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Reality and Perspectives for the Development of Rural Tourism in Malaia-Voineasa Area, Vîlcea County

Florina Elvira ŞEPTELEAN1
1 Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA
Pages: 139-147

Abstract. Tourism is a phenomenon of the modern society that answers humanity’s needs to escape everyday tumultuous life. The global economic process has developed and suffered various shifts whereas local communities have to adapt to present challenges in order to maintain and increase their economic and social competitiveness. Rural areas should use people’s need to spend their holidays away from the crowded urban in their own advantage. This paper is an analysis of Mălaia-Voineasa rural space located on Lotru river valley and its potential for tourism. This potential primarily emerged from the advantage of being located in a mountain area favourable to practicing winter sports and summer trips. Lately, it has been acknowledged the potential of rural tourism based on nature, traditions and habits preserved by the rural communities, quietness and unaltered environment. Rural space places its physical-geographical components to individual’s disposal and on return the individual uses it according to his needs, enriching it with his anthropogenic creations. In exchange, the human being has the responsibility to protect both natural support and his creation in order to maintain a long-term sustainable relation.  The revival of rural tourism occurred due to the demand for a new form of holidays spent in a more qualitative and pure environment and new tourist destinations. Since the weekend trips have become as important as the annual ones, the European Union has acknowledged its importance and encouraged its development and it is considered to be the key-point for triggering the rural economy. The potential of Mălaia-Voineasa rural area for tourism arises from the mixture of all the criteria, namely: value and variety of tourist resources, presence of agro-pastoral and ethno-folkloric traditions, advantageous position near a tourist route, closeness to attractive mountains areas, population’s psychosocial profile which externalizes in a high level of hospitality, honour and morality. These valuable advantages should be exploited and sustained for increasing the competitiveness of the area. Consequently, measures have to be taken for the development of infrastructure (water supply, heating, waste water management, modernization of access roads) in order to enhance the tourists’ comfort according to required standards and to ease the accessibility in and within the area, the development and diversification of the technical, commercial and sportive facilities (tourist paths, ski slopes, sports fields etc).  Much more, marketing actions should be taken for promoting the area at a national and European level as an organic, unitary tourist product, considering that the foreign tourism tends to focus on nature and on unspoiled values of the rural communities. Individual initiatives drew the local and national authority’s attention towards the rural potential as the engine for local economic development. Sustained efforts are needed for increasing area attractiveness through specific projects, actions and activities encouraged not only by private individual investors but by large-scale European projects as well. Under these circumstances, this paper tries to be an assessment of the region’s potential of attraction and an analysis of criteria that should be reached in order to enhance full potential of the discussed area.

K e y w o r d s: rural area, rural tourism, mountain area, rural development, traditional and modern tourist activities