2013 Conclusions (Eng)

International Congress on Rural Tourism of Navarre Kingdom

Enlightened by all the presentations we enjoyed along this IV International Congress on Rural Tourism of Navarra, it is clear that for the rural tourism sector in Spain there is now the time of innovation, the time to strengthen the associations, the time to consolidate the entrepreneurial networks; trying to reach more and more far and segmented markets, as to achieve advances in specialization and professionalization.

It is also clear that to reach these objectives, there is needed to ask a deep effort of coordination among the public administrations involved in the rural tourism; who have a key regulation and dynamization role, which should be able to contribute to the enlargement of the quality and competitiveness of the rural tourism offer.

This coordination and dynamization role should include to facilitate the contact and the access to the European orientations, strategies and funds; which involve the rural tourism and that can contribute to solve their main problems; among them, we can highlight the seasonality, as to the access to the European, far and segmented markets.

Within this context, the certification systems on quality and sustainability should be understood as an useful tool to guarantee the quality, to manage the sustainability and to orient the offer to the market.

This same role is shared with the rural tourism product branding, and we have seen in the Congress how an intelligent use of the product branding and brand corporate identity, can lead directly to the success of an entrepreneurial network on rural tourism; as it is the case shown by Farm Holidays in Austria.

The fragmentation and atomization of the current rural tourism offer in Spain does not help to reach the objectives of success, and this is why there is urgent a work of internal organization and coordination.

The consolidation of the rural tourism offer should also lead to enlarge and diversify the offer itself, enriching it with the possibilities of the nature tourism and ecotourism as catalyzers of a tourism model based in emotional and durable experiences, that enhance the value of the rural territories.

The role of a qualified heritage interpretation is essential in this process of enrichment of the rural tourism offer, highlighting the role of the rural and nature tourism guides, as key contact points between the territory and the tourists; so there is needed to deeply invest from now on in human capital that complements the high quantity of existing interpretative and public use infrastructures, making them to become a touchable experience.

All the initiatives presented and shared along this IV International Congress on Rural Tourism of Navarra have shown a tough bet on innovation, on sustainability, on social responsibility and on the commitment with the rural territories and their inhabitants.

Dealing with Vías Verdes (green former railways), local gastronomy events or active tourism, among other many product modalities, all the initiatives presented in the Congress show in its diversity that there is a brilliant future for the rural and nature tourism; if we pay attention to the good practices learned after so many years, so many countries and so many projects, in which a large and valuable knowledge has been generated.

What is now necessary is to facilitate the access and the management of all this knowledge, so again it is necessary to ask for the managerial and coordinating role of the public administrations; who should facilitate the universal access to the current and future knowledge on rural tourism. They should get first coordinated among themselves, and then create the most flexible and comfortable frame possible, in order that the entrepreneurs on rural tourism can develop his job.

As a direct consequence of this public initiative, there is the need of establishing urgently more effective schemes of public-private cooperation within the rural and nature tourism; this need has been a constant issue raised during the congress.

The tourism demand shows a growing search for well conserved spaces, authentic experiences and genuine local products, and this is a more and more decisive factor when choosing a destination. These shared authenticity becomes in this way a key differential factor, as to a branding value; which link the destination emotionally to the tourist, and becomes touchable when improving and coordinating the corporate identity of the rural tourism offer.

Regarding the innovation and the new technologies applied to rural tourism, we have seen in the Congress how the new technological tools help us to transmit lively the durable experiences that make of the rural tourism a tourism product at a human scale; that shares the best of each culture, each territory and each season.

Within this context, the technology becomes an allied to improve the quality and the competitiveness of the rural tourism business. This fact lead us again to the sustainability of the rural territories: if the rural space is not well promoted and commercialized, will not survive as it is.

The rural territory becomes so a global and shared experience, and each one of our experiences can be transmitted alive to the very end of the world; attracting new travelers using technological tools more and more user friendly, more and more flexible and more and more cost effective.

In relation to the Spanish National Integrated Tourism Plan, and regarding the rural tourism, the Plan proposes that the rural tourism should be one of its strategic product lines due to its tight connection to the territory; as to due to the huge quantity of growth opportunities that allows in the more isolated rural spaces, far away from the conventional tourism and from the markets.

The entrepreneurship in tourism is favourished by the knowledge and the talent, which are also guidelines of the Plan. Besides it, the Plan contemplates the necessary classification and standardization of the typologies in the rural tourism, especially in face of the European and other international outgoing tourism markets.

This comes along with a shocking plan for the promotion of the rural tourism, combined with initiatives of product creation; as to promotion of the ornithological tourism, the nature tourism, the wine tourism, the cultural tourism, and the improvement of the knowledge of the visitor profile to natural protected areas.

Within the frame of the Plan it is contemplated to analyze and improve the branding policy on rural tourism. Al these working lines are oriented to adapt the rural tourism to the trends on sustainability of the international tourism market.

For all these reasons, in order to conclude, let´s try to link the territory and the technology, the public and the private sectors, the tradition and the innovation; so this IV International Congress on Rural Tourism of Navarra can help us to create smart destinations on rural and nature tourism; able to work among them, as to able to reach new markets that perhaps still do not know our offer, but who are already waiting for it.