The University of Latvia

LatviaInformation about the Republic of Latvia
Country: Republic of Latvia
Capital: Riga (699 203 inhab.)
Population of country: 2 217 thous. people Area of country: 64 589 km²
Characteristics: Latvia is located in northeastern Europe on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The country consists of fertile lowland plains and moderate hills, with most of its territory less than 100 meters above sea level. Latvia is historically divided into four regions: Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Zemgale, Latgale. There are 118 municipalities and 9 largest cities in Latvia after the regional reform of 2009. 23 cities of the country have a population of over 10,000.

Latvia’s three major ports of Rīga, Ventspils and Liepāja provide a wide range of services for global shipping needs. Ventspils is one of the busiest ports in the Baltic Sea region and one of Europe’s leading ports in terms of cargo turnover.

Latvia’s political, economic and culture center is in Rīga, where more than one third of Latvia’s population lives and works. Rīga’s elegant Old Town and distinctive Art Nouveau architecture serve as a stimulating setting for a vibrant modern business and cultural life. Founded in 1201, this former Hanseatic League member is one of the The University of Latvia oldest medieval cities in Europe and has been listed by UNESCO.

The characteristic and aims of the partner
The University of Latvia (UL) with its 17,000 students, 13 faculties and more than 20 research institutes is one of the largest comprehensive and leading research universities in the Baltic States. The University offers more than 150 state-accredited academic and professional study programmes. The University of Latvia has one branch office in the Eastern part of Latvia which helps to extend its reach to rural areas.

The UL partner institution for the CesR project the Centre for European and Transition Studies (CETS) was established in 2000. The CETS is project based institution aiming to promote and support interdisciplinary academic and applied research on European issues. The main focus of CETS encompasses economics, political science, law, public administration and regional policy issues.

The CETS will focus on exploring the impact of tourism clusters on promoting the development of rural services and employment in Latvia thus improving networking between tourism service providers, regional authorities and research institutions.

Tourism
For travelers, the best thing about Latvia is that it is so compact. Its 500 km of sandy beaches are easily reached from historical towns, where medieval Hanseatic foundations support baroque and art nouveau buildings that become venues for cultural festivals during the summer. If you are among those who love to spend their leisure time actively, in Latvia you will never feel bored. In Latvia you can find adventure parks, and suitable environment for horse riding, sailing, skydiving and other sport activities. On the other hand Latvia owns untouched nature which is home for over 27 thousand species of flora and fauna.

Rural areas
32.1% of Latvian population lives in rural areas. Agriculture is the main economic activity in the rural areas. The agricultural sector is characterized by the high number of semi-subsistence farms, less technically modernized farms, low initiative of business development and low labour productivity. The growing unemployment in the pre-retirement group of the rural population aged 50 years and older is a major problem. Tourism development in rural areas is one of solutions for increasing business activity and reducing unemployment.