This is our own personal definition of rural tourism, but as you read along, you will realize that it is inspired by the ones of national and international tourism.
Through some search on the web, we found several documents and explanation of rural Tourism. Of all this, I chose a document, The tourism strategies and rural development. (Les Strategies du Tourisme et le développement rural). It dates from 1994 but as you’ll see, it is still valid.
– Rural tourism is a complex activity of multiple facets : it is not just tourism based on the farm; it also includes vacations in the countryside, but also all type of vacations on specific topics, as well as ecotourism, hiking, mountain-biking, horse-riding, adventure, sports and health, hunting and fishing, educational trips, tourism focused on art and heritage and in some areas of ethnic tourism.
I also had looked up more information regarding sustainable tourism (and in this definition is also included experimental tourism), I found the website Babel – Voyages.com with the following definition of the WOT, UNESCO and the European Commission, updated in 2004.
“The guidelines for sustainable development and sustainable tourism management practices are applicable to all forms of tourism in all types of destinations, including mass tourism and the various tourist segments. The principles of sustainability refer to the environmental, economic and socio-cultural development of tourism. In order to guarantee the long-term sustainability of the latter, we must find the right balance between these three aspects.”
Always according to the OWT, sustainable tourism must:
“1. Make optional use of environmental resources that are a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural resources and biodiversity;
2.respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their built and living cultural assets and their traditional values and contribute to understanding and tolerance;
3. ensure long-term sustainable economic activity, providing all stakeholders with well distributed socio-economic benefits, between stable employment, benefits and social services opportunities for host communities, and contributing to poverty reduction”
Of course, this definition is not intended to be absolute exhaustive, we are also happy to open the debate. All comments are welcome.