COVID-19 has disruptive impacts on travel and leisure.

What is the best strategy for a fast recovery?

The COVID pandemia has put the world upside down. The recovery process is yet unclear, as are the long-term impacts for society and the economy, especially tourism.  However, each crisis also creates new opportunities. Trends that would normally take years to gain importance are now suddenly top on the agenda, perceptions, and values change, and demand is shifting.  The use of digital services and communication increased, people avoid agglomeration or large crowds, and higher value is given to personal contacts, freedom of movement, and space.

Rural Tourism has the chance to benefit short-term due to the impossibility to travel longer distances (“staycation”), the reduced income of visitors, and the desire to avoid massive tourism destinations.  This is an opportunity to access new visitors and to turn them into repeat clients for the future.  However, many businesses struggle to survive, international mobility will resume, while the previous challenges of increased digitalization and service quality remain or get even stronger.  All this requires well-defined and founded exit strategies from COVID.

Demand for real, authentic experiences and services in tourism was already steadily increasing before COVID. A growing number of experienced visitors is looking for traditional culture and lifestyle, nature, gastronomy, healthy environment, culture and history. All these elements are now in even stronger demand due to the social, cultural and economic consequences  of COVID — and they are at the heart of the rural tourism product.

The visitor expects these experiences but now with an increased level of health and infection prevention. On the other hand, digitalization of daily life and communication considerably increased during COVID. This offers opportunities, but also creates risks. Which are the exit strategies and first results in different countries? – How to face the COVID recovery making best use of digitalization while safeguarding the real and authentic rural experience? – this is the topic of our 7th European Congress on Rural Tourism.

The 7th European Congress on Rural Tourism arranges its programme alongside the following main blocks:

  • Megatrends Shaping Travel after COVID
  • Exit Strategies from COVID – experiences and results
  • The Digital Customers Experience and Journey
  • Digital Brand Engagement and Sales Channels
  • Human resources – skills, competences, model of business and employment

Presentations and discussions combine conceptual and strategic views with
practical examples and cases to find similar understandings and exchange
experiences in Europe. This will be achieved through
innovative elements before and during the event:

  • Open Crowd-Sourcing of content, cases, and speakers – participate here
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  • Contests for best pictures, videos, and similar on the topic of the ECRT2021
  • Marketplace of Ideas – contest and exhibition
  • Extended opportunities for Networking
  • Interactive conference APP during the event

*To enhance the attraction and synergies of this event, other events in the days before and after the ECRT2021 can be combined:

  • Meetings of other projects can be arranged around the ECRT2021 (rooms available at the venue before and after)
  • More to be added


The congress takes place on three days: 

  • 6th October – workshops, B2B and B2C, Marketplace of Ideas, Inauguration
  • 7th October – plenary full day
  • 8th October – plenary until noon

Optional professional study tours and excursion programs before and after the event.

See below the structure of the program.  Speakers and concrete topics will be added as soon as they are confirmed. 
For any suggestions, please use the  Crowdsourcing Form.