Border function and tourism relations in the divided cities on the Polish-German border.




divided cities, bordering, debordering, rebordering, Polish-German border, tourism relations


The paper concerns the issue of impact the state border function on cross-border tourist relations in the divided cities on the Polish-German border (i.e. Zgorzelec (Pl)-Goerlitz (G), Gubin (Pl)-Guben (G); Słubice (Pl)-Frankfurt (Oder)(G)). Divided cities have always been a kind of laboratory of cross-border relations, due to their history and functional proximity. The main purpose of the study is to identify stages in the cross-border tourism relation process, taking exogenus (political factors) and endogenous (cross-border cooperation) factors into account and investigate whether these stages refer to theoretical concepts applied in the study (Martinez (1994) and the concept of the bordering- debordering- rebordering process). The analysis concerns the period 1945-2021. The research methods used in the study are analysis of the literature on the subject and direct observations carried out at border crossings in the divided cities during the period 1-4 June 2021. Conclusions: The most important external factor shaping cross-border tourist relations is the political factor and the permeability of the border as its consequence. On this basis, it is possible to distinguish periods for the formation of cross-border tourist relations that relate to Martinez's (1994) types of borderland interaction. However, the conditions for intensification of tourism relations between the parties emerge in the intedependent borderlands and integrated borderlands types of regions, when there is an opportunity to create cross-border tourism relations and cross-border tourism destinations. In the process-oriented terms, all elements of the bordering- debordering- rebordering concept and their reference and consequences to cross-border tourism relations can be described. Using the example of divided cities, it is shown that this is a continuous process, variable over time and highly sensitive to the political factor. Practical implications for local and regional authorities and DMO (Destination Management Organisations) have been formulated regarding the creation of cross-border tourist attractions using the state border as a distinguishing element (e.g. the rich and sometimes difficult German-Polish history, the culture of a Lusatian minority, border smuggling phenomena). The research conducted is regarded as a preliminary stage for further in-depth quantitative research, operationalisation of the model and its empirical confirmation.