Prof. Harald Pechlaner and Hannes Thees from the Chair of Tourism have recently published a paper in The Service Industries Journal together with colleagues from Regensburg and Bolzano. As part of an actual research focus on the New Silk Road, the paper contributes to the understanding of development processes, based on infrastructure investments.
Local service industry and tourism development through the global trade and infrastructure project of the New Silk Road – the example of Georgia
H. Pechlaner, H. Thees, W. Manske-Wang & A. Scuttari
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of the Republic of China is a global infrastructure project with high trade ambitions, but uncertain regional outcomes. This exploratory analysis investigates the drivers and the processes enabling positive regional effects of the BRI in terms of local service industry development. Under the interpretation of the BRI as a global transport system, we identify and explore three levels of analysis: the global scale of the BRI, the regional scale of its corridors and the local scale of transit regions. Along the Trans-Caspian corridor, Georgia is analyzed as a unique example of transit region aiming deliberately to develop its tertiary sector around the BRI infrastructure. To assess the attitude of stakeholders towards the BRI and its impacts on local service development, a qualitative research strategy is applied. Nineteen semi-structured interviews are processed using the GABEK method. Results reveal uncertain positions towards the BRI initiative. However, a need for a national strategy and a transnational governance system clearly stands out to enforce transit countries and counterbalance the dependency on China’s foreign investments. The intervention of national governments is deemed as crucial also to facilitate knowledge transfer, business opportunities and to increase bottom-up participation of local inhabitants.