Tourism Life Cycle of Spas from the Hungarian - Romanian Crossborder Area. A Comparative Analysis of the Hajduszoboszlo-Baile Felix/1 Mai Spas

By Corina-Florina, Tatar; Klára, Czimre et al. | Journal of Travel and Tourism Research (Online), Spring 2013 | Go to article overview

Tourism Life Cycle of Spas from the Hungarian - Romanian Crossborder Area. A Comparative Analysis of the Hajduszoboszlo-Baile Felix/1 Mai Spas


Corina-Florina, Tatar, Klára, Czimre, Olivier, Dehoorne, Journal of Travel and Tourism Research (Online)


Abstract

The study aims, based on Butler's (2006) concept referring to tourism area life cycle, to define on which stage (exploration, involvement, development, consolidation, stagnation, decline or rejuvenation) the polarizing spas from the Hajdu-Bihar (Hungary)-Bihor (Romania) Euroregion are found. In this scope statistical data such as the tourist flow, overnights, origin market, length of stay were tracked, collected, analyzed and interpreted on a period stretching from 1990-2012 thus highlighting the spas' life cycle trend. The parallel life cycle analysis of the surveyed spas from the euroregion reveals a great dynamism; Hajduszoboszlo being a newer spa (85 year-spa culture) has reached a redevelopment stage whereas its older counterparts, i.e. Baile Felix (16th century) and 1 Mai spas have undergone more stages along the axis of their life cycle and reached a stagnation stage.

Keywords: Crossborder tourism, Hajuszoboszlo-Bàile Felix/1 Mai spas, tourism life cycle of spas

Introduction

Crossborder cooperation in Central and Eastern European former communist countries comes to the forefront in the economic, social and political shpere as a modem trend of changing the borders' role from divergent separation into convergent connecting lines (flies, 2003), one of its stated objectives being to prevent the isolation of border areas (Czimre, 2010). Tourism relies on the movement of people and it does not stop at borders, on the contrary the latter act as convergent lines as in the case of the Hajdu-BiharBihor Euroregion (the analyzed spas, i.e. Hajduszoboszlo from Hungary - Bàile Felix/1 Mai from Romania belong to the latter euroregion). Tourism as the tertiary sector of the economy is a source of revenue and most tourist destinations will attempt to capture tourist flows, which are not oriented randomly toward certain destinations but as a consequence of the effort of certain states' policies and planning strategies (Hall 2008). Many resorts were not often initially planned as integrated developments nor were any planning strategies carried out. Many of these places are now undergoing redevelopment and applying controls in order to improve their environmental quality and economic viability. One method which is included in tourism planning strategies is Butler's (2006) tourism area life cycle which allows a tourist product/destination to determine the stage in which it is found since its early consumption trends. Revealing certain stages (i.e. stagnation) on the evolutionary time line of tourist products/destinations can prompt stakeholders and predict its future direction (i.e. rejuvenation or decline), therefore setting the right diagnosis of a spa (certain stage on the life span) can help its future development.

Research Purpose

The study aims, based on Butler's (2006) concept referring to tourism area life cycle, to define on which stage (exploration, involvement, development, consolidation, stagnation, decline or rejuvenation) the spas from the Hajdu-Bihar-Bihor Euroregion are found. The study results may serve future potential investors in tourism in the two resorts so that they can have an image on past and present visitation trends and their interpretation. Within the newly-created euroregion (i.e. 1997) (Ilies, 2004) which comprise the two spas, local authorities have implemented and are also currently unfolding many mutual projects.

The determination of the analyzed resorts' life span will allow the elaboration of conclusions and recommendation for the spas' tourist consumption and production trends. It is important to carry out such analysis as at a global scale most resorts were not often initially planned as integrated developments and at present many are facing environmental and economic problems. Seen in this integrative perspective tourism consumption trends in the spas of the Hajdu-Bihar-Bihor Euroregion are analyzed (by the determination of their stage on the life cycle) and recommendations are formulated so as to make them more economically and environmentally viable. …

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