The rural tourism sector, which has traditionally been based on local or regional demand, now has the opportunity to expand markets through cooperation on a transnational basis within the EU Rural Tourism Eurocluster – ERT.
EU rural tourism is co-financed by the European Union’s COSME programme and aims to adapt to trends in global demand for European tourism, which has increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, creating additional demand for similar services. Services such as rural tourism and similar services such as ecotourism, agro-tourism and sustainable tourism are responding. This sector, traditionally based on local or regional demand, now has the opportunity to expand markets by cooperating on a transnational basis within the ERT EuroCluster of Rural Tourism.
The ERT brings together the concept of professional organisations (consortium partners: the Venetian Cluster, ADI Harghita, NCA, Euracademy, Ruraltour and TSAC. Ecoclub and LFD) working in the field with a broader understanding of the cluster concept. This provides a unique opportunity to extend activities from local to regional, national and international levels. At the same time, it creates a critical mass of European rural tourism services with a vision of internationalisation in more than 15 countries that are supported under this form of cooperation.
This project establishes the basic vision, objectives and operational structure of the Eurocluster “Rural Tourism“:
- establish a cooperation mechanism between regional tourism clusters, professional organisations in rural Tourism, local development agencies, and transnational knowledge networks in the field of rural Tourism.
- create a critical mass of at least 190 SMEs in at least 15 countries that have received a homogeneous re- and up-qualification in digital and green transformation together with improved soft skills.
- This in turn constitutes a viable transnational network of advanced rural tourism services with visibility in the market and sufficient choice for international and worldwide customers. It can then be upscaled in the future based on the general concepts, methodologies, and the experiences gained.
In response to this general need, the project offers 12 specific areas of support with the highest need for improvement in the areas of: digital, environmental and soft/social competences:
- Digitalization of the processes in SMEs
- Digitálny marketing and promotion
- Marketing intelligence, data analysis, marketing strategy based on data
- Sustainable management practices for SMEs
- CO2 management and reduction to address climate change
- Sustainable mobility
- Gastronomy and food based on local supply chains
- Social-cultural skills (attend visitors from different cultural background)
- Experience generation for visitors (includes development of corresponding products)
- Inclusive Tourism / Visitors with special needs
- Integration with the local community
- Interpretation techniques for cultural, historic, natural etc. resources