conference facilities have the best opportunity to expand conference tourist products: such hotels are not only able to attract clients during peak season but also to take care of their leisure activities. At the beginning of 2002, 78 hotels (34 per cent of all hotels in Lithuania) had conference facilities. Most of them (30) were in Vilnius. The number of seats in conference facilities totalled 4800. Further growth of conference facilities is underway. However, there is an absolute lack of spacious (with 2000 or more seats) stand-alone conference centres providing an opportunity to organise major international conferences. The demand for such conference centres is driven by the growing need for such services and by favourable growth projections for business (conference) tourism. Conference infrastructure could be better exploited if public authorities and organisations engaged in planning and organising international conferences, workshops or other events were more actively involved in the process and designed a special website to present and offer conference facilities to international organisations.
8.7. Weekend tourist products are offered by travel organisers, tourist information centres, and hotels. However, due to high airfares and the underdeveloped system of weekend discounts at hotels, foreign markets do not appreciate Lithuania as an attractive destination for weekend trips. The demand for weekend trips is also lowered by the lack of attractive ways of spending leisure. Thus, it is necessary to develop leisure (recreation) infrastructure, particularly in resorts, enabling the preparation of special recreation packages according to interests and the improvement of pricing policy and marketing measures. A poor choice of marine and inland water tourist products and ecotourist products and passive marketing prevent these tourist products from enjoying popularity among weekend tourists.
8.8. Protected territories have the best opportunity to develop sightseeing (cultural, ecological) tourism; therefore, it is important to adapt the protected territories for the development of sightseeing tourism (to conduct feasibility studies, create the relevant infrastructure, provide information).
8.9. The national tourism marketing policy is formulated and implemented by the State Department of Tourism according to annual marketing plans and in collaboration with central and local government authorities and representatives of the tourism industry. However, the lack of clear-cut Lithuanian tourism marketing policies and priorities obstructs the improvement of efficiency of marketing and coordination of actions. The promotion of marketing is held back by the lack of marketing surveys and continuity of measures and an integrated and systemic approach, and by weaknesses in preparing and disseminating tourist information. Among the key marketing measures implemented by the State Department of Tourism is the participation in global, regional and local tourism exhibitions, the publication of tourist literature and the implementation of other international tourism marketing projects. From 2001 on, about 1 million litas is being allocated in state budget for the formation of the national tourism image and for marketing activities annually; however, this funding is only sufficient for a supporting marketing. With a view to improving the country’s image as a tourist destination and attracting more tourists, funding of marketing tools needs to be improved in essence. It is also necessary to take measures to ensure a more active presentation of specific tourist products, to target the supply of information to individual tourists, and to double the volume of tourism-specific publications. In particular, a marketing framework must be formulated for tourism in Lithuania and its operational mechanism developed in order to promote a more active marketing in the tourism sector. 
9. SWOT analysis of the tourism sector:
9.1. The strengths of the tourism sector include a favourable geographical location, a rich and unique potential of tourism resources (cultural and natural), low urbanisation of landscape, intense ethnical links between Lithuania and neighbouring countries and the United States of America, relatively low prices of tourist services, dense network of highways, rapid development of rural tourism, emergence of international hotel chains (networks), and a functioning system of legal regulation in the field of tourism.
9.2. The weaknesses of the tourism sector include a strong impact of climatic seasonality, absence of the image as a country attractive for tourists, lack of camping-sites and recreational activity, non-adaptation of cultural heritage objects for visits and for tourism purposes, weak system of marking of and information on tourist objects, underdeveloped infrastructure of passenger transport by sea, inland waters and bicycle routes, uneven development of accommodation network, high airfares, inadequate competence of tourism administration workers and service personnel, difficulties for Eastern market tourists to come. 
9.3. The opportunities of the tourism sector include the development of international links after accession to the European Union and NATO, image of Lithuania as a new and safe tourism region, growing demand of local population for tourist services and for recreational activities and active leisure, deeper public appreciation of the importance of entrepreneurship and tourism, availability of the European Union Structural Funds, development of international economic and cultural cooperation, lower attractiveness of certain European and Asian tourism regions.
9.4. The threats of the tourism sector include the likelihood of a worsened quality of the environment, adverse impact of the unfavourable image of Lithuania, failure to use national tourism resources, growing international competition, and insufficient attention to tourism marketing.  
 
 
III. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES REGARDING THE DEVELOPMENT OF TOURISM IN LITHUANIA IN THE PERIOD UNTIL 2006
 
10. Findings of the analysis of tourism opportunities in Lithuania and of infrastructure development directions discussed in tourism-specific and other planning documents suggest that the issues to be dealt with in the development of tourism are determined by the following factors: insufficient focus on tourism planning and development of human skills on local government level, imperfect legal and economic environment in the tourist industry, underdeveloped infrastructure of marine transportation and public tourism (resulting in the failure to use tourism resources and promote the development of the tourist industry), negative impact of seasonality, limited choice of recreational activity, inadequate statistics and research in the tourist sector, shortcomings in the marketing activity and dissemination of tourist information, particularly in foreign markets. Dealing with these issues and removal of the negative factors will contribute to a more efficient formation of Lithuania’s image as a tourism country, to the employment of the country’s tourist potential, improving the competitiveness and the variety and supply of tourist services (products), and to enhancement of inbound and local tourist flows. The growing demand for tourist services will stimulate the growth of the whole tourist sector and will thus contribute to the reduction of unemployment and the solution of other social problems.
11. For the purpose of this Programme, the following three tourism development goals and the accompanying objectives for the achievement of these goals have been identified for the period until 2006:
11.1. The first goal is the creation of a system of a rational planning and management of tourism resources, to be achieved through the following objectives:
11.1.1. improvement of planning and administration of the development of tourism; and
11.1.2. development of  human skills in the tourism sector.
11.2. The second goal is the creation of public tourist infrastructure to stimulate the development of the tourist industry, to be achieved through the following objectives:
11.2.1. development of infrastructure for cultural and other types of sightseeing tourism;
11.2.2. creation of infrastructure for marine and inland waters tourism;
11.2.3. development of infrastructure for active leisure tourism;
11.2.4. development of  public infrastructure of resorts; and
11.2.5. support to the development of rural tourism.
11.3. The third goal is to improve the presentation, in international tourist markets and locally, of the country‘s tourist opportunities, to be achieved through the following objectives:
11.3.1. formation of Lithuania‘s image as a tourism country; and
11.3.2. development of the capacities of the national tourist information system.
 
 
IV. PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION EVALUATION CRITERIA AND EXPECTED RESULTS
 
12. The following evaluation criteria are set for the implementation of the Programme:
12.1. the growth of investments in tourist objects (in per cent);
12.2. the number of new (or renovated) objects of tourist services (total number of objects);
12.3. the growth of revenues in the tourist services sector from local tourism (in per cent);
12.4. new jobs in the tourism sector (in per cent);
12.5. the number of tourism development projects implemented (total number of projects);
12.6. the total growth of tourist information publications (in times);
12.7. the number of public tourism marketing measures (projects) implemented (total number); and
12.8. the growth of foreign and local tourist flows (in per cent).
13. The implementation of the Programme is expected to yield the following results: tourist flows will grow by 4%, revenues in the tourist services sector will grow by 5%, the number of places of accommodation will grow by 7%, and recreational centres will be set up in resorts and tourist centres.
 
V. FUNDING requirement
 
14. Funds for the implementation of the Programme will be subject to the financial capacity of the state budget of the Republic of Lithuania and allocated in the Laws on the Approval of Financial Indicators of the State Budget and Municipal Budgets of the Republic of Lithuania for respective years and in municipal budgets. Sources of financing will include central government funds, local government funds, European Union Structural Funds, etc. 
 
 
 
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Annex
to the National Programme for
the Development of Tourism
for 2003–2006
 
 
 
MEASURES FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NATIONAL PROGRAMME FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF TOURISM FOR 2003–2006
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Objectives
  Measures
  Responsible bodies
  Implementation dates (years)
  I. CREATION OF A SYSTEM OF A RATIONAL PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT OF TOURISM RESOURCES (first GOAL)
  1. Improvement of planning and administration of the development of tourism
  1.1. to issue recommendations for  local governments and counties to establish, within their administrative structure, units or positions for the implementation of functions in the field of tourism as provided for in the Republic of Lithuania Law on Tourism, except for those which already have them
  local governments, county governors, Ministry of the Interior    
  2003–2005
  1.2. to evaluate the feasibility of using Kaunas and Palanga airports for cheap flights
  Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Economy
  2004
  1.3. to draw up and approve methodical recommendations for the preparation of regional and local government tourism development planning documents, programmes, feasibility studies, also for the monitoring of the evaluation of the implementation thereof
  State Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Economy (hereinafter referred to as the State Department of Tourism)
  2004
  1.4. to draw up tourism development planning documents (feasibility studies, development projects) for priority tourism regions and state parks
  State Department of Tourism, State Service for Protected Areas under the Ministry of Environment (hereinafter referred to as the State Service for Protected Areas), local governments
  2004–2006
  1.5. to initiate and coordinate the preparation of feasibility studies on the adaptation of central and local government architectural heritage objects for public tourism infrastructure
  Ministry of Culture, Department of Cultural Heritage Protection under the Ministry of Culture, State Department of Tourism, county governors, local governments
  2004
  1.6. to draw up feasibility studies on tourism development of Anykščiai region, Druskininkai, Lazdijai region, Palanga, Rokiškis region, Trakai region local governments
  State Department of Tourism
  2003
  1.7. to draw up a feasibility study on the establishment of conference centres
  State Department of Tourism
  2005
  1.8. to prepare and approve a procedure for the numbering of bicycle routes
  Ministry of Transport and Communications, State Department of Tourism
  2003–2004
  1.9. to draw up feasibility studies on the development of water tourism in Eastern and Southern Lithuania
  State Department of Tourism, State Service for Protected Areas
  2003–2004
  1.10. to draw up a feasibility study on the development of Palūšė tourism centre
  State Department of Tourism, State Service for Protected Areas
  2003
  1.11. to draw up a feasibility study on the development of motor tourism (camping-sites) in Western Lithuania
  State Department of Tourism
  2003
  1.12. to draw up a feasibility study on the development of ecotourism
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Environment
  2005
  1.13. to conduct researches into the curative effect of the natural resources of Lithuanian resorts and monitor the utilisation of the resources
  Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment
  2004–2006
  1.14. to draw up a study on legal regulation of the status of Lithuanian resorts  and propose relevant legislation to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania
  Ministry of Economy, State Department of Tourism
  2003–2004
  1.15. to draw up a feasibility study on the demilitarisation of the military historical heritage (Kaunas Fortress) and its adaptation for tourism purposes
  Kaunas County Governor, State Department of Tourism
  2006
  1.16. to implement measures for the improvement of tourism statistics and establish a system of criteria for the evaluation of the development of the tourism sector
  Department of Statistics under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the Department of Statistics), Ministry of Economy, State Department of Tourism
  2004–2006
  1.17. to perform annual tourist surveys aimed at assessing tourist flows (market) and the quality of tourist services as well as tourism revenues, and provide information to international tourist organisations and other relevant parties
  Department of Statistics, Ministry of Economy, State Department of Tourism
  2003–2006
  2. Development of human skills in the tourism sector
  2.1. to conduct a research on into the demand for tourism and recreation specialists
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Social Security and Labour, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Education and Science
  2004–2005
  2.2.to perform an assessment of professional qualifications and, based on the results, upgrade, according to international standards, training curricula for tourism and recreation specialists at vocational schools, non-university higher schools (colleges) and universities
  Ministry of Education and Science, State Department of Tourism    
  2004–2005
  2.3. to develop new tourism training (methodical) measures
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Education and Science
  2003–2006    
  2.4. to draw up and approve a conception for the development of human resources in tourism
  Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Education and Science, State Department of Tourism
  2005
  2.5. to set up an information and training system for the  tourist industry and local governments on the utilisation of the European Union Structural Funds for the development of tourism
  Ministry of Economy, State Department of Tourism    
  2004–2006
  II. creation of public tourist infrastructure to stimulate the development of THE tourist industry   (SECOND GOAL)
  3. Development of infrastructure for cultural and other types of sightseeing tourism    
  3.1. to coordinate the preparation of projects regarding the adaptation  of cultural heritage objects for tourism purposes according to the requirements of the Single Programming Document, and propose them for financing by the European Union Structural Funds
  Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Economy, State Department of Tourism    
  2004–2006    
  3.2. to draw up a project for the development of Via Baltica tourist infrastructure, primarily focussing on the utilisation of cultural heritage (manor houses, mills, etc.) for tourism purposes
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Economy, local governments
  2005
  3.3. to draw up projects for the creation of public infrastructure for the European Council‘s cultural tourist routes (The Baroque Route, The Route of Parks and Orchards) and national cultural tourist itineraries (The Amber, The Castles and Manors, The Monasteries, Via Hanza, etc.)
  Ministry of Culture, Department of Cultural Heritage Protection under the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Transport and Communications, State Department of Tourism, local governments
  2004–2006
  3.4. to draw up a project for the development of public tourism infrastructure in the geographical centre of Europe, to be financed by the European Union Structural Funds
  Vilnius County Governor, State Department of Tourism    
  2004-2006
  4. Creation of infrastructure for marine and inland waters tourism
  4.1. to draw up infrastructure projects for inland water tourist routes (based on feasibility studies)
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Environment
  2004–2006
  4.2. to assess the condition of and register small ports and quays in the Curonian Lagoon, and initiate proposals concerning possible restoration thereof
  Ministry of Transport and Communications, Klaipėda County Governor, local governments
  2005–2006
  4.3. to draw up feasibility studies on the renovation of marine yacht quays in Klaipėda and Šventoji and prepare construction projects to be financed by the European Union Structural Funds
  Klaipėda County Governor, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Environment, local governments of Klaipėda and Palanga
  2004–2006    
  4.4. to implement a pilot project of construction of the Nemunas quays (the project is implemented under the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme)
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Economy, local governments
  2003–2006
  4.5. to draw up and submit to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania a draft resolution on the measures aimed at ensuring the functioning of the Nemunas quays
  Ministry of Economy, State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Transport and Communications, local governments
  2004
5. Development of infrastructure for active leisure tourism    
  5.1. to initiate the drawing up of the priority bicycle routes projects identified in the feasibility study on the system of bicycle routes in Lithuania and propose them for financing by the European Union Structural Funds
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Economy, local governments
  2004–2005
  5.2. to draw up and implement infrastructure projects for pedestrian and bicycle routes and other objects in national and regional parks
  State Service for Protected Areas, local governments
  2003–2006
  5.3. to implement a bicycle route project in  Western Lithuania (under PHARE project)
  State Department of Tourism, local governments
  2003–2005
  5.4. to recommend to expand the network of beaches in compliance with the “Blue Flag“ requirements and the Hygiene Norm 92:1999 Beaches and Their Bathing Sites approved by Order No 307 of 25 June 1999 of the Minister of Health (Valstybės žinios (Official Gazette) No 58-1907, 1999), and implement projects on the creation of beach infrastructure
  local governments, State Department of Tourism, State Service for Protected Areas
  2004–2006
  5.5. to issue recommendations for local governments to draw up and implement infrastructure projects for tourist routes (holiday-camps, camping-sites) and other active leisure activities by making use of the European Union Structural Funds 
  local governments, State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Economy
  2004–2006
  5.6. to draw up a scheme of national motor tourism routes and implement measures for the creation of routes infrastructure
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Environment
  2005
  6. Development of  public infrastructure of resorts
  6.1. to draw up projects (project proposals) for the public infrastructure of resorts to minimise the factor of seasonality, to be financed by the European Union Structural Funds
  Ministry of Economy, local governments of resort regions    
  2004–2006    
  6.2. to draw up a feasibility study on the utilisation of the seashore geothermic water for an aqua park
  State Department of Tourism, Klaipėda County Governor    
  2004
  6.3. to strengthen public order measures and public order forces  in resorts  (and main tourist hubs) during peak season
  Police Department under the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Economy, local governments of resort regions
  2004–2006
  7. Support to the development of rural tourism
  7.1. to draw up a project  for  the installation of road signs of rural tourism, objects of interest and other services, to be financed by the European Union Structural Funds
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Transport and Communications, local governments, State Service for Protected Areas    
  2003–2006    
  7.2. in implementing the Gravel Roads Paving Programme, to give priority to the roads located in the tourist regions specified in the Programme (to facilitate the accessibility of rural tourism objects)
  Ministry of Transport and Communications, State Department of Tourism, local governments
  2004–2006    
  7.3. to identify priorities and set up the procedure for supporting rural tourism, folk crafts and other alternative activities in the countryside, and to monitor the development of these activities
  Ministry of Agriculture, State Department of Tourism, State Service for Protected Areas    
  2004
  III. improvement of the presentation, in international tourist markets and locally, of the country‘s tourist opportunities (THIRD GOAL)
  8. Formation of Lithuania‘s image as a tourism country
  8.1. to establish a system for the formation of Lithuania’s image as a tourist country and set up measures for its implementation
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs    
  2004    
  8.2. to draw up annual tourism marketing plans and monitor the implementation of marketing measures
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Economy
  2003–2006
  8.3. to present tourism opportunities of Lithuania in international tourist exhibitions
  Ministry of Economy, State Department of Tourism, local governments, State Service for Protected Areas    
  2003–2006
  8.4. to prepare, publish and distribute publications on Lithuania and its tourist products
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Economy, local governments, State Service for Protected Areas    
  2004–2006
  8.5. to organise tourist industry missions
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Economy, local governments
  2003–2006
  8.6. to take part in the work of the European Travel Commission, Baltic Sea Tourism Commission, World Tourism Organisation
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs    
  2003–2006
  8.7. to support participation of local governments in the European Federation of Conference Towns
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Economy, local governments
  2004–2006
  8.8. to prepare and implement special marketing measures for marine tourism
  State Department of Tourism, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Economy, local governments
  2003–2006
  8.9. to set up an Internet website for conference tourism
  State Department of Tourism
  2004
  8.10. to conduct researches into the efficiency of marketing measures
  State Department of Tourism
  2003–2006
  8.11. to organise a competition for the most successful tourist project, publication, website, research or other event of the year
  State Department of Tourism, local governments
  2003–2006
  9. Development of the capacities of the national tourist information system
  9.1. to issue recommendations for  the establishment of tourist information centres (visitor centres) in local governments (state parks), and integrate them into the National Tourism Information System
  local governments, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of the Interior, State Department of Tourism, State Service for Protected Areas
  2003–2006
  9.2. to work out a conception and an economic justification for the establishment of tourist information centres (agencies) abroad
  State Department of Tourism
  2004
  9.3. to establish three tourist information centres (agencies) of Lithuania in the priority foreign tourist markets
  Ministry of Economy, State Department of Tourism, local governments
  2004–2006
  9.4. to implement the National Tourism Information System project and ensure sustainability of the system
  State Department of Tourism
  2003–2006
 
 
 
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