Is Rural Tourism a Perspective Driver of Development of Rural Municipalities? – The Case of Slovak Republic

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Abstract

Importance of rural tourism as a specific form of tourism lies primarily in its potential to be a driving force for the development of rural municipalities and diversify their economic base. The aim of this paper is to verify this assumption, while analysing the relationship between the concentration of tourism activities and migration trends in rural municipalities in Slovakia. The results support the claim that tourism has significant positive effects manifested by a positive migration balance in municipalities where the tourism industry has a significant presence. The relationship between the level of net migration and rural tourism localisation index in rural areas is not entirely clear because of high diversity of rural municipalities. It is true that in the “catching-up” group of rural municipalities, where the previously negative trend of migration turned positive, localisation index of rural tourism reaches a peak, which may suggest that precisely this sector could be the driver of this positive development. On the other hand, there is a group of marginalized rural municipalities where the concentration of rural tourism industry measured by the index of localisation is also relatively high, but nevertheless, these municipalities suffer from a loss of population due to outmigration.

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