Europe, Labor market, social policy and social services, External Publications

Tourism and rural development

The study delves into the multifaceted impact and potential of tourism in fostering rural development across the European Union (EU). Its aim is to equip local governments with practical insights, empowering them to effectively leverage the benefits of tourism in rural EU regions. 

Employing a diverse array of research methodologies, including interviews, case studies, and extensive desk research, the study illuminates the resilience of rural tourism, particularly in the aftermath of COVID-19. During this period, there has been a notable surge in its popularity, especially among local travelers. 

Rural tourism, extending beyond traditional farm stays, emerges as a catalyst for economic diversification, job creation, and the maintenance of local services. However, its growth may encounter obstacles such as inadequate infrastructure, limited financial resources, and declining local populations. 

The advancement of rural tourism not only contributes to the economic expansion of rural areas and the preservation of their cultural heritage but also fosters community engagement. Nonetheless, if not carefully managed, it may present challenges such as environmental impact, economic disparities, and shifts in local dynamics. 

The study also scrutinizes the Long-Term Vision of Rural Areas (LTVRA) and evaluates its correlation with the broader tourism ecosystem. It analyzes past funding for tourism in rural areas and provides insights from successful rural tourism strategies implemented in regions such as Spain, Poland, and Portugal. 

In conclusion, this study underscores the pivotal role of rural tourism and offers pragmatic recommendations for local governments. It acknowledges data limitations and advocates for improved data collection and analysis to inform policymaking. Looking ahead, the study emphasizes the need for ongoing research to deepen our understanding of the intricate relationship between tourism and rural development, ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future. 


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