The forceful connection between rural tourism and sustainability

Significantly influencing economic development, rural tourism has been growing in popularity during the last decades. This form of tourism is the ultimate option for ethical travelers that are passionate about countryside art, heritage, and cultural values. Noteworthy, rural tourism substantially benefits local communities, economically and socially. 

Moreover, this form of tourism is beneficial for local communities in terms of social and economic development. Following up, we’ll explain the active connection between sustainable tourism and rural areas in-depth. Furthermore, you’ll understand how they benefit each other, and why the future of sustainable growth in rural areas is so important.

What is rural tourism?

The most common characteristics for rural areas are that these are underdeveloped and sparsely civilised. Generally, local people decide to leave rural areas to settle in urban areas like cities and towns for working, earnings, services, and more. 

As the name suggests, rural tourism is an activity that brings economic and social benefits to rural destinations and the local people. Nowadays, people use many different terms to describe tourism in rural areas. One of the most popular ones is “farm tourism.”

Interesting fact: The European Community (EC) introduced “rural tourism” to the world the first time.

This sustainable way to travel is about performing a variety of tourism activities in rural areas. That ends up playing a beneficial role to promote and celebrate the local culture, improve the local economy, and contribute to the sustainable growth of the society.

Put simply, rural tourism plays an important role to shape a community in a better way. Governments around the world are pushing efforts to introduce rural tourism in their society to bring sustainability and prosperity. As of present times, rural tourism is an entirely new concept in Asia and different underdeveloped countries. 

Interestingly, there’s little research conducted on the impact of sustainable tourism on sensitive localities, especially in rural areas. In spite of that, we aim to bring light into this important matter. There’s an undeniable connection between tourism and the sustainability of rural regions.

What are the types of rural tourism?

This type of tourism takes place in agricultural or non-urban areas. An essential characteristic of this is that it allows travelers to get a ‘country experience.’ However, it encompasses a wide range of attractions and activities that the previous statement doesn’t cover. So, let’s explore its diversity with a rundown of the major types of rural tourism:

Agrarian tours

Also known as ‘agritourism’ or ‘agrotourism,’ it’s directly related to the agrarian environment. Broadly described, it allows tourists to discover more about agriculturally-based operations and activities. Supporting agricultural products has a significant role too.

The combination of agriculture and tourism offers local producers an opportunity to diversify and increase profits.

A tour can enlighten people on production, operations, and other farm activities. Tourists opt for this type of tourism for educational or recreational purposes. Either way, it brings significant benefits to local agriculture as it turns into an additional type of income and exposure for farmers.

Nature-based tours

Not to be mistaken with green tourism or sustainable tourism, ecotourism aims to promote active environmental conservation. Ecotourism is carried out by visiting natural regions (including plant and animal wildlife) to enjoy landscapes. Responsibly traveling to these natural areas will help conserve the environment while also promoting the welfare of local people.

For this reason, it plays a beneficial role for the local communities too. Nature-based tourism can be passive, where visitors are purely observers. It can also be active (which is growing in popularity), making participants take part in outdoor activities or other travel activities in nature.

Heritage tours

Commonly referred to as cultural heritage tourism, it relates to leisure travel with the primary purpose of experiencing places, artifacts, and activities that represent meaningful stories and people of the past and present. 

The orientation of this branch of tourism is towards the cultural heritage of travel destinations. Therefore, it draws attention to irreplaceable historic buildings, monuments, communities, and landscapes. It results in an entrepreneurial initiative for native people of rural areas. Plus, it’s incredibly beneficial as it helps save and preserve invaluable historical sites!

How can rural areas benefit from tourism?

Rural tourism plays a vital role in the development of local communities in rural areas in a sustainable manner. This ethical traveling choice takes place in wide-open places with low levels of tourism development, which allows travelers to make a difference. 

Countryside areas adapting to sustainable tourism let visitors directly experience agricultural and natural environments most authentically. As there are attractive advantages for both persons, rural tour operators, and travelers, this is a pure form of tourism that shouldn’t get overlooked.

Locals can earn a decent income from these activities, whether it is from new job opportunities or by selling artisanal products and offering services to tourists. There’s a supplementary source of income on the table and a higher likelihood of employment in rural sectors. Following, the power of the community as a collective increase. 

Additionally, rural tourism encourages infrastructure development and could even help reduce gender or social power issues. Lastly, it extra benefits the society of rural areas by promoting the culture and popular traditions, for instance.

Wrapping up

There are unbelievable rural destinations across the world. Some of the best-known areas are in countries like Canada, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. These places offer visitors nothing but the most authentic learning experience through observation or challenging outdoor activities. 
Growing slowly but organically, tourism in countryside sectors is letting people get in contact with nature, heritage, the tradition of small societies, and their most common practices. Back to you, do you live in a rural community and thinking of making an additional outcome through responsible tourism? Sign up to Clean Travel Connect and start your business off on the right foot.

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