The Lithuanian tourism industry is regulated by the Law on Tourism (1998). The Ministry of Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania is responsible for the policy of the development of tourism, resort and resort area and the implementation of the functions of international cooperation in the field of tourism. The main objectives of the Ministry are as follows: to identify tourism development priorities, promote the development of competitive tourism products, reduce seasonality in tourism, and to increase the number of tourists visiting Lithuania. The Tourism Policy Division of the Ministry is responsible for international agreements in the field of tourism as well as for maintaining relations with diplomatic missions of foreign countries and the Republic Lithuania.
In 2018, the Lithuanian Government abolished the State Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Economy and Innovation and established a new public institution Lithuania Travel (VšĮ ‘Keliauk Lietuvoje’) that started to work on 1 January 2019. The reform was made with the aim to separate tourism marketing and control functions. The new institution Lithuania Travel carries out marketing and tourism promotion functions and is responsible for raising the awareness of Lithuania as a tourism destination and for the development of inbound and local tourism. Lithuania Travel is subordinated to the Ministry of Economy and Innovation. The function of the supervision of tourism service providers that was also performed by the Department of Tourism was transferred to the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority. The authority is responsible for the supervision of tour operators, retailers, tour package sellers and accommodation providers as well as for the representation of interests of tourists in the event of an insolvency or bankruptcy of the tour operator.
In 2016, the Lithuanian Government approved the Lithuanian Tourism Development Programme 2014-2020. The programme sets the goals, tasks and priorities of tourism development taking into account the principles of sustainable tourism. The strategic goal of the programme is to increase the competitiveness of the Lithuanian tourism sector. The programme emphasises that in order to maintain the flow of tourists, it is necessary to create competitive tourism products, expand tourism infrastructure, promote the export of tourism services to foreign countries, take effective marketing and communication measures, and raise awareness of Lithuania. The main tasks of the programme are to improve the development of tourism infrastructure and quality of services, the awareness and image of Lithuania as a tourist country, and to reduce the seasonality of tourism services.
The programme identifies four priority types of tourism: cultural tourism, business tourism, health tourism and green (eco) tourism. Cultural tourism is defined in the programme as tourism aimed at exploring the cultural environment, landscapes, cultural and natural heritage, traditions, local lifestyles, seeing the works of visual and performing arts, attending cultural events, and participating in entertainment.
Table 25: Number of tourists in Lithuania in 2017–2018
|2017||2018||Change, number of persons||Increase in 2017/18, %|
|Total||3 253 200||3 620 400||367 200||11.3|
|Citizens of Lithuania||1 669 400||1 875 700||206 300||12.4|
|Foreigners, total||1 583 800||1 744 700||160 900||10.2|
|EU member states||1 424 100||1 551 900||127 800||9.0|
|Non-EU states||933 600||1 043 100||109 500||11.7|
Source: Lithuania Travel
Table 26: Number of overnight stays in 2017–2018
|2017||2018||Change, number of overnight stays||Increase in 2017/18, %|
|Total||7 364 900||8 091 600||7 267||9.9|
|Citizens of Lithuania||3 933 700||4 354 800||4 211||10.7|
|Foreigners, total||3 431 200||3 736 900||3 056||8.9|
|EU member states||3 041 100||3 291 200||2 501||8.2|
|Non-EU states||1 895 100||2 102 500||2 074||10.9|
Source: Lithuania Travel