Made in Latvia: Lessons for investors from a thriving economic zone
Operated by Rezekne Special Economic Zone (Rezekne SEZ), Rezekne State City not only has the largest industrial area in the region and a strategic location at the hub of international transport corridors, but also benefits from the availability of a highly qualified workforce that can adapt to the needs of major industrial enterprises or entrepreneurial start-ups.
Rezekne SEZ has worked hard to create a friendly environment for all kinds of business, and during the Covid-19 pandemic it has continued to thrive.
Here, we look at the many factors that contribute to its resilience and prosperity during the pandemic and in the long term, and consider why business leaders who are looking to invest in new ventures can be assured a warm welcome.
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According to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), 2021 saw a 4% upturn in international travel. As vaccination rates increase, restrictions are lifted and airlines return to business, this trend is set to continue. Central eastern Europe has seen one of the strongest recovery rates so far, with tourism already up 18% from 2020. UNWTO experts predict that European tourism will achieve 64% recovery by 2024.
Located on the Baltic Sea and characterised by wide beaches and lush forests, Latvia is gaining traction as a tourist destination.
GlobalData intelligence indicates significant and growing economic development potential. Data analysis anticipates that total hotel revenue in Latvia will reach $490m (€446.1m) by 2024. Average revenue per available room is projected to reach $52.83, up from $47.73 in 2019, and average revenue per occupied room will reach $108.1, up from $99.08. The total number of hotel guests in Latvia is projected to reach 2.76 million in 2024.
Located in the heart of the Latgale region in the east of Latvia, the city of Rezekne is the site of ambitious new infrastructure projects offering investors the opportunity to help drive this upward trajectory.
A new type of tourism
The key to recovery for the global tourism industry will be regeneration, with a focus on what today’s travellers are looking for. Among current trends, including greater concern for sustainability and the return of commercial travel, Forbes notes that the global wellness economy is seeing an enormous rebound in 2022.
Wellness tourism is described as travelling associated with enhancing physical and inner well-being, focusing on relaxation. In 2020, wellness tourism was worth $435.7bn, and the Global Wellness Institute predicts an average annual growth rate of 20.9% until 2025 – making wellness tourism the fastest-growing sector of the wellness economy.
One city preparing for this new travel surge is Rezekne, Latvia. The seventh-largest city in Latvia, Rezekne is known as the Heart of Latgale.
An ambitious project is under way in the centre of Rezekne: the construction of a spa and recreation centre unlike any other in the region, designed with relaxation, wellness and modernity in mind. By December 2022, investors will have the opportunity to continue the project and launch the building of a hotel.
The spa centre will be accompanied by a three-storey, four-star hotel, close to the main street of Atbrīvošanas aleja. Once complete, it will offer 100 rooms and a wealth of outstanding features, including a restaurant with a summer terrace, a panoramic bar, multifunctional conference facilities and a full-service spa complex. Rezekne is offering investors the opportunity to embrace the wellness boom in Latvia by investing in the construction of the hotel.
The hotel and spa centre will create new possibilities for tourism in the region, offering tourists the chance to enjoy the city of Rezekne, where traditional meets modern, national meets transnational, and ancient meets youthful.
Tourists will be able to enjoy Rezekne’s vibrant events calendar, which includes the City Festival, Seven Hills art and music festival, Open Place Baltic States short film festival and Organismi Festival of Organ Music.
The project has the mandate to revitalise the territory in the centre of Rezekne and contribute to environmentally friendly, sustainable growth and job creation, as part of Rezekne’s Vision 2030.
A forward-looking municipality with big ambitions, Rezekne aims to become an internationally competitive economic development centre of national importance and a European city of culture and tourism. Exciting things are happening here in Rezekne: the city’s Sustainable Development Strategy 2030 includes the creation and development of industrial territories and adjacent infrastructure, the revitalisation of industrial territories and the creation and promotion of new tourism products.
The construction of the spa and wellness centre includes the reconstruction of the 190m Brīvības Street, including new drainage, paved walkways, lighting and greenery. New heating networks will be constructed in cooperation with JSC “Rēzeknes siltumtīkli”, and new water networks with SIA “Rēzeknes ūdens”.
Investors have the opportunity to rent and manage the spa centre as well as investing in the construction of the 100-room, four-star hotel. With a new wave of tourism revival on the horizon, Rezekne is demonstrating its dynamic, future-facing spirit and international ambition.
To find out more about business opportunities in Rezekne, download the whitepaper.