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interscience.wiley.com). DOI: 10.1002/jtr.482
Rural Tourism Development in Southeastern Europe: Transition and the Search for Sustainability
Derek Hall* The Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), Ayr Campus, Auchincruive, Ayr KA6 5HW, UK
ABSTRACT This paper evaluates current issues surrounding the role and development of rural tourism in southeastern Europe (SEE) (Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and much of former Yugoslavia), setting this within the wider context of change in post-communist central and eastern Europe (CEE). It examines local and global factors of development and change, particularly within the context of aspirations towards sustainability. The paper concludes that the impacts of EU membership — both of the 2004 enlargement, and later potentially for the countries of southeastern Europe themselves — is likely to be crucial in market and product development for rural tourism. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Received 7 October 2003; Revised 2 December 2003; Accepted 5 December 2003
Keywords: rural tourism; southeastern Europe. INTRODUCTION
his paper evaluates current issues surrounding the role and development of rural tourism in southeastern Europe
*Correspondence to: D. Hall, The Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), Ayr Campus, Auchincruive, Ayr KA6 5HW, UK. E-mail: email@example.com
(SEE) (Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and much of former Yugoslavia), setting this within the wider context of change in post-communist central and eastern Europe (CEE). It examines local and global factors of development and change. Data problems beset most critical analyses of rural tourism development, but they are particularly notable in this corner of Europe where few recorded data exist to provide a coherent overall picture of its strength and distribution. In Europe as a whole, three critical issues in the development of rural tourism have been recognised. First, although visitors are attracted to rural areas by their distinctive regional, social and cultural heritage, landscape qualities and perceived cleaner environment, these very qualities may be threatened by the impacts of tourism and recreational activity. Second, training for rural tourism provision is often not available or not taken up to assist improvement in the quality and appropriateness of rural tourism products. Third, rural tourism products can be relatively isolated and in most cases will beneﬁt from collaboration and networking in promotion and marketing (Edmunds, 1999; Long and Lane, 2000; Roberts and Hall, 2001). Conditions in SEE are such that the ﬁrst problem is less pressing than in much of the rest of Europe, but the second and third issues require substantial attention within the region (Hall, 1998b). Each country, subregion and sector has its own particular characteristics, aspirations and priorities. There is a range of critical issues that can act to mould and constrain attempts to render rural tourism development both
Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
2000) and the ‘transition’ goal of incorporation into the global capitalist system. ¯ but even more importantly.g. By contrast. what Meurs and Ranasinghe (2003) refer to as ‘de-development’ — the loss or reversed trend of key development structures and institutions — is evident. J. patterns of tourism development in Bulgaria and Romania. tourisminduced migration out of rural areas could bring temporary improvement for individual migrants. Most images of modernisation transmitted to the region are urban based. The relatively smooth accession to an enlarged EU indicates the extent to which. (5) the need for tourism development to be integrated into local economies and social structures through back-linkages. tourists — and locals (Houliat. Light and Dumbraveanu. These include: (1) the role of global development agencies. Slovenia and the former Soviet Baltic republics have become compliant to ‘European norms’.g. D. in the 15 years since state socialism.166 ﬁnancially successful and socially and environmentally sustainable. the rural tourism sector can be fragile even under favourable conditions (Lane. there will be a number of signiﬁcant knock-on effects for SEE. and between members of the local ‘community’ themselves (Verbole and Cottrell. particularly in encouraging collaboration and networking for overall promotion and marketing. particularly for the young. Hall. that follows. Further. Ltd. 1998b) — most notably the need to improve rural infrastructures and to support local private sectors confronted by the competition of multinational companies. 1999). These issues are either explicit or implicit in the analysis. whether within or outside the EU (Coles and Hall. 2000b). the former Soviet bloc states of central Europe (Czech Republic. Although continuity is expected to be the dominant feature of the post-accession trajectory of tourism development within an EU of ˇ 25 members (e. Hungary. and perhaps a tourism shadow effect of depressed demand resulting from rejuvenated growth within neighbouring countries now part of the enlarged EU and Schengen Group. ‘fast track’ candidates not acceding in 2004. both between outsiders — developers. Rural tourism has begun to be viewed as a possible vehicle for this. Int. 2002). Tourism Res. (4) the requirement to resolve conﬂicting perceptions of need. either owing to conﬂict in the 1990s or post-communist hiatus. 2004). however. 2000a). Indeed. 1998). 2004). local ownership and control. consultants (Simpson and Roberts. where living conditions and economic opportunities have tended to be viewed as second rate (Poulsen. and the recognition of the nature and role of social capital to enable this to be effective (Roberts. 1977). Looking to the longer term. 2000a. Turnock (2002a) argues that development threats in such important ecological areas as the Carpathian mountains in Romania will become more intense. reinforcing the positive perception of urban life and the relative negative image of rurality. notably the nature and extent of new conﬁgurations of cross-border ﬂows (e. Poland. focusing on the search for sustainability and regional re-imaging. perhaps as a result of being viewed by a new generation of travellers as part of an exotic non-EU ‘other’. 6. but often delayed the addressing of long-term structural Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons. 2004). in parts of SEE. to raise overall per capita spend which is currently generally low by European standards (Table 1). Williams and Baláz. particularly women.g. or both. A crucial issue in SEE is both to increase tourist numbers (e. (2) the policy shift to minimise state intervention when there is often a need for governmental intervention and/or public–private partnership ventures to assist the longer term sustainability of tourism (Hall. 1999). Hall inequalities in rural source areas. but such an aspiration will not be realistic until quality is improved. CONTEXT During the 1960s to 1980s. (3) the need to manage the spatially separated demands of higher spending market segments and those of apparently diffusing mass market demands from within the region (Jordan. 165–176 (2004) . do not present an image of improving quality. Slovak Republic). conservationists. particularly in former Yugoslavia where there was little control on population movement.
g. economic and cultural situations. 6. behavioural orientations. more attention needs to be paid to intangible capital formation that creates new ‘soft’ factors such as Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons. RURAL TOURISM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY The CEE post-communist societies are often referred to as being in ‘transition’. 2002a. FYR Moldova Romania Serbia/Montenegroa Turkey Central and eastern Europe (2004 EU entrants) Czech Republic Estonia Hungarya Latvia Lithuania Poland Slovakia Slovenia NA: data not available. According to Intriligator (1998). cultural and psychological pre-conditions. towns. Ltd. 2002b. of subnational trajectories — having an impact on speciﬁc cities. Eikeland and Riabova. attitudes. This is important for understanding rural tourism development in SEE. 165–176 (2004) . Southeastern. alongside political and economic factors. those nations in which both political and economic reforms have been successful simultaneously. homogeneous European nations with a historic work ethic. 2002. however. a relatively short period of state socialism and support from neighbouring advanced industrialised nations. ‘Transition’ is an holistic process. author’s additional calculations International tourism receipts per capita (in US$) 2000/ 1995 (as %) 2000/ 1990 (as %) Region South eastern European (including Turkey) Country 1990 1995 1998 1999 2000 Albania Bosnia-Hercegovina Bulgaria Croatia Macedonia. and models of CEE’s transformation processes have often underestimated the impact of social. 2003). 421) — all important elements of social capital (Roberts. 2004). such elements have often been ignored or marginalised in the economic transition literature (Marangos. 1990–2000. villages and peripheral regions (e. a Arrivals data include all visitors. As a result. Critical examination. such as the Czech Republic. as ‘transition’ processes may actually Int. p. J. 133 NA 201 242 80 NA 35 352 672 1625 175 136 905 127 133 214 183 700 1929 233 362 607 94 200 88 125 801 NA 233 377 654 117 200 79 112 755 NA 155 385 473 168 235 111 NA 796 NA 89 283 52 132 177 52 NA 114 NA NA 192 195 210 NA 317 NA 118 58 NA 40 NA NA 105 85 1109 851 666 135 38 118 344 688 1485 679 643 209 319 323 423 543 1110 541 589 236 241 387 340 470 1084 503 459 220 NA 318 351 411 878 59 69 163 NA 270 102 60 59 867 NA 550 NA NA 334 484 79 TRANSFORMATION. are generally small. values and beliefs (Tomer. however. 2002) — highlights local adaptations to ﬂuid political. Tourism Res. central and eastern Europe: international tourist receipts per capita. Source: WTO.Rural Tourism in Southeastern Europe 167 Table 1. and in the development of rural tourism as in other sectors. a term used to represent the shift away from central economic planning almost exclusively in terms of market-orientated reform.
In practice. as spatial and structural distortions in post-communist economies have tended to focus activity on major urban areas in favoured regions. however. which contribute to a diverse industrial region in a distinctive physical and cultural setting (Hillinger et al. Bucharest. One model can be found in Hungary. 2001). Hall ernment at a strategic level with local and regionally based partnership schemes. marketing and advisory services for small businesses (Czegledi. however. Belgrade and Tirana may have some way to go in this respect. for example. 1999. 1998) and Zagreb (Goluza. with the post-communist reduction of the role of the state. Clear examples here include Kraków (Blonski. The relative ﬂexibility and proactive stance of a number of para-statal bodies. the Romanian tourism ministry identiﬁed rural tourism as a major growth area in 1995 (Light and Andone. Tourism Res. it has tended to reinforce the economic dominance of metropolitan regions. 1996). locally controlled tourism generation. where large regional associations overseeing the development of rural tourism have responsibilities for infrastructural development. For example. Such developments may be left relatively isolated. and often rapidly changing. or opportunities for. RURAL TOURISM AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT In the earlier post-communist years. sustainable practice. transport systems and power stations. however. and to overcome isolation and fragmentation. 1996). for example. Indeed. the role of industrial heritage can draw together tourism. In Romania. sometimes in partnership. there are increasing opportunities for rural attractions to act as a basic resource for tourism organised and sustained through locally owned small enterprises. ethnic. J. most SEE governments have shown an unwillingness or inability to invest in the tourism industry or to secure signiﬁcant international funding for it. 6. talks about a lack of conﬁdence in rural tourism having relatively deep roots. Such territorial distortion will intensify as CEE cities reposition themselves in attempts to become major European cultural destinations. gender and regional inequalities that have persisted from situations of rural and regional exploitation under central planning (Staddon. But the need to balance different. b) examination of the emergence and inﬂuence of rural tourism NGOs in Romania and Bulgaria emphasised the importance of intangible elements of new social practices as factors critical to successful partnerships. 1998). urban–rural. Although. class. Within restructuring processes. Roberts and Simpson’s (1999a. history and conservation in making a contribution to sustainable development. Ltd. particularly in marketing and promotion. and there is an overall need for governments to pursue policies favouring a better equilibrium between different functions. not least in tourism. An example is the Resit a area of the Banat ¸ Carpathians in Romania. It possesses mining installations. 165–176 (2004) . suggests the need to combine the role of central govCopyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons. Although increasing numbers and types of niche activities are gradually being recognised and responded to. developed under Habsburg administration in the eighteenth century. 2001). however.168 reinforce and rejuvenate long-standing core– periphery. there tended to be less concern regarding tourism’s Int. localities and development institutions (Debailleul. although rural tourism is being complemented by conservation measures in the country’s valuable mountain areas. Hájek (2002). Where rural tourism ﬂourishes. has stimulated initiatives. however. Yet the societies of CEE contain many diverse rural cultures. D. high income. market demands. for example. 1999). With a spatially and structurally dynamic mix of mass and specialist market segments to target. the beneﬁts of such diversiﬁcation tend to be spatially concentrated within a few communities in any one region (Muica et al.. Soﬁa. remains limited and patchy. it may actually be despite rather than because of government action. This is reinforced by Turnock’s (2002b) observations on Maramures in north¸ ern Romania. which present wideranging development opportunities for smallscale. 2001). particularly in relation to constraints on. tourism has the potential to ameliorate uneven regional development.. The contribution of tourism to rural development in SEE.
Nonetheless. tourism can be used as one of a range of tools in assisting environmental improvement in degraded rural regions (e. Nonetheless. Local environmental action plans can assist tourism’s role in consolidating back linkages with local cultures and environment (e. This resulted from the fact that heavy concentrations of atmospheric emissions. Tourism Res. and they argue that the promotion and sale of services in ecotourism in Croatia is well suited to e-commerce and its substantial potential growth.g. water pollution and acid rain damage to forests received much negative media publicity in the early 1990s. protected areas within the country.g. 2001). as a result of which villagers may treat them with caution. such as exclusion from environmentally sensitive areas or the banning of such pursuits as hunting can meet resistance if seen to echo the half-century of post-war communist imposition. 2000). They cite bird-watching as a notable element of ecotourism appropriate for Web-based promotion. Reﬂecting government attitudes. currently covering about 5% of the land area. The empowerment of women in rural tourism development faces a double burden of the legacy of half a century of general subservience. Speh and Plut. Buzarovski.Rural Tourism in Southeastern Europe impacts on the environment than about the reality and image of environmental degradation constraining tourism development (Hall. drawing on a perceived ‘inexhaustible’ supply of natural products. and ‘Western’ international tourists actually presented welcome contact with the outside world. Holland. Romanian conservationists and rural resort developers in the Apuseni mountains of the western Carpathians over competing claims on forested uplands have articulated a number of rural tourism sustainability issues (Houliat. as in Romania’s Danube Delta. For example. The positive elements of the region’s nature reserves. service industries were regarded by NGOs as of secondary signiﬁcance and largely lacking natural resource impacts. Thus the link between rural tourism and sustainable development may not be strong or be consciously pursued. Thus Bulgaria now has the ambition to become the model Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons. 2001). ecologically inspired restrictions of personal freedom. and an underlying male-oriented nature of much of the region (Hall. 169 European destination for ecotourism development. have tended to express limited interest in tourism. Ltd. J. Staddon. Debates on the pursuit of small-scale. 1999. This is partly because much tourism before 1989 was domestically and regionally generated. according to the national strategy for biodiversity (Popiordanov. are planned to be increased to 12% by 2010. 2003). Also problematic for rural tourism development is the fact that NGOs are often concentrated in major urban centres and may have poor representation in outlying regions. The establishment of protected areas.g. ‘Ecotourism’ in particular has come to be viewed as an ‘easy’ entry to niche tourism markets. According to Vajda-Mlinacek and Gradisnik (2001) the whole of continental Croatia has a potential for rural tourism and ecotourism development. may persist. and gesturing towards ideals of sustainability and environmental awareness. Conﬂicts between local inhabitants. Yet the speciﬁc meaning and implications of the term are less than clearly articulated. 2000b). if not suspicion (e. however.g. which largely emerged towards the end of the communist era. 2001). ‘sustainable’ tourism and advocacy of local control often fail to address gender considerations as a central concern. 1999). national parks and relatively pristine wildernesses were rarely invoked to counterbalance the otherwise negative media imagery portrayed in the West. 165–176 (2004) . A number of sustainability issues inherited from past attitudes. Environmental NGOs such as Bulgaria’s Ecoglasnost. The target of such NGOs tended to be the environmental consequences of states’ giganticism in industrial policy. Provision of employment and income-generating processes such as the recruitment of park wardens and the encouragement of hosting bed and breakfast type accommodation have been needed to prevent rural communities feeling that their livelihood is threatened by conservation designations (Hall. 1993). and can support the better understanding of changing relationships between localities and their resource hinterlands (e. 2001). 6. have required considerable effort to involve local residents. The extent to which rural tourism can shift the balance of economic power within farm households and help open up rural Int. however.
each interacting with each other in attempting to attain their own particular goals and aspirations. with relatively high wages and employing a ‘critical mass’ of women. 1997). Outside the region. Based on work in Slovenia. Devedzic (2002) saw tourism development transforming gender relationships and roles to varying degrees in two distinct patriarchal host societies. 1997). Tourism Res. 1996). This division of female labour is Int. or establishing one-person. Management of farm-based attractions.170 employment provision for women is contested (Petrin. Ltd. such as a clean water supply. More analysis is required of the importance of local community relationships in a region where continuity from the communist past may be unseen but crucial. Holland. In these and similar schemes across SEE. Tensions may arise as the result of misunderstanding and incompatability of objectives. particularly when the involvement of women in the management of rural bed and breakfast facilities can be stereotyped as a ‘natural’ extension of their ‘domestic role’. piped sewage disposal facilities. 1998a. 2000). enabling them to distance themselves from the notion of tourism employment being an extension of feminised domestic work. and thereby reduce their daily burden (Hall. particularly when they often do not have the appropriate connections and access to the old male-dominated ‘survival networks’ (Koulov. women have been targeted as agents of development. Yet for local people. D. groups and organisations. In Montenegro. family or collaborative SMEs are alternatives (Petrin. 2002). Both groups were drawn into tourism. Alenka Verbole’s research (Verbole. 1996. J. may wish to present the absence of infrastructure as providing a pristine environment appealing to Western tourists. 6. Verbole and Cottrell. can help to ease women’s burden within transition processes. sustainability ideals of community involvement and ownership of tourism development has often been inhibited by a lack of local experience of bottom-up development and opportunities to participate in local decision making. is unfettered access to land and property (Bob and Musyoki. 2000c. Siiskonen. 2002. for example. Hartl. participation in such schemes may be pursued on the assumption that tourism development will help improve their local infrastructures and services. but the Montenegrin women found for themselves a greater sense of independence and identity than did the Albanian women. The promoters of ‘ecotourism’ projects. specialised training and access to credit in order to encourage women’s entrepreneurial activity are all required (Weiner. 165–176 (2004) . particularly in less developed regions. 2000. 1996. Hall minimised in Western consultancy-led rural development programmes. Kulcsar and Verbole. Ghodsee (2003) argues that in the case of Bulgaria at least. Improved collection of data and information. and especially women. Kewell. 1996. 1996). for example. Small-scale. points to rural tourism development as a negotiated process involving a number of social actors — individuals. The intersection of gender and ethnic differentiation raises further sustainability issues. ‘community’ based. electricity. ‘sustainable’ rural tourism projects have been a notable element of European-aided projects in a number of countries. she indicates the importance of understanding the sociopolitical dimensions of rural tourism development at the community level. Post-communist loss of rural social services such as kindergarten and health and maternity care present major constraints for entrepreneurial women. access to information and communications technology and provide business training courses and advice. through the employment of participatory rural appraisal (PRA) in collaboration with local NGOs. A basic need. an access road and telecommunications. Some have been supported by aid-assisted business incubators — facilities that can provide low rent ofﬁce space. migrant Romanian women are employed in the northern (Turkish) Cyprus tourism labour force in occupations considered ‘unsuitable’ by local (Muslim) women (notably as casino croupiers). however. factors often Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons. Schemes to reduce the danger of villages becoming impoverished in the backwash of large-scale coastal tourism development have sought to enhance local economic and social capacity and encourage ﬁnancial institutions to support rural ‘self-help’ schemes (Fisher. state support for viable economic sectors such as tourism. Slavic Montenegrins and Muslim ethnic Albanians. In the case of Albania. 2002). 2003).
1998). ´ Well-integrated high unit value rural tourism can provide an important complement and counterbalance to the coastal mass tourism that has tended to characterise SEE’s past. Eurogites — the European Organisation for Rural Tourism (Eurogites. many of which now require quality and infrastructure upgrading and product diversiﬁcation. and village renewal is approached as merely a building task with the reconstruction of houses destroyed by conﬂict in the 1990s. However. RURAL TOURISM PRODUCERS AND PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Farm-based tourism. 1997). and a general underestimation of the ﬁnancial beneﬁts for local governments (Brabencová. In Slovenia. The rural population’s level of interest in entering the agritourism business was generally low. lack of time to spend with guests. and in attempts to deny or remove the period from each country’s past and to create a new imagery that is consistent with post-communist identity. reorientation of farms to such specialisation as organic food production. In 1992 in the then Czechoslovakia. and conditions for development differed notably between regions (Pourová. Promotion of rural heritage. improvements in the appearance of villages and development of infrastructure (Maciejewska. Under state socialism some rural areas were transformed into winter sports centres and holiday complexes. growth of the aspiration and ambition of farmers. have all been credited to farm tourism development in CEE. can play a crucial role when small farms have to adjust to depressed agricultural prices and increased competition. Family farm tourism in Croatia. Employment creation. low quality farm accommodation. 171 Again collaboration and networking would appear vital. has argued that most rural areas and villages in their country are still viewed by Croatians in terms of agricultural production. a survey undertaken in the mid-1990s in the Czech Republic indicated that the development of agritourism had been rather elementary. however. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons. this is a heritage that is deﬁned and constructed largely by Western source markets. rejuvenation and integration of rural environments. income growth. has been seen to help allay depopulation. lack of ﬁnance to start a business.Rural Tourism in Southeastern Europe seen to highlight women’s dual role and identity for both Cypriots and Romanians (Scott. Ltd. include mediocre knowledge of agritourism and rural tourism. 2002). 2002). 1995. has a long pedigree: the development of open air ‘village museums’ is typiﬁed by that located on the edge of Bucharest (Focsa. 2003) — has embraced a number of CEE rural tourism organisations. 1999). 2001. The legacy of communism itself has become a product of heritage and has attracted international tourism interest. 2000). Sori (2000) has complained that there is too little encouragement for quality tourist projects which involve farms. 2000). Examples of successful rural tourism are claimed to be rare (Kranjcevic. Tourism Res. 165–176 (2004) . Yet. J. as an important element of rural restructuring and revitalisation. without purposeful guidance and strategy formulated by state administration. low levels of village infrastructure. At least one ´ ´ researcher. It produces a rural tourism and heritage trail guide book (Burian. and is considered a valuable partner in tourism development by the Czech government. All SEE countries contain forest and wilderness areas: the spectacular scenery of the Int. Attractive landscape or particular elements of the natural environment can complement and provide the context for cultural attractions. particularly in combination with activities such as sheep breeding. Risk factors identiﬁed. as expressed in the apparent lack of interest to intepret the legacy of communism for tourists. lack of information about the requirements of guests. low levels of information about tourism activities and opportunities in villages. but SEE representation is drawn from just Croatia and Romania. as Light (2000a. and provides an interesting model for SEE. 6. ¸ 1970). as an integral element of cultural history. while also raising farm incomes and generating conﬁdence to diversify crop and livestock production (Franic and Grgic. however. a pilot organic farm holiday programme was begun that became the core of the European Centre for Eco-Agro Tourism (ECEAT). 2000b) has argued. Within SEE there is often little desire to remember the period of communism. grape and olive growing and processing. This project is estimated to generate 3500 guests annually. Musial.
1999. Tourism Res. Indicative of some of these constraints. RURAL TOURISM AND THE RE-IMAGING OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE For governments and destinations of the region the post-communist reinvigoration of a sense of historical perspective. Part of the escape strategy from the past in SEE is to diversify away from mass coastal tourism and to emphasise the uniqueness of cultural and natural resources (Bralic. Similarly. 1999. low market demand and limited entrepreneurial awareness. albeit as one component of a wider. Thus Serbia is seeking to identify itself with ‘natural’ imagery of sustainable. 2000). and the pre-accession requirement for economic restructuring in rural areas has generated additional pressures on rural and regional diversiﬁcation and re-imaging processes. the development of rural conference centres (e. Ltd. 2000) draw on local cultural traditions dating back to classical times. National Authority for Tourism. Hall. Jordan. 165–176 (2004) . a heightened awareness of nationality and the need to recast images tarnished by conﬂict. Bachvarov. 2004). however. Water features can play an important role in enhancing a landscape. however. which can both respond to and encourage rural cultural tourism trends. Theme park development. Wieczorek. such as gastronomy (e. Certainly. 2000).g. foreshadowed by Roberts (1996). Proactive local prestige projects now familiar in western Europe have been limited. 2002). The reimaging of rural areas in CEE for tourism and Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons. Indeed. Both countries were seen as cheap destinations. Hall economic development purposes has also become entwined with national objectives associated with EU enlargement (Hall and Danta.g. surrounding the planned development of a Dracula Park in Romania (Dan Covali Consult.g. Some segmentation. 2001). Most had not considered either country. a German survey of over 400 people — a substantial proportion of whom had recently taken holidays in mountain and other rural areas — uncovered quite limited knowledge and negative perceptions of rural holiday potential in Romania and Bulgaria. Kraus. has attracted some degree of notoriety as a result of contested sustainability debates. Stifanic. Formica and McCleary. Bulgaria was generally viewed more Int. 6. not necessarily consistent. particularly with restructuring rural economies. 2001) in the promotion of traditional. 2000) represent direct responses to perceived demand for access to challenging nature. 2000a. 1995. Tourism destination marketers and entrepreneurs (and politicians) tend to look for short-term results when longer time-frames for returns on development investment are required. Generating consistent identities via rural tourism imagery in SEE.g. 2002).g. 1999) and the Rila/Pirin ranges in Bulgaria are comparable to most west European counterparts. such as health and spa resorts (e. the Danube Delta is a major attraction for wildlife specialists. marketing campaigns tend to be fragmented and underfunded. has been based on local economic back-linkages. 2000) and heritage trails (e. national process of identity renewal. J. rapidly growing activity holiday segments (e. Kornecki.b. D. is constrained by several factors. Seaton and Alford. 2003) appears minimal. a number of authors have pointed to the critical need for SEE destination countries to diversify away from coastal mass to more specialised higher value activities in the interior (e. For example.and eco-tourism (Popesku and Hall. ‘idyllic’ portrayals of timeless sustainability. 1999. has encouraged employment of tourism marketing as one vehicle through which such to express identity and aspirations (Hall. 2000. 1999. and largely associated them with Black Sea mass resorts. Popesku.172 Carpathian mountains in Romania (Turnock. ´ Meler and Ruzic. although the balance between public and private sector responsibility and emphasis varies between countries. a requirement that strongly ties (rural) tourism development to national imagery. Rural areas are being re-imaged (Roberts and Hall. Thus there is as yet an absence in SEE of book towns (Seaton. 2002). largely because of poor infrastructure. NTOM. although appropriate infrastructure and quality levels may not yet be in place.g. Other segments. 2003). 1997. and Montenegro has declared itself to be ‘an ecological state’ (Montenet. such as the World Heritage Site Plitvice lakes and waterfalls in Croatia. 1999).
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