Marine Research Findings of the VECTORS Project

This website provides access to the research results of the VECTORS project, which can be used to support marine management decisions, policies and governance as well as future research and investment. VECTORS was a large scale project that brought together more than 200 expert researchers from 16 different countries. It examined the significant changes taking place in European seas, their causes, and the impacts they will have on society.

Stakeholders views on interactions between coastal tourism and other sectors around the Gulf of Gdansk

Gulf of Gdansk is one of the most valuable Polish marine areas. Many stakeholders have their interests within the Gulf, and the need for space has been increasing over the past years. Tourism is one of the most important players, especially in the Puck Bay, which is a traditional destination for summer holidays and a water sports centre. This study, through in-depth interviews with tourism-related stakeholders, investigates the changes affecting marine and coastal tourism in the last years. This research explores the barriers for tourism development, and the ways through which these barriers can be overcome. Finally, interactions and conflicts with other sectors operating in the region are assessed.


Past years have favoured tourism sector and its development around the Gulf. However, this sector still focuses on on-land activities, and is relatively disconnected from the sea. Seasonality of tourism offer and a lack of long-term strategy for tourism development are considered as the most important barriers for future development.

All the respondents agreed that the changes over the past years within the tourism sector were mostly positive. Tourism offer became more varied, focused on various needs and users, and became less dependable on sea, sun and sand. However, this dependency on weather conditions still exists, especially in smaller coastal towns and villages. Cooperation within and outside the sector has increased. Accession to the European Union and availability of EU funds was commonly mentioned as factors enhancing the growth. Lack of log-term tourism development strategy and the high level of bureaucracy was assessed as a future limiting factor. The respondents suggested that the development of tourism sector should be supported to a greater extent by local municipalities and communes. They especially asked for coordinated investments in infrastructure, funds for promotion and education.


The representatives of tourism sector do not see many conflicting interests with other sea users.

The tourism sector does not observe any conflicts with other users of the sea. The sector’s representatives thought that marine space is rather properly shared, and the only issue they see are the conservation initiatives, including NATURA 2000 areas. However, all the respondents agreed that tourism should be run in an environmentally friendly way, as nature and landscape are the assets it is based on. They believed that a conflict between ‘tourism’ and ‘nature’ is artificially created, largely exaggerated, and perfectly manageable through a consensus. The respondents complained that there is lack of knowledge on how the NATURA 2000 network functions and this lack of knowledge is the source of conflicts. They noted that they are not properly informed and consulted when new limitations are introduced, which decreases the level of trust. They also believed that good spatial planning – both on land and on the sea – is the best foundation for healthy ecosystem, and for better coexistence on the busy Gulf. 
Relevance for Policy:
  • Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management (forthcoming)
  • Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Lead Author:

Joanna Piwowarczyk
( )
Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences (IOPAS)
Date of research: May 2014

Related articles:

How to improve governance in the Gulf of Gdansk?

Marine environmental management in Catalonia 

Non-indigenous and invasive alien species

Public perception of marine benefits

Social economic impact assessment for the future 

The link between tourism and ecosystems 

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The content of this website may be subject to copyright, if you wish to use any of the information or figures please contact the attributed author(s).
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 266445
© Vectors 2015. Coordinated by Plymouth Marine Laboratory.