The development of Pärnu is examined through an historical narrative, suggested by the concept of "transitional pathway analysis", making a contribution to tourism studies in the former Soviet bloc and the function of tourism in post-communist transitional economies. The importance of location and transport networks, the influence of the Russian hinterland and the Scandinavian regional market, the evolution of the Soviet domestic tourism market, the appearance of a new managerial elite, and the significance of the political, cultural, and economic developments are stressed. Two subtexts are suggested: The impact of external factors on the crucial service sector in transition economies and the nature of Western assistance. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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