Attractiveness of Leisure Activities in the German-Polish Border Area
Purpose: The primary aim of the article is to present the interest in spending leisure time on the German side by the inhabitants of the Polish part of the German-Polish border area. The article attempts to answer the questions of how often the inhabitants of Polish border communes spend their leisure time on the German side and whether spatial differentiation influences their interest in spending leisure time on the other side of the border. Design/Methodology/Approach: The empirical part was based on a survey carried out using the CATI method in 2021. The survey was conducted on a representative group of 1,068 inhabitants of border communes of three voivodeships: Zachodniopomorskie, Lubuskie and Dolnośląskie, with a target-quota selection of respondents taking into account characteristics such as age, gender and place of residence. The theoretical part of the article is based on a literature review concerning the specificity of the Polish-German border area. Findings: Almost 20% of the surveyed inhabitants of the German-Polish border municipalities travelled to German municipalities 6 times or more per year. The trips were made in order to go shopping or to take advantage of the recreational offer on the other side of the border. Those most interested in spending their leisure time are residents of the Lower Silesian (Dolnośląskie) Voivodship and twin cities (with the exception of Słubice). Interest in spending leisure time in Germany on the voivodeship level is not the same as the results on the municipality level (in the case of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship). Practical Implications: Border regions have undergone a huge metamorphosis over the years; the use of cohesion and cross-border funds has transformed villages and towns on the Polish side with good quality roads, cycle paths and walking routes. Compared to Poland's beginnings in the structures of the European Union, there are now only a few infrastructural barriers to visiting its western neighbour. To a large extent they will be eliminated thanks to, among others, funds from cross-border Interreg programmes and funds managed by the Marshals of Voivodships. The research carried out allows the thesis to be put forward that the amount of changes in the habits of the inhabitants of border municipalities and the leisure time spent on the other side of the border will increase. As more and more local authorities implement soft partnership projects, further barriers in the way they think about their neighbour's country will be broken down. Thanks to foreign language lessons from an early age, the communication barrier will also become irrelevant. Originality/Value: The research carried out so far is an extension of the research carried out in the German-Polish border area. The value of the research carried out is its territorial scope. It was carried out on the Polish side in all municipalities along the entire length of the Polish-German border and not just on a fragmentary piece.