Dutch Rural Tourism Expert Meeting

On the 19th of January 2011, a number of our project partners and RTITN members attended a meeting of Dutch rural tourism experts held in Hogeschool Van Hall Larenstein, Velp, Netherlands.  The meeting was organised by the European Centre for Eco Agro Tourism (ECEAT).

Dutch tourism discussions on future cooperation

The meeting was organised following research which was published by Kenniscentrum Recreatie indicating that a number of improvements could be possible in the rural tourism sector in the Netherlands.  The first half of the day included presentations from Francesco Fratto, Agriturist in Italy on their Italian case study, Dr. Paula Weinberger, Bavarian State Research Center of Agriculture on the organisation of rural tourism training in Bavaria, John Toland, Cavan-Monaghan LEADER regarding this Leonardo project and a some other Dutch presentations.  As a guest at this meeting, I was quite surprised by how the rural tourism sector operates in the Netherlands.  There is little cooperation between the various interest groups who each operate their own groups through self-regulation and with no nationally agreed standards.

The day was chaired by Ellen Kok from the Taskforce Multifunctional Agriculture.  The main issues were addressed in by the meeting participants in the afternoon included, Dutch Rural Tourism: entrepreneurship, hospitality, product, quality and marketing. What are the developments in the Netherlands and what does it mean for the education sector? 

Dutch rural tourism expert meeting

Participants consider content of presentations

The afternoon workshop included discussions on the potential for greater cooperation among the various sectors representing rural tourism in the Netherlands.  Those present represented the education sector, private schools, farming representative bodies, tourism marketing groups, camping organisations, nature conservation and the eco-tourism sector.  At the end of the day, this diverse group of participants agreed to future cooperation on a number of issues, mainly related to training and quaility standards for rural tourism

In the Netherlands there are many organisations involved in the rural tourism sector.  All agreed that there is a need for the establishment of an umbrella body to pull together all the rural tourism interest groups and work towards a common strategy.  The meeting concluded by agreeing to examine the potential for seeking further EU assistance towards developing a cooperation project through RTITN and/or some of its member organisations.  If you would like to know more please contact Carolien van der Laan in ECEAT.

For me this was a positive meeting and provided opportunities for the development of new contacts within rural tourism in the Netherlands. Thanks to ECEAT for organising the meeting and good luck with your next steps in developing the sector.

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