Economic Diversification Policies and Rural Tourism in South East Europe


The assessment “Economic Diversification Policies and Rural Tourism in South East Europe” was prepared within the project Support to Economic Diversification of Rural Areas in South East Europe (SEDRA), jointly implemented by the Standing Working Group for Regional Rural Development in South East Europe (SWG) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), aiming at strengthening the institutional
capacities of selected stakeholders in South East Europe (SEE) for supporting EU-compliant economic diversification in rural areas.

SEDRA contributes to the improvement of technical, methodological and implementation capacities for evidence-based rural development policies for economic diversification, facilitates community-led area-based development, as well as value chain development. The lead executing agencies are the ministries in charge of agriculture and rural development, through their membership in the regional organization SWG.

The project aims at formulating regional recommendations for evidence-based and EU-compliant policy on diversification in rural areas, which are expected to be adopted and supported by administrative or legislative measures by national authorities responsible for implementation in SEE. The logic is that only an enabling policy framework agreed on the regional level and implemented on the national level can enable EU-compliant economic diversification in rural areas.

Rural tourism is high on the economic diversification in SEE. The focus is to streamline tourism in agriculture and rural development programmes to enable economic growth, income and employment in the rural areas of the Western Balkans.

The objective of this work – carried out by the Regional Expert Advisory Working Group (REAWG) on Economic Diversification through Rural Tourism (ED-RT) is to develop a regional approach for assessing and presenting policies for diversification of economic activities in SEE rural areas, focusing on rural tourism development, as well as to propose an improved policy framework for economic diversification through rural tourism in line with EU policies.

We would like to express our gratitude to the ministries of agriculture and rural development as well as to all participating experts from SEE.

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