Tom 43 - Multifunctional developmentin rural spaces: challenges for policy and planning
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Rural tourism is often found as a solution for all problems or difficulties for the structural problems of rural areas. Many local strategies of the rural areas have included development of tourism as one of their main goals and as a result various financial programs were prepared and conducted in order to support development of tourism. Despite of some positive changes, the results in general are not satisfying. Based on scientific literature and statistical data, the paper is critically examining the role of tourism in rural areas on the example of rural municipalities in selected EU NUTS-2 regions in Poland and Croatia. The role of tourism is researched through the change of the tourist density ratio and the tourist intensity rate indexes, which are calculated for every single municipality of the researched area for 2004 and 2013. Despite significant governmental and local initiatives, minor positive changes of measured tourist indexes that occurred in rural areas made the author argue how the potential socio-economic role of tourism in rural areas is fairly overestimated. The purpose of this paper is to provoke scientific discussion on artificial developing of tourism in rural areas which are not pre-determined for tourism.