The article explores opportunities for the sustainable economic development of coastal territories in the Baltic Sea region (BSR) arising in blue economy sectors in the framework of digital transformation. The study argues that a more active commercialisation of territorial resources can facilitate the sustainable economic development of the BSR coastal territories, following digitally-driven innovations. The paper provides an overview of methodological approaches to territorial sustainability. It also assesses the 2009—2018 level of the socio-economic development of the BSR coastal territories, underpins the importance of the blue economy and highlights the role of digital transformation in reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the BSR through digitally-driven innovations. A comparative and problem-targeted statistics analyses show significant differences in the level and dynamics of socio-economic development in the BSR coastal territories with their GRP per capita being generally lower than the national or macroregional average. A review of literature on sustainable development in the BSR has shown that a more active use of unique resources of the coastal territories along with a technology-driven growth of blue economy sectors can counterbalance the negative impact of the territories’ uneven development on the progress towards the SDGs in the BSR. Increasing the competitiveness of the BSR coastal territories requires investment in digital solutions in the blue economy sectors and the creation of a communication infrastructure. The review of key innovations in the blue economy sectors shows that their implementation gives impetus to other industries by reducing costs, creating new jobs, and improving the quality of products and services.
This article explores the features and trends in inbound and outbound tourism flows between Ukraine and the Baltic Sea region (BSR) countries in 2012—2019. The research question is whether inbound our outbound tourism prevailed and how visa-free travel to the Schengen Area affected the number of Ukrainians travelling to the Baltic Sea Region. Two data sources were used in the study. These are the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum and data from the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine on the number of foreign citizens visiting Ukraine and the number of Ukrainians travelling abroad. The study employs the statistical methods of structural shifts analysis, time series analysis, and graphical visualisation. The findings indicate that Ukrainian outbound tourism was growing steadily over the study period, whilst visa-free travel to the Schengen Area had no statistically significant impact on the number of outbound tourists from Ukraine to the BSR. Outbound tourism flow prevailed over inbound. The number of inbound tourists to Ukraine sharply declined after 2013 because of the socio-political situation in the country. The analysis reveals significant changes in inbound and outbound tourism flow structures. The COVID-19 pandemic is shown to be a critical factor influencing the current state and prospects of the tourism industry.
Work-life balance (WLB) has gained noticeable attention amid the pandemic. Yet before the outbreak of COVID-19, the increasing pace of life encouraged investigations into individual and organisational aspects of WLB. Physically and mentally healthy people help society develop and grow, whilst health issues caused by work-life imbalance lead to dissatisfaction with work and life. This discontent results in stress and stress-related illnesses, such as burnout. From the organisational point of view, WLB is a factor in the efficiency of an enterprise. Intentional or unintentional absence, high employee turnover, low productivity, higher insurance costs, and low job satisfaction are amongst the consequences of work-life imbalance. WLB has also been examined as part of employer branding, which is coming to the fore as shortage of labour prompts organisations to look for strategies for attracting and retaining employees.
This paper carries out content analysis to provide a theoretical framework for WLB and job satisfaction. It also offers a review of the literature on individual and organisational factors in WLB. Both groups of factors are found to be critical. These are job involvement, tenure, workload and scheduling, organisational culture (leadership, recreational opportunities, flexibility, supervisor support, autonomy, boundary management, alternative working methods etc.), occupational stress, and salary. In diverse fields, these factors have different weight.
The concept of green growth and sustainable development is turning into a global ideology guiding the transformation of national economies. The focus is shifting from quantitative assessments of performance to rational choice conditions. Rationality is becoming the decisive factor behind sustainable green growth, and a change in the financial model that supports such growth may be needed. Therefore, the most urgent problems relating to sustainable growth are the transformation of the finance system, on the one hand, and the creation of a new financial paradigm based on the principles of responsible investment and corporate social responsibility, on the other. This study aims to consider the theoretical and practical aspects of creating a national green finance model ensuring sustainable growth in the Russian Federation. The development of a green finance mechanism and a green bond market in the Baltic Sea countries is analysed to determine national features and explore the possibility of translating the Baltic experience into practices usable in Russia. The research uses economic observations, economic description, structural and logical analysis, and systems analysis. Perhaps the most significant finding is the description of a methodological framework for sustainable development theory, as seen by major schools of economic thought. Studying the experience of the Baltic Sea countries in creating a new finance model of responsible investment helped detect national features and development priorities that can be used in Russia in devising the ideology, principles, and mechanism of green growth and sustainable growth financing.
Regional parks in Lithuania preserve the most valuable physical and cultural components of the landscape, NATURA 2000 habitats, etc. Usually, they are located in natural or semi-natural landscapes of rural areas. These territories, however, have a higher depopulation rate than urbanised districts. Still, conservation priority areas were expected to attract young families as permanent residents and make their population more stable. This study aims to investigate changes in the rural population in three regional parks of the Klaipėda county to determine the number of abandoned villages (with 0 residents) and vanishing ones (with a population < 5), as compared to territories with no conservation regime. The article examines migration as one of the determinants of depopulation. Analysis of national and local statistics, institutional documents, and structured interviews revealed that the conservation regime applied in regional parks did not necessarily encourage local people to stay or newcomers to arrive. Proximity to the sea and towns with developed social infrastructure remains a priority when looking for a residence in the countryside.
Recreation in protected areas (PAs) has received special attention amid international travel restrictions. The conflict between the conservation and economic use of these territories is increasing. This work aims to find ways to optimise and modernise environmental outreach and recreation in national parks as a type of PAs. Geotourism is viewed here as a sustainable form of tourism bridging the gap between conservation and recreation. Several objectives have been attained to fulfil this aim. The first one was the analysis of the best practices of geotourism development in Pas; the second one was measuring the resource potential for diversifying ecotourism events in PAs; the third objective was designing an algorithm for creating a geological heritage-focused eco-trail, an innovative recreation product aimed at environmental education and community outreach. The authors view the methodology for geo-tour design as an example of heritage preservation and propose a new tourist trail — the Geological and Geomorphological Chronicle of the Baltic Sea. This tour acquaints sightseers with the nature of the Curonian Spit National Park, a unique geological and geomorphological feature whose landscapes are a product of centuries-long human-nature interactions. Twenty years ago, in 2000, the conservation area was listed by UNESCO as a place of considerable natural significance. The field studies were carried out as part of the international project Ecotour4Natur: Ecotourism as a Tool for the Preservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage within the Lithuania-Russia Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2014—2020. The developed algorithm for eco-trail design may benefit other national parks as well.