Project information

Rural Tourism and similar services such as Eco-Tourism, Farm-Tourism etc. respond to new trends of the European and worldwide tourism demand.

Traditionally based on local or regional demand, this sector has now the opportunity to extend markets by working together on a transnational base in the Eurocluster EU Rural Tourism - ERT.

Co-funded by the COSME program of the European Union, EU Rural Tourism is born with the objective of complying with the trends of the European worldwide tourism demand, increased by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that generates additional demand for similar services. Services such as rural tourism and similar services like eco-tourism, farm-tourism and sustainable tourism respond. Traditionally based on local or regional demand, this sector has now the opportunity to extend markets by working together on a transnational base in the EuroCluster Rural Tourism ERT.

The ERT combines the concept of professional organisations (consortium partners: Venetian Cluster, ADI Harghita, NCA, Euracademy, Ruraltour and TSAC. Associated partners: Ecoclub and LFD) that work on the ground with a wider understanding of the cluster concept. It provides thus a unique opportunity to upscale activities from local to regional, national and international levels.  At the same time, it creates a critical mass of European rural tourism services with a vision of internationalization in 15+ countries that are supported under this form of collaboration.

This project creates the basic vision, objectives and operative structure for an Eurocluster “Rural Tourism”:

  • establish a cooperation mechanism between regional tourism clusters, professional organisations in rural Tourism, local development agencies, and transnational knowledge networks in the field of rural Tourism.
  • create a critical mass of at least 190 SMEs in at least 15 countries that have received a homogeneous re- and up-qualification in digital and green transformation together with improved soft skills.
  • This in turn constitutes a viable transnational network of advanced rural tourism services with visibility in the market and sufficient choice for international and worldwide customers. It can then be upscaled in the future based on the general concepts, methodologies, and the experiences gained.

As a response of this generic need, we will offer 12 specific support areas with highest needs of improvement from the fields of: digital, green and soft/social competences:



1 Digitalization of the processes in SMEs
2 Digital marketing and promotion
3 Marketing intelligence, data analysis, marketing strategy based on data


4 Sustainable management practices for SMEs
5 CO2 management and reduction to address climate change
6 Sustainable mobility
7 Gastronomy and food based on local supply chains


8 Social-cultural skills (attend visitors from different cultural background)
9 Experience generation for visitors (includes development of corresponding products)
10 Inclusive Tourism / Visitors with special needs
11 Integration with the local community
12 Interpretation techniques for cultural, historic, natural etc. resources

Project number: 101074557

Project duration: 24 months

From 1st September 2022 - 31st August 2024
This project is supported by SMP-COSME-2021-CLUSTER - "EUROCLUSTERS".
1 299 644.47 EUR

Project partners

Italy, partner

Venetian Cluster coordinates and supports multidisciplinary public-private partnerships (PPP), enterprises, professionals, associations, public and private bodies, research institutes and all subjects interested in carrying out and promoting innovation projects, technological transfer and actions for the development of the Italian and international productive supply chain for the conservation, the restoration and the valorisation of the Cultural and Environmental Heritage in Italy and abroad.


 Romania, partner

The Harghita Community Development Association (ADI Harghita) was founded in 2009 at the initiative of the Harghita County Council and operating with the support of 50 local administrations. The goal of ADI Harghita is to create and maintain long-term cooperation with the county’s local administrations and organizations working in the field of tourism, carrying out national and international projects, the purpose of which is to improve tourism, as well as maintain culture and the environment. At the same time, the association’s goal is also to protect the environment, popularize the county’s tourism, as well as launching services pertaining to the development of these. Our main activity is: development and popularization of tourism.
The main activity of the organization is development and popularization of tourism in Harghita County. The organization is charged with the management, maintenance and popularization of the Visit Harghita app and website. This is the only platform that answers all questions a tourist has to know before visiting the county.


 Czech Republic, partner

We connect cluster organizations and technology platforms defend their needs and develop cluster policy in the Czech Republic.The National Cluster Association (NCA) is a non-governmental non-profit organization that brings together entities and individuals with the goal of coordinated and sustainable development of cluster initiatives and cluster policy development in the Czech Republic based on concentration of knowledge, experience and expertise to strengthen the Czech competitiveness.


 Greece, partner

Euracademy offers training in sustainable rural development for the past 20 years, in the form of annual summer academies, which are resident face-to-face courses lasting for 5 to 10 days, attracting participants from all over Europe as well as online seminars and longer online events. Euracademy has organised 3 summer academies on the theme of rural tourism and has implemented 6 EU-funded transnational projects which address rural tourism and ecotourism, as well as rural SMEs and their training needs. Euracademy has a wide network in most European countries, which includes individual and corporate members, such as rural associations, NGOs and education/training organisations.


 France, partner

The European Federation of Rural Tourism - RURALTOUR is a professional tourism trade organisation representing a sector with an estimate of 500.000 micro-and nano enterprises and about 5-6,5 million bed places. It includes 30 professional and trade organisations from 26 countries of geographic Europe covering hospitality, rural gastronomy and active tourism services. Ruraltour and its members are active in multiple areas including product development, research, training, advisory services or adavocay at national, EU and worldwide level.


 Spain, partner

The Sustainable Tourism Cluster of Aragon is an association of tourism companies and entities linked to sustainability and tourism, whose objective is the Promotion and Transformation of the tourism sector, throughout Training and Innovation with a firm commitment to Sustainable Development and in compliance with the Development Goals Sustainable (ODS).

TSAC’s vision  is positioning  Aragon as reference, as s model of sustainable tourism destination. Its purpose is the transformation of the territory through a model of sustainable, innovative and resilient tourism, in which the public-private partnerships of the actors that make up this ecosystem work collaboratively united by this common goal.


 Greece, associated partner

Ecoclub S.A. is an international sustainable tourism consultancy and media company based in Athens, Greece. It has founded and operates, a collaborative ecological tourism network, comprising over 1,100 tourism practitioners and academics, and the world's first ecotourism portal, since 1999. With the help of its global network, it provides consulting services for sustainable tourism projects worldwide. Ecoclub also promotes and tries to propagate best practice examples, including Ecoclub Ecolodges™ and Ecoclub Recommended™ Accommodations, Tours & Attractions. Its long-running Eco Luminaries™ interview series features inspiring eco practitioners and academics, while its Tourism & Conservation Careers service has received many accolades.


Italy, associated partner


The city of Longarone with its Exhibition Centre is located in the Veneto region, in the province of Belluno, at the foot of the Dolomites mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its enviable location makes it the ideal trade-fair venue, at a convenient distance from the vibrant international tourism and business areas of Cortina, Venice and Verona.

Since the 1950s, political and economic representatives of the Belluno area have identified the town of Longarone as the appropriate venue for supporting and promoting the Belluno province’s ice cream sector companies in the nearby Cadore and Zoldo valleys. These companies had the undisputed merit of developing and diffusing the value of making artisan gelato worldwide, and then of organising the first edition of Longarone’s “Gelato Exhibition” back in 1959. It proved an immediate success, with large numbers of private and business visitors coming from all parts of north-eastern Italy and from Austria and Germany.

The disaster of the Vajont dam in 1963 was one of Italy’s most catastrophic events ever. The tragedy highlighted the human value of a population that quickly found the courage and energy to react and rebuild a new future for themselves.