How tourism can help rural areas

Urbanisation is in full effect, people leave the countryside in search for jobs in the city. The result is a depopulation of hinterland where the average population is past of working age and the local economy is dropping. So how can tourism help?

Well, with an increased interest of living in urban cities comes an even greater wish of escaping it. That’s where tourism comes in! I want to talk about what people can do to offer rich amenities for those wishing to leave the cities. Whether it may be renting your place out as a second home or weekend cabin through organised unions, or starting a new business focused nature experiences. The demand is there and it will rise, how can we meet this?

Date: 2014-10-25 12:30:00 - 2014-10-25 12:30:00, Europe/Stockholm Time.

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Good work @Björn_Ekblom. Here is a little housekeeping for your session to show up beautifully in the LOTE4 program page: first of all, I assigned the event to the group feeding that page, which is called Sessions at LOTE4: The Stewardship. This is done, so you don’t need to worry about that anymore.

The second thing to do is to upload a session logo. Simply head over to your session’s page, click the Edit tab, locate the Event Logo field and click on the upload image button. When you are done, hit Save.

Don’t forget to let people know you are having this session, on Twitter and Facebook. If you use the lote4 hashtag we will try to retweet and reshare, too.

You picture too!

@Björn_Ekblom, another thing we would need to beautify the program is your own picture! Instructions are here in the User manual. At the moment it looks like this:

I want to know more

that’s quite an interesting topic but can u explain a bit more here before the lote4 .

like what do u mean by “rich amenities ” and how to sustain this as mostly tourism is seasonal based .and how not to urbanize the rural

lots of questions like this pop up when talking about tourism and I am curious to know more about your approach ( especially I come from Egypt and there is not much eco -tourism and alternative ways of tourism even there are lots of potentials …would be really happy to learn from other experiences )

Roger that, work in progress!

Glad to hear that others find this topic interesting too! In my opinion tourism will always play an important role of the country’s economy and structure of population and even better, it will always evolve! Combining our experiences might answer many questions we all have regarding the subject, looking forward to that.

What an amenity is often related to properties, as in what makes the property extra desirable. This may be the case of an extra bed-room but also a nice backyard, though many people, like me, interpret it a bit wider. In this sense, amenities for us are the beautiful nature, animals and extra services that we offer on the farm. Most of these are things that you cannot experience in the cities.

Seasonality is also a matter of aspect. For us the high season is of course the summertime but just because winter sets in, people don’t want to stop experiencing. It is just a matter of adjustment and fit the change of demand, for example laying down cross-country ski tracks or offer conferences and teambuilding.

Regarding eco-tourism it is not only about leaving minimal footprints in the nature but also the learning experience. If the client can go home with a feeling of great experience that did not come of the cost of mother nature but also learnt from it, then in my opinion you are doing it right. Not only exploit what is there but also give something back!

Wow, i’m rambling on haha. The aspect of tourism is so wide and there is always something new and interesting to discuss :slight_smile:

Creating logo and picture is on the way and hopefully done before todays end.

Rural vitality


In passing, given the theme of #LOTE4, I thought I’d flag up the experience of the Western Isles in Scotland.  40% of the Isles are now in community ownership and since that has happened, rural depopulation has reversed, local economies have grown, and young people are less likely to move to the cities.  A recent major study concluded that community ownership has been some 250% more ‘successful’ than land remaining in private ownership.  Tourism is obviously important - but community ownership (stewardship) is more important.

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That sounds like an interesting story, @SteveClare, I was not aware of it. Could you point us to some resources? What does it mean that the land is now communally owned? Did they reclaim it from the owners and give it to the Scottish equivalent of American Indian tribes?

Hej Björn

Im really curious about this topic. Just had a conversation today with friends who have just had a baby. They joined a community supported agriculture scheme in Berlin. Part of the reason was that the baby’s doctor had advised them to choose “bio” food especially while breastfeeding. The other part was that this scheme requires customers to do some volunteer work on the farm or on delivery etc a couple of times a year. And they really liked the idea of getting out of the city and being on a farm with the baby when she’s older.

Actually, now I realise on reading your session proposal that the underlying theme of basically all our conversations the past few days was a combination wanting to escape the city but not feeling that you can for social or professional reasons…and how to re-engineer one’s lifestyle rather than just taking “vacations” from it.

On a side note it would be interesting to hear a comparison of experiences setting up different kinds of rural tourism in different parts of the workd, For example, you may be interested in learning more about the long trek organised by @andrea.paoletti and others in the same region where LOTE4 is located (5 days). Its really cool and they do a great job of bringing together lovely people around these neturalwalks.

Oh yes! the program info

I’m putting together the program in a booklet for people to carry around (with practical information about the event e.g. schedules, maps etc). I forgot that I have a few questions to prepare the section about your session

  1. Is it a talk, or workshop or little of both? How much time do you need for it?

  2. Where do you plan to hold it (at unMonastery, or out in the city/in nature?) What resources do you need: projector, speakers, etc ?

  3. Is it in English? Is it friendly to Italian speakers and if so do you think you can write one paragraph about it in the Italian?

  4. Do you have any ideas on what you think is a good way to document what is learned from this session on the Edgeryders platform for everyone who cannot make it in person? Is there something we would need to prepare in advance e.g instructions for participants?

  5. Do you have a short bio somewhere (1 paragraph) and a photo I can use for the program? And what’s the best way to reach you during the event…twitter/cell phone number/

Lot’s of questions, sorry. We send this info to everyone in advance so they know whats going on and what to prepare.

Community Land Ownership in Scotland

Hi Alberto

Here’s a bit of background: and

More specifically, here’s a summary of a recent (2013) study looking at the performance of 12 community-owned ‘estates’ in western Scotland.

See related ppt:

Here’s a summary of the process:  It doesn’t cover the legislation but is good re community engagement process.


Good material, some questions left

Thanks @SteveClare, I checked a couple of the links and they are really interesting. Important resource.

“After securing the land, some communities have moved to take control of their local energy needs; some are generating power for export, with the revenues, in part, being used to create local investment funds to help support future economic growth. Most community owners are providing land for new housing, renovating, or developing new housing themselves. Many are building work and community spaces, retailing, producing food, planting and managing forests and creating new forest tenancies, investing in the renovation of key local infrastructure, all as a basis for more locally determined economic progress.”

I guess I need to understand better this “right to buy” thing. The best explanation I have found is here: Community right to buy (Part 2) - Land reform -

hey guys!

Yes, very interesting topic!

Actually next week I´ll be going to the Isle of Eigg, for a couple of days. (first trip to the Highlands)

Eigg is one of the Islands, not only community owned, but also 100% dependent on alternative energies only. :-) Yes, very interesting topic.

Interesting to realise that any electric appliance that produces heat, spends too much energy… meaning it’s a waste you can´t afford, for instance, hair drier! I like the idea. Sustainable actually is sustainable exactly because what you can do is limited. Simply that. Limits and options.

Alberto, I’m so sorry I won’t be coming to LOTE 4. (I would attend this section)

So many interesting topics. Have great fun! Hope to meet you all again next year! (or before that!)

Steve, I´m living in Glasgow.

Not yet known anyone “from the edge” on these lands, are you living around here? :slight_smile:

more resources

This is a related resource mentioned by Paul Baines from the Great Lake Commons Map case studies interview which I will post shortly. It gives a nice history of Conquest, Colonialism and the Commons in England and Scotland.

This is a link to Scottish Empowerment Bill (easy read version) provided by Beth Dynowski who will do a case studies interview next week about the Pipe Factory in Glasgow– stay tuned.


Some questions left

Hi Alberto

Don’t get too hung up on the Right to Buy legislation.  This sort of thing was happening well before the legislation was passed - the law usually (belatedly) follows practice and reflects reality rather than the other way around.  It’s community ownership itself that unleashes the creativity and makes the real difference - that’s what is important.  Sod the law!

And yet

I understand where you are coming from, Steve. But I know from experience that governance details matter. What does it even mean to communally own the land? We are partners in a company that owns the land? The local authority owns the land? The clan chieftain on behalf of the clan? The tribe’s elders? What can the entity doing the owning do? Develop, for sure. Resell? Resell at a surplus? Does owning the land communally mean that people need to to village politics, like one meeting a week? One a month? Do people quarrel a lot, like in condominium meetings?

Following on

Hi Alberto & Pacheca

I absolutely agree with the points you make re governance.  But I don’t see any of that as relevant to legislation per se.  Indeed, the more that external ‘restrictions’ and ‘rules’ are applied by legislation, the less likely a project is to succeed (in our experience in the UK).  Incidentally, asset locks are essential to ensure community owned land and buildings are retained for community benefit in perpetuity and can never be sold for personal gain.

Pacheca: unfortunately I actually live in London rather than the Western Isles.  Locality is an England-wide network of community organisations that use community asset ownership and community enterprise as a route to sustainability and community empowerment.  We have a sister organisation in Scotland, Development Trusts Association Scotland, which includes many of the community-owned islands/estates within their membership.  Worth checking out their website.

I have changed the provisional schedule, please ok it @Bjorn Ekblom

Learning rural skills (in Romania?)

I met Nick and others from Incredible Farm at The Oxford Real Farming Conference early this year.  Nick ran a session about his ideas to start some kind of rural skills visits to Romania.  He has been there a few times and is impressed by the widespread use of small scale agriculture and the skills that people in rural areas possess.  The western European trend of intensive highly mechanised monocrop production has not really taken hold in Romania yet and there are many skills in farming production and then processing that he felt would be very valuable for people from the UK to learn - where many of these skills are not used any more and knowledge has been lost.

He hoped that he could find people interested to help him take this idea forward, but I recently emailled and he has made no progress (although he did return to Romania this year)

I guess this could be a good way to get people into rural areas, an extra productive kind of tourism?

Wondered if @Noemi might have contacts that could be useful.

@Darren, I know a movie director who does projects in some superremote traidtional villages where you learn traditional ways of cooking, preparing food, processing it, and so on. I could help you with that. And another girl, who also lives in some very small town in Romania, who surely knows the right people.

on the edge…

yes, I can see why conservative Romanian agriculture would present itself as interesting to the west, however local producers and animal carers are increasingly under strain having to replace old ways with newer & cheaper means for production… and for us consumers it is harder and harder to find organic produce in traditional markets where, when we were growing up, everything was organic without even the mention. That was the default state.

@dazinism, I’d love to help in any way that I could, I remember a while ago I also sent @Matthias a list of contacts, I can dig it up and update it. In terms of personal connections which you seem to especially look for, myself I have about 3 or 4 contacts of producers and especially afficionados (ngo workers, food blogger) -those who will surely have more first hand connections and probably the only ones to speak English… I’m also part of a community supported agriculture project as a consumer. Let me know!