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The ESPON 2013 Operational Programme
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Regional net migration and visitors, 2001-2007

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Map
 

  • Prior to the financial and economic crises there was some kind of link between a region’s attractiveness and its demographic development. This link goes beyond simple facts about economic development and labour markets
  • regions with high net-migration rates and average visiting flows are mainly to be found along the Mediterranean Sea from Spain to Cyprus, but also in Luxembourg, Ireland and other regions across Europe
  • Regions with average net-migration rates and high visiting flows are much rarer and therefore concentrated in some regions of the Alps, Mediterranean Islands, and the UK
  • Less attractive regions both in terms of net-migrants and visitors are mainly to be found in the oldest Member States, but also in Central and Eastern turkey, Southern Italy and Northeast France

Observations for policy

The attractiveness of Europe and its regions and cities is the theme of the Europe 2020 strategy and Territorial Agenda. Territorial assets and the quality of places are important dimensions of many regional development strategies within a globalising and interconnected world. Competition has intensified and financial resources become increasingly footloose. Consequently the capacity to attract these footloose resources that include human capital has become an increasingly important aspect of regional development.

Policy context

The European policy debate does regularly address how demographic change present serious challenges for (territorial) development. Demographic and migratory developments pose challenges belonging to the broad policy context in Europe. The 2012 European Ageing Report for the European Commission shows that priority should be given to the demographic challenges, with a new sense of urgency in light of the financial crisis. Also in the Territorial Agenda and the Europe 2020 Strategy demographic issues are addressed. Increasingly, the issues of demographic change are also linked to the debate about the attractiveness of places.

Map interpretation

The map illustrates the regional attractiveness by looking at two mobility variables: (a) how many net-migrations, and (b) how many visitors could be attracted to a region. The typology suggests that there is a broad correlation between receiving visitors and net migration. Indeed, regions have either both low net-migration rates and low visiting flows or average and/or high visiting flows and net-migration rates.

The map suggests that in general European regions that experience higher rates of net in-migration are also likely to experience higher visitor arrival rates. The regional characteristics that are associated with attracting either specific types of visitor or specific age groups of migrant are broader than purely economic factors extending to amenity value, heritage and accessibility as part of a basket of factors of attractiveness. Factors such as age and origin or visitors/migrants are important also.

Regions with high net-migration rates and average visiting flows (blue) are mainly to be found along the Mediterranean Sea (from Spain to Cyprus), in Luxembourg, Ireland and singularly also other regions across Europe. Regions with average net-migration rages and high visiting flows (beige) are much more rare and only to be spotted in the Alps, Croatian, on Mediterranean Islands, the Algarve, some English and Scottish regions and Iceland.

Less attractive regions both in terms of net-migrant rates and visitors (brown) are mainly to be found in EU-10 Member States, Central and Eastern Turkey, Southern Italy, Northeast France and the Eastern and old-industrial regions of Germany.

Comparing labour market statistics and economic performances for the four types of regions, the most attractive regional types do neither have the highest average GDP per capita nor the best labour markets for highly skilled workers, although regions with the lowest net migration rates and low visitor arrival rates consistently do exhibit lower GDP per capita and employment rates for workers with all forms of qualification. It should be noted however that the date behind this map has been collected prior the financial and economic crises that hit Europe in 2008.

Concepts and methods

The map illustrates a regional typology of attractiveness based on the latest data available for two mobility indicators: annual average net migration rate (2001-2007), and average annual visitor arrival rate (for visitors both domiciled within the country and domivciled abroad) (2001-2004). Net migration rate portraits working age groups at NUTS2 level. Total visitor arrival rate measures the attractiveness of visitors from the same country as residents from abroad per 1,000 head of population.


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