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

The concept used by the Association of Hungarian Rural and Agrotourism (Falusi és Agroturizmus Országos Szövetsége, FATOSZ) is as follows

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The concept used by the Association of Hungarian Rural and Agrotourism (Falusi és Agroturizmus Országos Szövetsége, FATOSZ) is as follows:

Satisfaction of the wide range of demand of domestic and foreign guests for leisure services in extra-urban, well-kept village or rural environment with local and regional attractions, on business ground, and in the cooperation of local institutions and service providers organising the activity. It is a way of passing leisure time that is built exclusively on the consumption and utilisation of village tourism goods.

1.2. The organisational system of village tourism

The new area of village tourism starting from the late 1980s has individual characteristics and important experiences.

-          The revival of traditions is supplemented by significant community cooperation and the birth of non-governmental organisations and local associations that have been given support from the municipalities and the micro-regions. Such micro-region and local associations active in rural tourism have been created and function excellently in the regions and counties. We can say that the success of rural tourism also proves the successful operation of these organisations.

-          In order to support hosts and represent their interests, in 1990s a national body was founded with a county level organisational structure established later. In the initiation of the national body, Baranya county had a pioneer role, as it was the seat of Baranya county, Pécs where in 1992 the organisation called “Association for village tourism” was founded for the support of the community development of rural tourism. The Association had members from each major rural tourism area of Hungary. The interest representation activity was handed over in 1994 to the Association of Hungarian Rural Tourism then founded on the initiative of 32 organisations, now operating as a professional interest representation body called Association of Hungarian Rural and Agrotourism (FATOSZ).

-          FATOSZ operates as an umbrella organisation, with 19 county associations as members in it. It operates a national centre and a Tourinform office and is responsible for interest representation of rural tourism at the national level. County organisations have as members, in addition to private hosts, entrepreneurs and businesses and also municipal governments interested in rural tourism, as well as local and regional rural tourism organisations.

-          For the qualification and quality assurance of rural tourism, with the support of the national tourism administration (Hungarian National Tourism Board) FATOSZ worked out by 1997 the system of criteria relevant for the qualification of the accommodations. These criteria were included in the Government Decree No. 110/1997 (later replaced by the already mentioned Government Decree No. 239/2009).

-          For the implementation of qualifications and professional consulting, FATOSZ trained and created, with the assistance of the ministry for agriculture, its own network of experts. The network of trained and qualified rural tourism consultants has more than 60 members by now.

-          The effective marketing activities of rural tourism were also born by the end of the 1990s. County, regional and national catalogues are regularly published. FATOSZ and its member organisations in the counties are regular exhibitors at national and regional tourism fairs. The rural tourism organisations have made sure that their members are featured on the large internet-based accommodation registers and they also have their own websites connected to the central site of FATOSZ.

2. Attractions and supply of rural tourism

2.1. Attractions in rural tourism

An important characteristic of rural tourism is that its attractions can be categorised into three major groups:

Proximity of nature, naturalness. Villages and village people are actually mediators between urbanised city population – remote from nature – and rural areas that more or less still preserve their naturalness. The proximity of nature is an attraction for rural tourism, hiking, cycling or ecotourism activities.

Preserved traditions. Villages – partly coming from their belated development – have preserved a lot from the material and intellectual culture formerly typical of the Hungarian countryside. This can be seen in the village monument buildings, on the one hand, and in the material remains of the traditional way of farming and also in the traditional handicraft or agricultural products, on the other hand. This category also involves the (visual) attraction and folk costumes, folk traditions and traditional holidays.

Village hospitality, family-like atmosphere as an attraction is of outstanding significance. Hospitality in villages is more advanced in this respect than any other tourism supply. The kindness of the host, the warm reception of the guests, family atmosphere is the strength of rural tourism that is most acknowledged by the guests.

2.2. Qualification system

Accommodations of rural tourism gained their qualification in the qualification system worked out by the national interest representation body, the FATOSZ in 1997, acknowledged in the special legal regulation concerning the activity (Government Decree No. 110/1997). The “sunflower” qualification system lives on as a National Qualification Trademark since 2011, in accordance with the Government Decree No. 239/2009 on the commercial and private accommodations. The qualification system awards 1 to 4 sunflowers to the village accommodations, depending on the comfort level and the equipment of the accommodation.

A four-sunflower accommodation has a separate apartment with a bathroom and a toilet, with a well-equipped room, dining room, living room; also, in this accommodation a kitchen and a garden with furniture are at the disposal of the guests who also have car parking facility. These can be called as village accommodations with full amenities.

Accommodations with three-sunflower qualification are village homes that have a bathroom and a toilet separate for the guests, who have access to a dining room, a kitchen and a garden and car parking facility.

Two sunflowers are the marking for lower quality accommodations where the bathroom, toilet, dining room and kitchen are used jointly with the hosts’ family. Car parking facility is provided even in this case.

Simply equipped accommodations without amenities, basic camping facilities for tents, with car parking facility are locations marked with one sunflower.

3. The characteristics of demand in rural tourism

3.1. The situation of rural tourism

The definition of the place and role of village tourism and agrotourism within rural tourism can happen by using national capacity and turnover figures and by the evaluation of territorial dimensions. The databases of the assessment are partly from the data registered by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO), as a supplement, the qualification database of the Central Office of the FATOSZ was used.

The overall situation of village tourism in Hungary

The Government Decree No. 110/1997 on private accommodations defined the system of the registration, and the collection of capacity and turnover figures of village hosts. This was partly amended by the above-mentioned Government Decree No. 239/2009, where village accommodations were listed among the ‘other accommodations’. With the assistance of the notaries, the Hungarian Central Statistical Office summaries the annual data of rural tourism, creating thereby the basis for comprehensive analyses.

Data on the number and accommodation capacity of registered village hosts have been available since 1998. The number and capacity of accommodations and beds continuously and significantly increased between 1998 and 2009, the number of registered hosts in the whole of Hungary grew from 4,893 to 7,534 (Figure 1, Table 1). This expansion was accompanied by the growth in the capacity as well. In 2009 a total of 49,327 beds were registered in Hungary.

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