Rural tourism has become a significant economic activity in Spain, contributing also to the social revitalisation of rural areas. However, rural tourism destinations face particular challenges with respect to commercialisation and promotion. Because rural tourism industry remains highly fragmented, comprising a large number of relatively small and generally family-run businesses, the participation of tourism intermediaries in the marketing process is limited. To ensure that rural tourism businesses are properly marketed numerous organisations, based on joint local initiatives, have arisen. Such cooperative groups are labelled as Rural Tourism Associations. The purpose of this paper is to present the main characteristics of Rural Tourism Association’s movement in Spain, making to do it a census of these organisations. Secondly, we estimate the contribution of Rural Tourism Associations to the income of rural tourism business owners. The sample, made of Catalan rural tourism promoters, shows the relevant role that rural tourism organisations play on the viability of rural tourism business.


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