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Supporting and promoting integrated tourism in Europe's lagging rural regions

The European Union's 'lagging' rural regions are relatively disadvantaged in the production of commodities for international markets; the identification of options available to such regions is therefore crucial in stemming their further socio-economic decline. Paradoxically, however, the increased homogeneity of production processes associated with globalisation increases the value of non-standard products and services, and the effective differentiation and marketing of regional products may be of critical importance and value to lagging regions.

The objective of SPRITE is to analyse and develop the potential for better integrated tourism in Europe's lagging rural regions and assess how tourism's linkages with local/regional resources, activities, products and communities may be developed. It will create a unifying conceptual framework for analysing integrated tourism by surveying tourists, businesses, communities and institutional structures in 12 study regions, produce detailed resource/activity audits and tourism value chains, and develop and operationalise decision support for integrated tourism. Links between tourism and local resource and activity structures in their economic, social and cultural dimensions will be analysed, along with the integrative processes involved and the commodification of localities, and tourism's impacts and benefits will be integrated. It will yield valuable data and analysis for practitioners and produce recommendations for more effective and sustainable integrated tourism development.

United Kingdom: The survey demonstrated that Cumbria has institutional, socio-cultural and economic networks that are more integrated and have a more established tourism identity than in the border region of England and Wales. It was found that this border inhibits co-operation.
Spain: Lack of agreement and coordination between the various actors in the regions studied has led to a deficiency in initiatives and integrated tourism is difficult to achieve. Ireland: Tourism is highly embedded in the natural, social, cultural and economic environments and generally complements the local economy, although tensions over access to land for walking and angling require a satisfactory solution.
Greece: Improved planning and leadership in rural and tourism development policy is necessary to enhance integration in tourism development. The existing human capital needs to be more involved in the development processes but both areas studied suffer from limited financial capital.
France: Development in the tourism sector in the areas studies requires improvement in the competencies of business owners/managers, especially in marketing and management, facilitating access to funds, improving networking and the regulation of quality schemes. Clear progress in the coordination of tourism is being made but most actors complain about the lack of a common policy framework for tourism.
Czech Republic: Tourism has become the most important economic activity in both the regions studied, substituting agriculture and forestry. However, there is no single umbrella organisation responsible for setting policy and planning frameworks for tourism development.


Scientist responsible for the project

Llanbadarn Campus
SY23 3AL Aberystwyth
United Kingdom (The) - GB

Phone: +44 1970 622247
Fax: +44 1970 622958


Project ID QLRT-1999-31211
Organisation University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Area 5.5
Start date 01 February 2001
Duration (months) 38
Total cost 2 457 696 €
Total EC contribution   1 903 794 €
Status Completed

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