Design and development of touristic products Main author: Gábor Michalkó Szilvia Boros, János Csapó, Éva Happ, Pál Horváth, Anikó Husz, Mónika Jónás-Beri, Katalin Lőrinc, Andrea Máté, Gábor Michalkó, Erzsébet Printz-Markó, Krisztina Priszinger, Tamara

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Rural tourism as a tourism product in Hungary is part of heritage tourism, on the one hand, and also has a strong relationship to agricultural sector as an effective tool of rural development, on the other hand. Inspired by the success of the period between the two World Wars, rural tourism reviving in the years around the systemic change has become by now the most extended tourism product. In each county of Hungary, in the villages of their most beautiful areas we find successful rural tourism hosts. The range of visitors that has expanded and considerably transformed since the systemic change now mostly involves domestic guests. The amendments of the regulations concerning this activity in the recent years, the elimination of the tax allowances have had negative impact on rural tourism. The significant decline registered is due, in addition to the inconsiderate legal changes, to the general decrease of domestic demand.

In addition, rural tourism can also maintain and utilise, in cooperation with several other activities that can be pursued in rural areas, the traditions, natural beauties, gastronomic and material culture and the intellectual heritage of the rural areas. The role of rural tourism should not be underrated in the maintenance and promotion of the countryside, the so much awaited strengthening of the rural local economy.

This learn material looks at the information on rural tourism, from the content of this activity through its positions and territorial picture to development possibilities, innovative solutions and support programmes. It also makes recommendations for further readings in professional literature.

1. Concept, legislation background and institutional system of rural tourism

1.1. Rural tourism – village tourism interpretations

Already before World War II, organised rural tourism operated in Hungary. Holidaymaking with full board was possible in several villages. The National Hungarian Weekend Association was established in 1929 (and it was reorganised in 1932). The national catalogue of summer rural tourism opportunities called the “Utas Könyve” (Book of the Traveller) was published, including the organised offer of 127 villages. In 1936 the National Hungarian Tourism Society (Országos Magyar Vendégforgalmi Szövetség, OMVESZ) was founded, as an organisation operating 29 county directorates.

After World War II, the system or rural tourism that had been systematically built out since the 1930s was liquidated. The organisation operating before the War had assisted rural tourism by the increase and promotion of the demand, by a professional propaganda and promotion of accommodations. The establishment of accommodations was achieved by the integration of villages into the system, the preparation of the hosts and making them interested in the development of their own settlements.

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