NECSTouR was invited by the Galicia Region, a NECSTouR member, to take part of their conference about the future of the rural world, including agritourism, taking place in Santiago de Compostela, from the 5th to the 8th of November. Sandra de Puig, head of policy and knowledge at NECSTouR permanent secretariat, presented the CHARM project and the initiatives on rural tourism from different NECSTouR members.
Tourism – A gateway to the rural world. NECSTouR was invited to talk about innovative and sustainable development plans in rural tourism implemented by NECSTouR members.
- The Agritourism Monitor Farm project in Scotland is a platform created to exchange good practices within Scottish farming sector. The initiative helps farm businesses by providing support, knowledge exchange, skills development and confidence-building to a wide range of SMEs across Scotland – in particular, agritourism businesses and farmers wishing to consider tourism as a farm enterprise.
- The rebranded image of Ostbelgien (the German-speaking community of Belgium) is now shared by restaurants and institutions alike. Touristic and regional marketing supported each other in 2014 in making the region visible and attractive with a new brand and logo.
- Since 2015, the tourism organization of Vojvodina (Serbia) is providing handbooks and educations sessions to agricultural businesses for developing rural tourism in the area.
- The G.R.E.E.N. strategy in South Limburg (the Netherlands) is supported by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council to put the main focus on the ecological and rural aspect of South Limburg touristic strategy.
CHARM – European Charming Villages
Started in 2019, the CHARM project aims to internationally position Europe as an integral destination of quality and excellence for cultural tourism, by promoting its most charming rural villages. The CHARM Project is co-funded by the COSME program, led by the Catalonia Region and supported by the Institute for Tourism Research in Northern Europe (NIT). NECSTouR is also a member of the consortium.
The CHARM Project is drawing a transnational route of 10 European Charming Villages across 6 EU countries with a solid and competitive offer for visitors. It will be operated through the creation of at least 70 innovative products and activities in these villages. The ideas are coming from transnational value chains made of tourist agents and are integrating Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) technologies to reinforce the attractiveness of the CHARM villages. The goal is to develop a promotional, branding, and cross-selling strategy to enhance the international visibility and reputation of Europe as an integral cultural destination, by targeting the right segments and key outbound markets.
Tourism can be a powerful regeneration tool and improve the quality of live for rural areas. There are many examples of cohesive good practices in the different projects implemented by NECSTouR and its members: capacity building, empowerment and involvement of the community, multilevel cooperation, valorisation of endogenous assets, co-branding, value chain cooperation and cross cutting policies… Resulting in an improvement in quality of certification and standards, and new communications strategies with better applied technologies in marketing, management and investment.
The main topic of the conference, co-organized by the Galician Agency for Rural Development (Agader) and the Regional Government of Galicia (Xunta de Galicia), was "On the Way to the Rural World". It was dedicated to the future of the rural world through sustainable land management and innovative options for trade and local products. NECSTouR expertise was required to highlights how tourism could be the key to open the gateway to the rural heritage, cultures and traditions.