TOURAL project conducted its Virtual Kick-off meeting

EU’s rural remote areas demonstrate a wide range of qualities, while facing unique challenges. A major challenge is the diversification of economic activities beyond the traditional agriculture-farming- forestry sectors, as enablers for stimulating economic growth. Evidently, tourism could become an anchor for the economic development of rural and remote areas. A new just approved EU funded project is going to address these types of challenges in the next 3 years.

On January 24th TOURAL conducted its Virtual Kick-off meeting, marking the initiation of project activities. The session featured a comprehensive project presentation and the planning of initial activities. Additionally, the European Research Executive Agency (REA) provided valuable guidelines for the seamless implementation of the project.

The next milestone in TOURAL’s journey is the physical Kick-off meeting scheduled to take place at the Centre for Research & Technology Hellas (CERTH) premises in Thessaloniki, Greece, on February 22-23, 2024.

About the Project:

TOURAL focuses on using cultural and creative tourism to promote sustainable development while following the EU Tourism Transition Pathway. The project aims to improve smart tourism options across multiple destinations through cooperation in larger regions. TOURAL introduces a model to help rural areas grow in tourism while balancing the development of cities and tapping into the potential of remote and rural areas.

The project takes a comprehensive approach, addressing various tourism types like underwater cultural and nature heritage tourism, cultural and creative tourism, cultural science tourism, and silver tourism. It involves the community in designing policies, pathways, and tourism services. Additionally, it collaboratively creates business models, tourism products, and tests small-scale tourism services. It integrates planning and business development across regions, incorporating value chains, policymaking, and cross-border cooperation at a larger regional level. The focus regions are three from the Adriatic-Ionian area (Italy, Croatia, Greece) and three from the Black Sea Basin (Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine).

TOURAL’s goal is to create diverse tourism models that support sustainable growth in rural and remote areas, balancing urban development within rural regions and encouraging larger regional collaboration.

The project operates under the Horizon Europe Programme, funded by the European Union, with a 36-month duration and involves 20 partners from Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Croatia, Albania, France, Turkey, and Ukraine.