The congress addressed the promising perspectives of attracting international and worldwide visitors to Europe´s rural areas
As in previous years, it provided a meeting point and discussion forum for the Rural Tourism community: entrepreneurs, interested practicians from the private and public sector, and academics involved in rural tourism.
The statistics speak for themselves: Europeanrural tourism in 2018 provides around 6 million bed spaces in 500,000 establishments, representing around 15% of the total accommodation capacity of Europe. Together with related services, the sector generates more than €100 billion in direct spending – mostly in the local economy – and is a critical element for the vitality of many rural areas.
Europe was, since the ’50s of the past century, the first region to develop a coherent understanding of Rural Tourism that now represents about 15% of the actual EU tourism capacity. In other parts of the world, similar concepts appeared by the end of the 20th century in the context of sustainable tourism and community development. The result is a wide array of services around the globe that define themselves as “rural tourism”. They generate considerable domestic markets that have a high potential for future international travel. But they frequently apply different terms and understandings that may be confusing for foreign visitors.
Demand for real, authentic experiences and services in tourism is steadily increasing. A growing number of experienced visitors is looking for traditional culture and lifestyle, nature, gastronomy, healthy environment, culture, and history: all these elements are at the heart of rural tourism. With such services yet mostly orientated to domestic or proximity markets, this trend offers huge possibilities and potential for rural tourism to capture a relevant share of international demand in the future.
Together with social events and optional study visits, this congress is a “must” for everybody in Europe involved in Rural Tourism.
The ECRT2018 is part of the EU-China Tourism Year 2018
Languages: the congress will be held in English, with simultaneous interpretation to Lithuanian and Chinese; other languages tbd on request.