The addressed challenges
- Rural mountain communities – excluded from the development processes.
- Lack of knowledge about valorisation, entrepreneurship, management, promotion of tourism resources, New Media use.
- Lack of specified vocational educational training (VET) opportunities.
Rural tourism as a solution
- Informed, representative participation and involvement of the local community.
- Facilitation by a third party -project consortium.
- Empowerment of the local population.
- Make informed decisions about RT in their communities.
- Implement them.
- Providing qualified abilities and
- Enhancing competitiveness on the global market.
The project aims at developing and testing a set of tools and innovative models for facilitating the development of sustainable tourism in rural areas, specifically in mountainous regions, by fostering a community consultation process, and for training selected opinion leaders to act as multipliers in enhancing community tourism planning via training existing and new local tourism operators, with various degrees of experience, professional and educational background.
The ICT approach, including e-learning (blended learning strategy), online sharing platform and a desktop and mobile application, and the training method will also facilitate integration of knowledge and experience exchange among the given stakeholders on the community level, enabling creation of joint innovative solutions, such as the new local provider networks, formation of new connections between local communities and the international tourism market and development of the rural tourist offers. This technology-enhanced innovative vocational educational training, through the technological instruments, and innovative curriculum design, will promote the rural communities’ empowerment by encouraging community consultations and fostering the role of the tourism innovators, already operating within the region, enabling these actors to play the “opinion leader” (as selected by the community during the community consultation) role within the destination and training them them to coach other actors in the destination.
- To create a set of digital tools and learning contents, delivered in open educational resources (OER) and open software licences (Open Source), for European Rural Tourism Stakeholders (Tourism Innovators)
- To valorise the local tourism resources in European Rural Areas (Waldviertel in AT, Carpathians in PL, RO, UA and Apennines in IT) through enabling and supporting the local population in using created technological tools for local heritage promotion and local tourism product development
- To promote a comprehensive view of RT attractions in the selected locations for visitors via online and mobile promotional e-tools.
- To exploit and capitalize tourism as a development economic opportunity, leveraging on New Media for the creation, administration and promotion of rural tourism initiatives.
- To empower residents of rural areas of Romania, Poland, Italy, Ukraine and Austria, by facilitating their participation, information and awareness, to take part in the development process and improvement of their livelihoods, through the processes below.
- To increase awareness of rural mountain areas’ residents (Romania, Poland, Italy, Ukraine and Austria) of the international, regional, national and local information resources and tourism – related processes and of ways to engage in them.
- To improve local stakeholder’s tourism knowledge, skills and attitudes (Romania, Poland, Italy, Ukraine and Austria) needed for the sustainable development of rural mountain communities.
- To enhance the access for tourism stakeholders in rural areas to electronic mechanisms of planning, communication and training (e-learning platform), with an emphasis on the networking component.
- To foster community consultation processes, networking and destination governance through the formation of partnerships on local and perhaps regional and national levels, serving rural sustainable development. Tourism stakeholders share the innovative rural tourism initiatives via online communication tools.
- To train a number of rural innovators, with the help of local opinion leaders, selected by the community consultation and trained to act as multipliers of the RT development training.
- To support participating communities in pilot RT product creation, using the developed technological tools.
- To transfer the innovative methodology and tools to wider areas of the EU and the Neighborhood.