Competitiveness in South East Europe

A Policy Outlook 2018

image of Competitiveness in South East Europe

Future economic development and the well-being of citizens in South East Europe (SEE) increasingly depend on greater economic competitiveness. Realising the region’s economic potential requires a holistic, growth-oriented policy approach. Against the backdrop of enhanced European Union (EU) accession prospects and a drive towards deeper regional co-operation, SEE governments have demonstrated a renewed commitment to enacting policy reforms.


The second edition of Competitiveness in South East Europe: A Policy Outlook seeks to help SEE policy makers assess progress made towards their growth goals and benchmark them against regional peers and OECD good practices. The 17 policy dimensions addressed in this report encompass a wide range of areas key to economic competitiveness including the business environment, skills and capacity, the region's economic structure and its governance. The report leveraged a highly participatory assessment process which brought together more than 1 500 individual stakeholders including OECD experts, SEE policy makers, private sector representatives and regional policy networks and organisations to create a balanced view of performance.

Since the latest edition of the report, there have been areas of noteworthy progress. The six assessed SEE economies have adopted strategies to improve the overall standard of education, acted to remove technical barriers to trade and taken steps to establish better financing mechanisms for small and medium-sized enterprises. Further efforts are underway to expand broadband services and close the digital divide, tackle inefficiencies in the energy and agriculture sectors, and address demographic challenges posed by long-term unemployment. Notwithstanding these important gains, there remain considerable challenges for these economies as they continue their journey towards structural reform.



Tourism in South East Europe

This chapter on tourism assesses the policy settings, strategies, processes, and institutions in six South East European economies. After a brief overview of trends and performance in developing tourism in South East Europe, including visitor numbers and growth, the chapter then focuses on five essential sub-dimensions. The first sub-dimension, cultural and natural resources, explores the existence of tourism strategies that draw upon the rich and varied natural assets and cultural characteristics of the area. The second, destination accessibility and tourism infrastructure, looks at efforts made to improve visa regimes, promote connectivity and infrastructure, provide relevant information, and improve the capacity and quality of visitor accommodation. The third sub-dimension, availability of a suitably qualified workforce, asks whether the economies have the capacity to balance tourism development with labour supply and demand. The fourth sub-dimension – safety and health – assesses visitors’ security and healthcare provision. Finally, the tourism prioritisation and promotion sub-dimension asks whether government action in these fields is guided by a strategy backed up by adequate data collection. The chapter includes suggestions for enhancing the policies in each of these sub-dimensions in order to allow tourism to become a vibrant and sustainable sector, which in turn would foster the competitiveness of these economies.




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