The European Network for the Promotion of Culinary and Proximity Tourism in Rural Areas



Covid-19 crisis impacted severely on tourism performance sector. According to Eurostat (2020) Tourism statistics – nights spent at tourist accommodation establishments „In 2020 compared with 2019, 1.5 billion less nights (-52 %) were spent in EU tourist accommodation“. The reduction of nights spent is significant in participating countries with reduction percentages in nights spent at tourist accommodation (BG -53,1%, GR -55,8%, IT -68,5%, CY -76,1%, RO -60,3%). The
tourism ecosystem covers a wide range of activities including: travel, transport, hotels, food, culture and contributes around the 10% of EU GDP (COM/2020/550 final.) and is particularly crucial for the participating countries, in which tourism sector contributes significantly in the GDP. Globally, according to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) the Covid crisis impacted on 2020 with a loss of 60 to 80% compared to the 2019, and this create new challenges for the
European framework for tourism Europe, the world’s No. 1 tourist destination (COM(2010) 352 final). An opportunity is offered – according to Eurostat (2020) – in domestic tourism, increased despite the crisis in Slovenia, Malta, and Cyprus. Domestic and proximity tourism represent an opportunity also for the achievement of sustainable and green goals related to the European Green Deal, with a special mention to the relaunch the proximity tourism and valorization of rural areas, which implies briefer and greener trips. Culinary tourism plays an important role in attracting people toward rural areas, and a modernization and valorization processes of food production and transformation companies is needed in order to impact positively on businesses, in line with “the Farm to Fork Strategy: for a fair healthy and environmentally” COM/2020/381 final at the core of the European Green Deal will encourage food security,
sustainable food production, shift to healthy and sustainable diet, combating food frauds, and the promotion of sustainable diets (EUR-Lex – 52020DC0381 – EN – EUR-Lex ( According to the World Food Travel Association, food and beverage expenses account for 15 to 35% of all tourism spending, contributing in the performance of rural area businesses (2017). And also, important reviewers have introduce much frequently aspects related to sustainability in their procedures, for example, The Michelin Guide introduced for 2021 the Green Star, awarding
sustainable and green restaurants. The main target groups of our project are HoReCa SMEs and professionals in rural areas, VET centers and trainers. The ecological transformation and the priorities set by the European Green Deal can represent an important framework for the promotion of proximity, culinary and ecological tourism in the European Area. Anyhow, companies and workforce in rural areas and isolated places can access to dedicated trainings with more difficulty due to the distance and the lack of personalized content, really based on the needs and peculiarities at local level. Their limited access to dedicated training impacts also negatively on the economic performance, which represent an important resource, also for the employment of the population. Moreover, quantitative for needs analysis, whose goal is to collect data on big samples, rarely understand the specific peculiarities in rural areas, where the total number of HoReCa SMEs may be very limited. Our project will dedicate one project result in producing a Qualitative Needs Analysis Methodology suitable for understanding deeply the
needs of the target groups in a tailor based banner, the needs analysis will be projected to be replicable, allowing experts and researchers to gather additional data.