6th International Congress on Rural Tourism in Croatia The 6th International Congress on Rural Tourism was held in Split, Croatia, from April 10 to 13, 2024, under the slogan “Rural Tourism: Sustainable, Digital, Inclusive.” The event provided a comprehensive exploration of various aspects of rural tourism, including themes like “European Rural Space: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow,” “Rural Tourism: A Sustainable Alternative,” “Special Forms of Rural Tourism: New Challenges and Opportunities,” and “Innovation and Rural Tourism” among others.

The Congress brought together scientists and experts in rural tourism at the Hotel Le Meridien Lav in Split. Established in 2007 by “The Village Membership Club,” this biennial event has become a platform for exchanging experiences and knowledge, connecting science and practitioners, tourism agencies, tourist boards, and rural entrepreneurs.

6th International Congress on Rural Tourism in Croatia GSTC Chair Luigi Cabrini delivered a keynote speech on “Global Standards for Sustainable Tourism,” underscoring the importance of the GSTC Criteria, the global standards for sustainable tourism and travel and talked about the challenges and opportunities of rural tourism, highlighting its benefits. Mr. Cabrini also explained the results of two GSTC Destination Assessments done in the rural areas, Lago Llanquihue in Chile, a collection of four rural towns at very different stages in their tourism development, and Sierra Gorda in Mexico, a natural protected area cutting across multiple rural communities.

Since its inception, the Congress has facilitated dynamic discussions and interactions among different stakeholders in rural tourism, highlighting new trends, research, and findings. The 6th Congress continued this tradition, emphasizing the importance of sustainable tourism and the potential of rural areas as attractive, authentic tourist destinations.

During the three-day event, Mr. Cabrini, along with other participants, had the opportunity to learn how to make “soparnik,” a traditional dish from Split that was on the verge of disappearing.

GSTC was present at the 6th International Congress on Rural Tourism in Croatia

The event not only offered valuable insights and networking opportunities but also underscored the resilience of rural tourism, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. With increased interest in outdoor experiences and uncrowded destinations, rural tourism has demonstrated its potential for significant growth and contribution to the sustainable development of rural areas.