Golunov Sergei, Zotova M.
Inbound Tourism to Post-Soviet De Facto States. Izvestiya Rossiiskoi Akademii Nauk. Seriya Geograficheskaya. 2021;85(5):699-713. (In Russ.)
Publication Type:

DOI 10.31857/S2587556621050125

The paper is devoted to regional features of the development of inbound tourism in six post-Soviet de facto states–Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, South Ossetia, and Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. The authors consider territorial structures of tourism in these republics, the relevant quantitative indicators, and dynamics. The current state of these republics’ tourism sectors has been assessed using SWOT analysis methods focusing on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that hinder the tourism business development. Special attention is paid to the group of those republics (Abkhazia, Transnistria, and Nagorno-Karabakh before 2020) where tourism was developed better than in other cases due to both their accumulated tourism potentials and available resources and relatively stable military and political conditions. For these republics, inbound tourism is an important source of income and a means to enhance one’s external legitimacy. Inbound tourism potentials of other post-Soviet de facto states (South Ossetia, Donetsk, and Lugansk people’s republics, and also the Nagorno-Karabakh after the 2020 war) are greatly limited by their weak recreation and financial resources, high risks of political and economic destabilization, and external threats. As opposed to tourism development prospects for internationally recognized states, similar prospects for de facto states are largely determined by security issues and the risk of resumption of hostilities. The comparison of the tourism business in post-Soviet recognized states with similar businesses in other de facto states made it possible to identify similar groups distinguished by common types of tourism, kinds of tourist attractors, contributions of tourism to national GDPs, and by numbers of received tourists. In Abkhazia, Palestine, and Northern Cyprus the most widespread kinds of tourism are beach and cultural tourism that annually attract 1 to 2 million of tourists, who usually come from a neighbor recognized state for a one-day tour. Tourism in Transnistria and Kosovo is less popular: cultural attractions of each of the two republics are visited by some 25 thousand tourists per year. Finally, in Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, Azad Kashmir, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, and Nagorno-Karabakh (after the 2020 war) only extreme and military tourisms are developed because of unstable military and political conditions, while the number of tourists does not exceed 1 thousand per year.

Theoretical section was prepared by S.V. Golunov with the support of the Russian Science Foundation (project no. 19-17-00232). Data collection and SWOT analysis were carried out by S.V. Golunov and M.V. Zotova with the support of the Russian Science Foundation (project no. 19-17- 00232). Section “State of the industry, quantitative indicators and spatial differentiation” was prepared by M.V. Zotova within the framework of the state-ordered research theme of the Institute of Geography RAS, project no. 0148-2019-0008 (AAAA-A19-119022190170-14) “Problems and Prospects of the Russia’s Territorial Development in Terms of Its Unevenness and Global Instability”.


Keywords: inbound tourism | de facto states | Abkhazia | South Ossetia | Nagorno-Karabakh | Transnistria | Donetsk People’s Republic | Lugansk People’s Republic |

Russian Science Citation Index


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