The prospective health care consumers are increasingly using the Internet websites for communication with potential health care service providers and decision-making regarding choice of the travel destination for receiving particular health care services. Therefore, it is important for health care providers to present themselves and their services efficiently online in order to attract foreign patients and thus facilitate medical tourism. The objective of this study is to evaluate the website content of Latvian health care providers who offer services to medical tourists in order to evaluate their status-quo and identify opportunities to improve website design. Authors used the framework by Huerta et al. (2016) as a basis to develop a modified framework suited for medical tourism-related website evaluation. 21 active websites associated with a medical tourism and provision of health care services to foreign patients were identified and selected for analysis. Each website was evaluated using a 10-factor assessment on 4 dimensions that include website accessibility, content, marketing, technology on a scale ranging from 0 to 10. Results: Scores of 21 website evaluation ranged from 54 to 91 point across all 4 dimensions with 80 and above points being considered as excellent result. Conclusions: Study findings indicated that the main improvements should be related to accessibility dimension and enabling text resizing function for improving experience for patients with poor sight, information dimension in terms of developing a separate main level section with information exclusively for foreign patients, and marketing dimension to improve effectiveness of search engine optimization (SEO) for medical tourism related keywords.
Social entrepreneurship is becoming more and more popular as there is a growing share of people who would like to contribute for social enterprises and are ready to become customers of the social enterprises and in this way participate in reduction of poverty in the country and support entrepreneurship development. For social enterprise marketing communications to be effective, an understanding is necessary not only of the information channels which are most effective but also of the preferences customers hold regarding the information channels that they would like to receive information from. Purpose of research: to investigate the preferences for different information channels among customers of Latvian social enterprises. Research methods: scientific publications analysis, analysis of previous conducted research results, social enterprise customers’ survey conducted by Kristīne Casno. Results of research have indicated that regular customers of social enterprises prefer such information channels as social networks, followed by television and radio.
Material deprivation has recently gained prominence as a topic of debate as its proliferation is reising throughout Europe in particular in the countries hit hardest by financial and economic turbulences what leads to the gap in material deprivation levels throughout Europe. The aim of the study is to analyze material deprivation in the regions of Latvia. Research methods used in preparation of the paper: scientific publication and previous conducted research results analysis, analysis of anonimised data of EU-SILC survey results and European Central Bank conducted survey on Household income and expenses survey results, results are compared with the results of other EU countries. Survey anonimised data are analyzed using indicators of descriptive statistics, cross-tabulations for regions of Latvia, for urban-rural living and analysis of variance – ANOVA are used. The results of analysis have indicated in what situation are regions of Latvia in the context of material deprivation especially in Latgale region and what are the challenges for decision makers to deal with – more attention for several approaches in reduction of income differences in regions of Latvia.
Pension systems have become one of the main priorities for the national governments. Developed countries population is getting older by putting the pressure on the state budgets and work age people tax load. The current pension system in Latvia performs according to regulation of state compulsory unfunded pension scheme since 1996 and regulation of the state funded or accumulated pension scheme since 2001. The third pension system pillar is private voluntary pension schemes realized in form of people contributions into pension funds and life insurance policies. Aim of the research – deeper analyses of voluntary private investments as the pension system part and its development challenges in Latvia. Research methods: scientific publications and previous conducted research analysis; analysis of time series on private pension fund developments in Latvia and comparisons with the situation in other OECD countries. The authors were looking for answer on the question – can voluntary private investments cover the gap between pre-retirement and after-retirement income of population in Latvia and what are the pre-conditions for it.
The rapid development of internet and technologies in the 21th century is providing an opportunity for the development of digital democracy – citizen engagement in the decision-making process in an easier, faster and more contemporary way. The paper analysis Latvian public administration’s attitude to the development of digital democracy in Latvia, looking into digital engagement as a possible solution that could foster the low rates of civic and political participation in Latvia. Research methods of the paper consists of an analysis of academic publications on digital democracy and political engagement, and survey to the representatives of the public administration in Latvia. Conclusions of the paper suggest that there are good preconditions for the development of digital democracy in Latvia, however, there is a need for a common regulation for how digital communication and online participation is coordinated. Public institutions should pay more attention to Latvian youth, educating them about public administration and political engagement, thus ensuring that gradually Latvian citizens become more knowledgeable about advantages and necessity to participate in the decision-making process of public administration in Latvia.
It is pointed in the article that a significant and relevant direction of new social sciences in the body of the problems of research into welfare states (in general) and in Central and Eastern European countries in particular, could be the investigation of the problem of compatibility and coherence between welfare state models and public administration models, to be more precise, examining if this relation is accidental or not. This problem of coherence between welfare state and public administration models has to be investigated empirically in subsequent research, as the author raises this problem firstly in this article theoretically.
The Nordic Baltic region (5+3) is now closely interlinked via trade, investment, mobility of people, and banking. All the countries in this group have pursued some form of integration with the European Union (EU). Six of them are EU member states, four of them are members of the euro area, and all of them are within the European Economic Area (EEA) and are Schengen member states. But can these small countries as a group cooperate more closely and perhaps exercise more collective authority in Europe? The Nordic countries and the Baltic States cooperate in the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Bank and the IMF, and six of them are among European NATO member states. When it comes to European integration the lack of common approach complicates their cooperation. Within this group there are internal divisions between the hardcore EU and euro area member states (the Baltics and Finland), EU members (Denmark and Sweden) and EU outsiders (Iceland and Norway). Common pathways for the future cooperation in Europe may be hard to find. Also, the Nordics are high income welfare states, but the Baltics are neoliberal with minimal governments and low-tax regimes. Additionally, external forces continue to challenge the Nordic Baltic region, including revanchist Russian policies threatening Baltic Sovereignty, unpredictable US policies towards NATO as well as reduced military presence in Europe, and dismal EU and euro area post crisis economic performance. All point to a future of uncertainty including both economic and security risks.
The paper is part of a research series for ancient Roman sites in Northern Bulgaria which aim to present the possibilities of creating a specialized form of cultural and historical product that ensures sustainable utilization of the Bulgarian tangible heritage. A study of the Roman fortress Sostra, located on the Via Traiani road as a cultural and historical tourist resource was conducted. The castellum is characterized as an object of cultural heritage in the region of Troyan Municipality in Bulgaria. The methodology applied in assessing the potential of the Ancient Roman fortress Sostra is primarily designed for historical and cultural sites. An evaluation was made under the following criteria: potential for development, degree of impact / interaction, degree of modification with relevant indicators. Also an expedition-field method for terrain research was applied. Summaries and conclusions were made in order to highlight the possibility of forming a tourist product of cultural and cognitive tourism.
Emotional intelligence can play an important role in an individual’s education and career success. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the opinion of employers on the importance of competencies related to emotional intelligence in the recruitment process in Latvia, as well as the extent to which these competencies can be developed in vocational education and training. Total of 750 companies participated in this research, rating the importance of competencies and the performance of vocational education institutions using a four-point Likert scale. The list of methods currently applied in vocational education developing emotional intelligence competencies was developed through in-depth interviews with the managers of vocational education institutions. The research results show that most of employers evaluate ability to work independently, work motivation and problem-solving skills as very important in the recruitment process. Vocational education institutions need to pay more attention to improving ability to take responsibility in students. The main methods used by vocational education institutions to develop competencies linked to emotional intelligence are extra-curriculum activities, international events and mobility, as well as work-placements, which are supplements to education programmes rather than core curriculum, indicating to low link between emotional intelligence competencies and expected learning outcomes of vocational education. The research provides the basis for reconsidering the vocational education curriculum in the light of its contribution to development of competencies that are highly valued in the labour market.