Female Entrepreneurship in Small Tourism and Hospitality Firms in Poland



The paper examines characteristics, strategies, and the business environment of ten small firms within the tourism and hospitality industry in the southern region of Poland. The qualitative analysis is based on online surveys and Zoom interviews with ten female entrepreneurs regarding economic, sociocultural, and environmental factors contributing to the firms’ success. The results indicate that female entrepreneurs developed resiliency to overcome market challenges during their first years of operation, the financial crisis of 2007, and the COVID-19 pandemic. They faced numerous difficulties that hindered their business growth and the most significant barrier included limited availability of low-cost financing. Their strategies focused on transformation aimed towards sustainability, public involvement, conservation, education, and green efforts, which contributed to the firms’ growth. Recognizing market characteristics and the needs of their local communities, employees, and customers as well as cultural preservation and environmental sustainability have been critical to the firms’ growth and entrepreneurial success.
Keywords: transformative, sustainable, medical and eco-tourism, entrepreneurs, growth, development, female entrepreneurship

Author Biographies

Alina M Zapalska, U.S. Coast Guard Academy

Dr. Alina Zapalska is a Professor of Economics and Director of the Prestigious Scholarships Program at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy since 2005. Professor Zapalska’s extensive and varied teaching experience spans more than 40 years in the U.S. and abroad. She has published more than 200 articles in professional refereed journals and several book chapters. Her primary research is in the areas of Experimental Economics, Micro-entrepreneurship, International Business, Transitional Economies, and Pedagogy.  Professor Zapalska has obtained several prestigious research, teaching and service awards at college and university levels here in the U.S. and abroad. She has been recognized at Marshall University in scholarship and research areas by receiving: the 2002 Lewis College of Business Outstanding Research Award, the 2000 Charles E. Hedrick Outstanding Faculty Award, the 2000 Marshall University Distinguished Artist Scholarship Award for Excellence in Arts, Social Science, Humanities, Education and Business, several Marshall University merit awards, three outstanding research and teaching awards granted by West Virginia University, the 2005 Professor of the Year by the Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia, and 2015 Center for Advanced Studies Research Award, U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Robin McCutcheon, Marshall University Huntington, WV 25755 U.S.A. 304-696-2668

Dr. McCutcheon is Professor of Economics in the Department of Finance, Economics, and International Business at the Lewis College of Business at Marshall University. Her favorite topics in Economics to teach are Principles of Micro- and Macro-economics, Comparative Economic Systems, and History of Thought. Dr. McCutcheon’s research interests include the macroeconomy, the stock market and stock pricing, money and banking, demographics, and long-run trends. She has recently discovered an interest in understanding the unintended consequences of public policy and being able to predict with accuracy the outcomes of policy actions in the broad economy, the stock market, and particular industries. Dr. McCutcheon’s scholarly work can be found in the Journal of Private Enterprise, Advances in Economics and Business, and Seeking Alpha. 


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How to Cite

Zapalska, A. M., & McCutcheon, R. (2024). Female Entrepreneurship in Small Tourism and Hospitality Firms in Poland. Academica Turistica - Tourism and Innovation Journal, 17(1). Retrieved from https://academica.turistica.si/index.php/AT-TIJ/article/view/577