Education and Training Needs in the Field of Visitors Receiving Structures and Tourism Services in the Lower Danube Region
Maria Andreeva and
Ana-Maria Nica Additional contact information Gabriela Ţigu: Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania
Maria Andreeva: D. Tsenov Academy of Economics, Svishtov, Bulgaria
Ana-Maria Nica: Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania
The paper analyzes the new realities and conditions for the development of tourism in the Lower Danube region in the context of the "Danube Strategy" of the EU, the state of the Bulgarian and Romanian tourist market, and the Romania market, as well as the possibilities for development of alternative tourism along the Danube. Special attention has been paid to the problems of education and training in the field of tourist facilities and services in Bulgaria and Romania and the need for their improvement. The reasons for this are that education and training are strategic factor for sustainable development trough contribution to human capital development, within the Romania-Bulgaria Cross-Border Cooperation Program 2007-2013. In relation to this the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, Romania and D. Tsenov Academy of Economics in Svishtov, Bulgaria decided to collaborate in the field “Cooperation on human resources development – joint development of skills and knowledge”, through the development of cross-border liaisons and exchanges between the two universities. Both Bulgaria and Romania have represented and still represent important tourism destinations in Eastern Europe, promoting coastal tourism, spas, mountain resorts or heritage tourism. Comparing with the existent potential and with the other Central and East-European countries, including Bulgaria, Romania has modest economical performances in tourism industry. The last decade shows a relative decline of external demand for Romania, the main causes being the missing fund for investment in developing, modernization, and rehabilitation of specific infrastructure, the less diversification of the entertainment, the tourism services’ quality – lesser comparative with competitors. On other hand, in the same period, Bulgaria has improved the tourism services’ quality and economic performances. Training specialists in tourism is one of the ways of performance growth in this field. Although there are numerous educational institutions for tourism professionals (high school and vocational school, universities with Bachelor and Masters Degrees, post university and doctoral studies), in both countries the quality of the tourism employees is low and unable to sustain high quality services. Therefore, trans-border cooperation in tourism between Romania and Bulgaria can bring benefits both in better turning to account the touristic potential and the educational systems of the two countries.