Nurturing Rural Strengths, Unleashing Tourism’s Potential. A Multi-Dimensional, Participatory, and Integrated Approach for Sustainable Tourism Growth in EU Rural and Remote Areas.

The project receives funding from the European Union through the Horizon Europe Programme.


Acronym & Title: TOURAL: Multidimensional model of tourism verticals driving the sustainable balanced growth among rural & remote grids and urban clusters of rural regions, fostering macro-regional cooperation

Duration: 1/1/2024 – 31/12/2026

Budget: 2.999.927 €

Partners & Countries involved: 20 partners from Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Turkey, Croatia, Italy and France.

EU rural and remote areas demonstrate a wide range of qualities, while facing a unique set of challenges. To this end, EC put forward a “Long Term Vision for Rural Areas”, identifying specific challenges and opportunities, and proposing a Rural Action Plan. A major challenge is the diversification of economic activities beyond the traditional agriculture-farming-forestry sectors, as enabler for stimulating economic growth. Evidently, tourism could become an anchor for economic development of rural and remote areas.

Motivated from the above considerations, TOURAL is focusing on cultural & creative tourism as drivers for sustainable development, paying at the same time a premium to the EC Tourism Transition Pathway requirements, within the context of smart multi-destination and multi-dimensional tourism offerings empowered by macro-regional tourism cooperation and integrated local value-chains.

TOURAL proposes a model to support the touristic development of participating rural regions, balancing the growth of their urban clusters with the untapped growth potential of their remote and rural grid cells. Our modelling approach will be multi-dimensional in terms of addressing complementary tourism verticals/niche sectors (underwater cultural & nature heritage tourism, cultural & creative tourism, cultural science tourism, silver tourism); participatory in terms of co-designing policy pathways and tourism offerings/services, co-creating business models and tourism products, and co-validating small-scale tourism services implementations; and integrated in terms of joint planning and business development with integrated value-chains, policymaking and cross-border cooperation, at macro-regions level. Our scope of interventions includes 3 regions from the Adriatic-Ionian macro-region (Italy, Croatia, Greece), and 3 regions from the Black Sea Basin (Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine).


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