Archive for Members Profile

Board Member – Georg Gerharter

I have been on the board of Rural Tourism International Training Network since October 2007 and I would like to inform you about my role as a rural tourism / organic farmer from Austria.


Along with my wife and family we are mountain farmers in the Austrian province of Styria and run a farm holiday business (“Urlaub am Bauernhof”).  The whole family is involved in the business, my wife, Christine, our two children (13 and 14), my parents, one employee and of course me! When we took over the farm 12 years ago there were just a dozen guest beds. We have gradually built on that so that we now have 50 guest beds with an average occupancy of 170 nights per bed per year. In the course of time we have achieved a good base of regular customers.


We have two high seasons. In summer people come to enjoy the countryside and in winter for winter sports. Spring and autumn are a bit quieter but in autumn we get good business with ramblers who come for walking and the autumn colours. In spring a few people come to see the lovely alpine flowers.  We are proud of the way that offer tourism services to our guests and advocate that the environment is there to be enjoyed, but we must not destroy it!


On the farming side we have an organic dairy herd of 20 cattle and I am the Chairperson of an Organic Farmers Association which has 600 members.  We do our best to show country life as it really is, without any pretence. I think people usually come back again because they appreciate the honest down to earth atmosphere of the countryside.


I am enthusiastic about my role a Board member of Rural Tourism International Training Network and I believe that I bring a sense of the needs of the farming community to the Board.  I believe that RTITN can help to coordinate and develop rural tourism training initiatives which can be implemented in rural communities throughout Europe and beyond.  I am looking forward to making new contacts and working with farmers and trainers who want to acquire skills in the area of rural tourism in 2009.


A good informative website is essential to market rural tourism in today’s world of fast communications and you can find out everything about us on




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Chairpersons Introduction

Ireland since 2003.  

New Chairperson John Toland accepting the tenure from Eva  Scheifer

New Chairperson John Toland accepting the tenure from Eva Scheifer

My name is John Toland and I have been Chairperson of Rural Tourism International Training Network (RTI-TN) since September 2007.  I am employed by Cavan Monaghan Rural Development (CMRD) as a Tourism Development Officer and we have been active members of RTI in


RTI-TN is an association for individual trainers, organisations and institutes dealing with rural tourism training. This permanent European network of trainers has been established for the joint development of training material and the exchange of experience. We have also developed material which is being successfully delivered by a number of organisations throughout the EU.


Within my organisation in Ireland, I utilised the training material and skills acquired from participating in RTI-TN ‘train the trainer’ programmes by adapting the training material to meet the needs of the rural community in my area (Border counties of Ireland and Northern Ireland).  We particularly focused on the training theme; ‘Rural Tourism Marketing & Promotion’ at three different levels including orientation, basic and advanced.  These courses were funded through ‘Border Action’ and I was supported in organising these courses with assistance from my colleague Grainne Curran.


As a result of using established rural tourism entrepreneurs whom were accredited ‘trainers’, the course participants (farm families & communities) gained a better insight in to the realities of developing and managing a rural tourism business.  During each course, we always invited other rural tourism businesses to come in to speak to the participants during the courses which helped to bring a greater sense of realism to the participants. 


I am looking forward to the challenges that 2009 brings in the current economic climate and I am also excited about the opportunities that are ahead for RTITN through various projects that we are now working on.  We are always interested in attracting new members with the aim of improving the delivery of Rural Tourism Trainer for the benefit of rural communities / farms who wish to develop through tourism.


If you want to know more about my work in Ireland please visit my blog dedicated to my work in Ireland  

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