Country Holidays

Rural tourism definition

Rural tourism in Latvia is a form of tourism taking place in rural areas or settlements, providing employment and income to local population, and offering individualised holiday products to consumers. Rural tourism is based on accommodation service which is complemented by additional services/facilities relying on the local social, cultural and natural resources, which are exploited according to the principles of sustainable development.   

Terms used in the above definition of rural tourism
Accommodation Country and village homes, vacation cottages with accommodation capacity up to 20 bedplaces.  Number of extra bedplaces up to 50% of the number of permanent bedplaces. Catering for parties and mass tourism events is not the main focus of the accommodation establishment.
Additional services/facilities Food service, sauna, excursions, country meals from local products, nature trails, holiday activities, etc.:

1) Recommendable activities (complying with principles of sustainable development): eg., horse riding, boat rent, bicycle rent, fishing, cross-country skiing, skating, etc.

2) Non-recommendable activities (contradicting to the principles of sustainable development):
- Mass tourism and recreation, e.g., sports halls, sports centers and sports grounds, mass sports competitions, organised games – paintball, camps., etc.;
- Forms of tourism or tourist activities bringing negative environmental impact, e.g., golf, off-road, water skidoos, downhilll skiing, etc. 
Area Rural areas and settlements with up to 5000 inhabitants. Rural environment with a caharacteristic agrarian landscape or natural values. Tourism is not the only or dominant economic activity in the area.
Inadequate location:
- urban or industrial area
- mass tourism environment with respective infrastructure 
- noise, risk/danger to safety and health, pollution, dirtiness, etc.
Social resources Local cooperation – between accommodation owners, traditional and non-traditionl farms, craftsmen, open farms, bird and animal watching, local products for sale. Opportunities for tourists to meet with local people. Rural tourism establishments are owned by local entrepreneurs which provides for income and jobs for the local population. Maximum relation "tourist beds / inhabitants in the respective area village, town, rural municipality)" is 1/1.
Cultural resouces  Traditions and customs reflecting cultural identity and values – traditional festivities, food recipes, music, traditional crafts (e.g., pottery, beer brewing, etc.). Traditional architecture, private collections, etc.   
Natural resources Waters, forests, meadows, bogs, rural landscape, flora and fauna. The environment is not industrialised/urbanised. Biological diversity is mainatined in surrounding areas.
Sustainable development
Development of rural tourism in particular area does not threaten the above described natural, cultural and social resources, at the same time stimulating economical development and increasing the quality of living space of the local population.