Economic assessment of rural tourism in settlements in Zemplén County
Keywords: rural tourism, eco villages, sustainability, Zemplén
I surveyed the situation of settlements in Zemplén county as well as the activities of rural tourism hosts and businesses, using detailed interviews and questionnaires in both 2002 and 2010, which allowed assessment of the changes. Owing to various infrastructural development projects, the surveyed settlements have undergone significant development over the last eight years. The region has great potential as a tourist destination, but this potential is largely unused. The number of guests does not reflect the national tendencies: rather than growing, it fell back by 40% due to the economic crisis. Hosts are unaware of the costs associated with their operations and do not monitor
the new changes affecting their activities. Also, the food and entertainments options to go with accommodation offers are rather poor. Earlier I had developed a rural tourism evaluation model for settlements near the Hortobágy. I adapted this model to the settlements in Zemplén, allowing quantification of the costs, revenues and incomes from rural tourism activities in the region, as well as the return on investment of various investment concepts. I found that these settlements could realistically implement the eco village concept. Coupled with rural tourism, this could serve as the basis for sustainable farming and environmental awareness-building.