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Can Rural Tourism Boost Green Livelihoods? Empirical Evidences from Maramure

Keywords: Public goods , Territorial capital , Rural tourism strategies , Vi eu Valley , Maramure

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Abstract:

The European rural policy is shifting from the concept of multifunctionality to the one of public good with a growing attention to environmental concerns and green livelihoods. In Maramure , Romania, this approach is only partially explored: as diversification strategy, several tourist accommodation facilities have been created by rural households, but those services are often not integrated to territorial amenities. Consequently, the rural system is still agriculturally based with a largely unexplored potential considering non-farm activities, a high migration rate, and a consistent land abandonment. The research aims to investigate how tourist initiatives can contribute to the promotion of green livelihoods through the valorization of local assets. Tourism can foster the enhancement of the territorial capital (natural, cultural social, institutional and economic ones), the preservation of public goods in the area (i.e. forests, land management) and the promotion of a more environmental oriented livelihood. A development strategy based on the recognition of the specificity embedded in the territorial capital can move the traditional heritage and local assets back to the core of the policy debate, recognizing their role in the socio-economic and environmental development of the area. Methodologically, the work is based on a cluster analysis carried out trough data collected from a range of rural guesthouses (offering tourist accommodation facilities) and focusing on the concept of public good and on the local strategies adopted to manage and valorize the territorial capital. Collected data served as main tool for the identification of the major challenges that local administration should overcome to identify an effective strategy for local development. Moreover, the cluster analysis has been anticipated by an extensive literature review conducted on the existing policy papers, reports and documents focused on the promotion of sustainable development in rural Romania.

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