Riga Planning Region
The region in brief
Riga Planning Region is the capital region of Latvia with its dynamic capital city Riga in the centre. Area of the region covers 10,438 km2, or 16.2% of the total area of Latvia. It is the most densely populated region, home to 1,089,960 inhabitants or 50.5% of the total population of Latvia. Riga Region is the economic centre of the country with € 14,480 GDP per capita and a concentration of 78% of all foreign direct investments. The region is given special value by its position on the coast of the Riga Gulf of the Baltic Sea, which extends to 185 km, as well as by its internal water sources. The Riga Free port and four small ports – Salacgrīva, Skulte, Jūrmala and Engure are also located in the region. Region consists of 30 local municipalities - seven municipalities - Jurmala and Riga city, Engure county, Carnikava county, Saulkrasti county, Limbaži county and Salacgriva county - are located on the coastline. The coastal area of the region is densely populated compared to the rest of the coast of Latvia with 732 236 inhabitants.
The blue economy in Riga Planning Region today
The resources for blue growth in the region are: long coast with white sand beaches, wooded dunes, the resort town of Jurmala (sanatoriums and hotels, large number of accommodation, historical resort traditions, inhabitants with knowledge of several foreign languages); good reach of the coast of Pieriga: electric railway, main state roads, regular public transport, advantageous geographic location - central coast of the Baltic States, the proximity of the Scandinavian market; advantages of the Freeport of Riga and small ports (transport connections, ports’ technical parameters, administrative structures, ports’ enterprises, ferry connections); Riga – the metropolis of Northern Europe, the international cultural, scientific, business centre, transport hub; One of the fastest internet services in the world and wide use of information technologies in society as well as recognized and widely visited international, national and local cultural and sporting events (Riga, Jurmala Culture Program, Positivus Festival etc.).
These open up opportunities for development of knowledge-intensive production facilities based on chemical technologies and health tourism. The Gulf of Riga is one of the most productive marine areas in the Baltic Sea – in terms of produced biomass. Innovative and sustainable use of marine resources is a key factor for the long-term prosperity of the region. The capacity of marine ecosystems is therefore already monitored and researched to maintain the longevity of this natural potential. A concentration of research and development resources in the region provides an excellent opportunity for further progress in the technologies – simultaneously promoting growth and protecting the environment.
Latvia’s RIS3 identifies the following priorities: high added value products, productive innovation systems, energy efficiency, modern ICT, modern education, the knowledge base and polycentric development in specialisation areas such as bio economics, bio-medicine, medical technologies, bio pharmacy and biotechnology, advanced materials, engineering systems, smart energy and ICT.
The blue economy of tomorrow in Riga should contribute to the development of the maritime economic sectors in the Riga Gulf of the Baltic Sea in five thematic directions:
- Marine transport and shipbuilding
- Fishing and mariculture
- Multifunctional and smart use of coastal areas
- Use of renewable enery cources in the coast
- Resort and health tourism
Transnational cooperation interests in blue growth of Riga Planning Region:
- Development of tourism services on the coast with high added value and less dependence on seasonality (SPA, business conferences)
- Improvement of tourism offers by introducing modern technologies in marketing, products and transport of existing services.
- New products for health – mud cosmetics and health therapies,
- Technologies and materials for shipbuilding,
- Development of harbours as centres for start-ups, hubs of development in the region,
- Boat building, maintenance and services for sailors
- Fish, seaweed and mussel farms, seafood
- Research in marine biotechnologies and life sciences
- Eco services on the coast
- Use of renewable energy sources for services and products
- Green mobility and mobility points
- Fishing cultural heritage preservation and promotion