The issue of sustainable tourism and its potential contribution to regional development and convergence within the EU has been, in recent years, one of the primary research themes and a constant concern in European policies. However, currently, the European tourism industry is facing a loss in competitiveness at the global level due to a reduction in its share in world tourism and lower average revenues, many regions being in decline and the geographical flows being redirected. Based on these aspects, the present study proposes an analysis from the New Economic Geography perspective, considering two EU countries, a developed one (France), but situated in a tourist sub-region with a declining share in the total international tourist arrivals (Western Europe) and a developing one (Romania), from a growing tourism sub-region (Central/Eastern Europe). Using a comparative analysis at regional level, with three categories of functions - a function of impact (economic, social, environmental), a function of stability and a function of convergence - combined into a matrix model, we achieved an integrated research on the contribution that tourism brings in the two countries in terms of development and regional convergence. Then, we proposed a classification of regions according to the tourism index (mature tourist destinations, less attractive or in the early stage), the conclusions of the paper outlining several action lines for improving competitiveness of tourism in developing regions.
tourism sustainable regional development New Economic Geography