The Baltic Region

2022 Vol. 14 №1

Back to the list Download the article

Towards a classification of transboundary tourist and recreation mesoregions in the Baltic region



In the wake of the Covid-10 pandemic, the Baltic region saw a dramatic reduction in tourist flows in 2000—2021; the decrease was as much as tenfold in some destinations. This study aims to classify the 16 transboundary tourist and recreational mesoregions of the Baltic region according to 2019 tourist flows. The research evaluates, for the first time, the 2020—2021 decline in tourist flows across these regions. The main outcome of this study is grouping the mesoregions into three orders according to the size of 2019 tourist flows. Four mesoregions were assigned to the first order (with over 500,000 arrivals), three of them located in the southwest Baltic region; nine, the second order (from 100,000 to 500,000 arrivals); three, the third order (from 50,000 to 100,000 arrivals). The most substantial fall in tourist flows occurred in 2020—2021 in the mesoregins including Sweden and Russia and the least marked in those involving Denmark, Germany, Finland, Estonia and Latvia. The findings may help track the future restoration of transboundary tourist flows in the countries of the Baltic region.


1. Korneevets, V. 2008, The concepts of “countries of the Baltic region” and “Baltic region”, Cosmopolis, no. 2, p. 68—77 (In Russ.).

2. Timothy, D. J. 2001, Tourism and political boundaries London, Routledge, 240 p.

3. Cudny, W. 2009, Tourism and its role in the integration of divided regions, Region and Regionalism, no. 9 (2), p. 161—166.

4. Honkanen, A., Pitkanen, K., Hall, M. C. 2016, A local perspective on cross-border tourism. Russian second home ownership in Eastern Finland, International Journal of Tourism Research, vol. 18, no. 2, p. 149—158. doi:

5. Stepanova, S. V. 2019, Factors of development of border tourism in related territories of Russia and Finland, Pskovskij regionologicheskij zhurnal [Pskov Journal of Regional Studies], no. 4 (40), p. 106—114. doi: (In Russ.).

6. Stepanova, S. V. 2019, The Northern Ladoga region as a prospective tourist destination in the Russian—Finnish borderland: historical, cultural, ecological and economic aspects, Geographia Polonica, vol. 92, no. 4, p. 409—428. doi:

7. Stepanova, S. V. 2019, Factors underpinning the development of tourism in Russian—Finnish borderland areas, Przeglad Geograficzny, vol. 91, no. 4, p. 573—587. doi:

8. Prokkola, E.-K. 2007, Cross‐border Regionalization and Tourism Development at the Swedish—Finnish Border: “Destination Arctic Circle”, Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, vol. 7, no. 2, p. 120—138. doi:­200710.1080/15022250701226022.

9. Prokkola, E.-K. 2008, Resources and barriers in tourism development: cross-border cooperation, regionalization and destination building at the Finnish—Swedish border, Fennia, vol. 186, no. 1, p. 31—46.

10. Opstad, L., Hammervold, R., Idsø, J. 2021, The Influence of Income and Currency Changes on Tourist Inflow to Norwegian Campsites: The Case of Swedish and German Visitors, Economies, no. 9 (3). doi:

11. Große, J., Fertner, C., Carstensen, T. A. 2019, Compensatory leisure travel? The role of urban structure and lifestyle in weekend and holiday trips in Greater Copenhagen, Case Studies on Transport Policy, vol. 7, no. 1, p. 108—117. doi:

12. Więckowski, M., Timothy, D. J. 2021, Tourism and an evolving international boundary: Bordering, debordering and rebordering on Usedom Island, Poland—Germany, Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, no. 22. doi:

13. Cyargeenka, A. 2021, Changes in cross-border tourist traffic on the Poland—Belarus border, as exemplified by the Augustów Canal, Tourism, vol. 31, no. 1, p. 57— 68. doi:

14. Anisiewicz, R., Palmowski, T. 2014, Small Border Traffic and Cross-Border Tourism Between Poland and the Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian Federation, Quaestiones Geograhhicae, no. 33 (2), p. 79—86.

15. Studzieniecki, T., Palmowski, T., Korneevets, V. 2016, The System of Cross-border Tourism in the Polish—Russian Borderland, Procedia Economics and Finance, no. 39, p. 545—552.

16. Manakov, A., Kondrateva, S., Terenina, N. 2020, Development of cross-border tourist and recreational regions on the Karelian section of the Russian-finnish border, Balt. Reg., vol. 12, no. 2, p. 140—152. doi:

17. Golomidova, E. S. 2018, Cross-border tourist and recreational micro-region “Narvsky”: the specifics of formation and development prospects, Pskovskij regionologicheskij zhurnal [Pskov Journal of Regional Studies], no. 3 (35), p. 108—115 (In Russ.).

18. Golomidova, E. S. 2020, Prospects for the development of cross-border tourist and recreational regions on the border of Russia with Estonia and Latvia, Pskovskij regionologicheskij zhurnal [Pskov Journal of Regional Studies], no. 2 (42), p. 124—135 (In Russ.). doi:

19. Golomidova, E. S., Chuchenkova, O. A., Vasilyeva, T. V. 2020, Natural and cultural heritage as a resource for the development of cross-border tourism in the adjacent territories of Russia, Estonia and Latvia, Pskovskij regionologicheskij zhurnal [Pskov Journal of Regional Studies], no. 3 (43), p. 117—139 (In Russ.). doi:

20. Golomidova, E. S. 2019, Transboundary tourist and recreational region of the meso-level “Yuzhnopskovsko—Vitebsky”: the specifics of formation and development prospects, Pskovskij regionologicheskij zhurnal [Pskov Journal of Regional Studies], no. 4 (40), p. 96—105 (In Russ.). doi:

21. Kropinova, E. G. 2014, “Crossroads 2.0” project in the formation of a cross-border tourism region of the South—Eastern Baltic, Pskovskij regionologicheskij zhurnal [Pskov Journal of Regional Studies], no. 17, p. 53—59 (In Russ.).

22. Kropinova, E. G. 2010, International cooperation in the field of tourism and the formation of cross-border tourist regions in the Baltic, Vestnik BFU im. I. Kanta. Seriya: Estestvennye i meditsinskie nauki [Vestnik IKBFU. Natural and medical sciences], no. 1, p. 113—119 (In Russ.).

23. Kropinova, E. G. 2016, Transgranichny`e turistsko-rekreacionny`e regiony` na Baltike [Transboundary tourist and recreational regions in the Baltic], Kaliningrad, Immanuel Kant Russian State University, 272 p. (In Russ.).

24. Manakov, A. G., Ivanov, I. A., Chuchenkova, O. A. 2021, Classification of transboundary tourist and recreational mesoregions in the southeastern part of the Baltic macroregion, Regional`ny`e issledovaniya [Regional studies], no. 1, p. 118—129. doi: (In Russ.).

25. Manakov, A., Krasilnikova, I., Ivanov, I. 2021, Geography of inbound tourism and transboundary tourism-and-recreation region-building in Sweden, Balt, Reg., vol. 13, no. 1, p. 108— 123. doi:

26. Ivanov, I. A., Golomidova, E. S., Terenina, N. K. 2021, Influence of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Change in Volume and Spatial Structure of the Tourist Flow in Finland and Estonia in 2020, Regional Research of Russia, vol. 11, no. 3, p. 361—366. doi:

27. Korinth, B., Ranasinghe, R. 2020, COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on tourism in Poland in March 2020, GeoJournal of Tourism and Geosites, vol. 31, no. 3, p. 987—990. doi: 10.30892/gtg.31308-531.

28. Daniela, M., Smaranda, T. 2020, The International Tourism and the COVID-19 Pandemic — Present and Perspectives, “Ovidius” University Annals, Economic Sciences Series, vol. 20, no. 1, p. 433—438.

29. Korneevets, V. S. 2010, Formirovanie transgranichny`x mezoregionov na Baltike [Formation of transboundary mesoregions in the Baltic], Kaliningrad, Immanuel Kant Russian State University, 80 p. (In Russ.).