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RESOURCES: PAPERS & PRESENTATIONS
|Author :||Kir Kuščer & Domen Trobec|
|School/Work Place :||University of Ljubljana, Slovenia|
The global economic and financial crisis could be seen as old news according to the UNWTO’s data on international tourist arrivals. Europe recorded a solid 5% growth in 2013, and Mediterranean countries performed even better with 6% growth in international tourist arrivals (UNWTO, 2014). However, tourism in Mediterranean countries has been fluctuating in recent years; the growth rate in international tourism arrivals was 8% in 2011 and a modest 2% in 2012 (UNWTO, 2013). Even more troubling is the fact that although the numbers of tourists are rising, their habits (both in leisure and business tourism) have changed during economic slow-down (less expenditure for different services during their stay, travelling closer to home and making reservations online and either at first or last minute (WTTC, 2011; Blanke & Chiesa, 2013; Papatheodorou, Rosselló & Xiao, 2010), which creates serious problems in the tourism industry. Many companies acquired huge debts in the boom period before the crisis (pre-2008), which has weakened them, as has lower tourism expenditure. Although tourism was not affected as much as, for example, international trade or industrial production, due to the fact that destocking did not take place, the recovery might take longer since there is no stock-building process in tourism. Governments will have to acknowledge the huge debt burden resulting from increasing taxes and cutting public spending and reduce it. Moreover, lower expenditure has led to price wars and liquidity problems, and an inability to carry out necessary investments, especially in net working capital (Smeral, 2009).
Debates within the ECB and Euro Area and among globally distinguished scholars, such as Miller and Stieglitz’s (2010) paper over asset bubbles, have revealed that the economies of European Mediterranean countries have had serious struggles due to asset bubbles and structural imbalances in their economies (revealed by the global economic and financial crisis), but they do not specify in detail the impact and nature of these and other more specific effects regarding industry subsectors (including the tourism sector and its subsectors). Tourism being one of the key sectors in Mediterranean countries (UNWTO, 2013), our purpose is to show the differences in performance within the tourism sector and give policymakers an appropriate basis for designing policy tools in order to stimulate the analysed sector. Our goal is to identify the subsectors’ specific characteristics influencing the above-average performance of these subsectors, i.e. identifying and specifying tourism subsector champions based on capital and asset structure.