The Impact of Rural Tourism on Wellbeing: Romania's Case

The Impact of Rural Tourism on Wellbeing: Romania's Case

Alina Cerasela Avram (The Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1423-8.ch015
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This chapter aims to enhance general knowledge about the impact of rural tourism on the wellbeing in a country that is known to have an impressive potential both on spa and rural tourism. The approach will take into consideration the new profile of tourists in recent years and the dynamism of the tourism field in Europe. Based on the research that the author has made in recent years on health tourism and wellbeing, expanding the scientific approach to the rural area represents the next step in her approach, given the potential of this field in Romania. The chapter will address the ways of capitalising on the rural tourism resources in Romania through the specific activities of the concept of “rural wellbeing tourism.” This model has been successfully developed and implemented in the Nordic countries, Austria, Switzerland, Iceland, and Canada, and it is considered a way to generate highly competitive tourism products.
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Rural wellbeing tourism is a new concept, and it was less approached in the literature and Government policies of European countries. So, it is essential to note that its development at international level depends both on external factors, such as the success of governmental and domestic policies and internal factors, as the demand trend and the awareness of the importance of healthy and active life on the part of the population.

In Europe, one of the most complex research projects that deepen the concept of rural wellbeing tourism is the Prowell project, co-funded by the EU, awarded under the 2013 call for proposals “Supporting the enhancement and promotion of transnational thematic tourism products”. Following the analysis of the literature by the authors of the project report, a complex definition has been developed that incorporates the main components of other wellness tourism activities in the rural area:

Rural wellbeing tourism is a form of tourism that takes place in rural settings and that interconnects actively with local nature and community resources. Based on the rural tangible and intangible, openly accessible and commercial ingredients, wellbeing tourism is holistic mode of travel that integrates physical and mental wellness and health and contributes to wider positive social and individual life experiences. ‑ Source of the definition: (Hjalager, Tervo-Kankare, Tuohino, & Konu, 2015)

The term rural wellbeing tourism is a comprehensive one and shows a high level of connectivity with health tourism and medical tourism. Hjalager et al. (2015) illustrated the connection of terms for a better understanding of rural wellbeing tourism (figure 1).

Figure 1.

Rural wellbeing tourism connectivity with other tourism forms

Source: (Hjalager, Tervo-Kankare, Tuohino, & Konu, 2015)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Rural Wellbeing Destination: A rural destination where are natural resources that can be use to increase the health of the tourists

National Interests’ Resorts: Resorts that have tourism attractions and resources that are of interest for foreign tourists.

Local Interests’ Resorts: Resorts that have tourism attractions and resources that are of interest for national tourists.

Spa Resorts: Resorts that have natural resources that are scientifically proved to have a positive impact over the health of tourist.

Herculane: An iconic Romanian destination for spa that was developed by the Roma Empire.

Rural Wellbeing Tourism: A new type of tourism that combines wellness resources with rural areas in regard to increase the health of the tourists.

Ageing Population Segment: Population over 65 years that in European Union became a priority in terms of economic and social impact.

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