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Datenbank der Projekte zur ländlichen Entwicklung

Nature Tourism


In this Transnational Cooperation (TNC) project Local Action Groups (LAG) from 5 EU Member States and a community-based organization from Cape Verde promote the responsible use of natural assets by the tourism sector to stimulate the local economy.



The project idea was born when tourism operators from the area of the Finnish LAG Karhuseutu were seeking ways to internationally explore how local tourism businesses may benefit from the presence of wildlife in their rural area, and how to develop responsible tourism products that will make a difference to the local economy. A first meeting in Hungary among potential partners served to discuss the issue and to understand if there were common grounds justifying a TNC project. Once the areas appropriate for joint development work were identified, the partners agreed on activities and targets.

Common Objectives

The overall objective of the project is to stimulate local economic growth through the responsible promotion of natural and cultural assets by the tourism industry. Among the project’s specific objectives are the identification of (1) the needs and expectations of, and therefore potentially interesting products for foreign visitors; and (2) the best ways to promote the tourism offer, including the use of websites and social media. Although this TNC project is open to everyone involved in the tourism business, it focuses particularly on providing opportunities for microbusinesses run by women, community groups and young people, and thus also aims to help preventing rural depopulation.

Main Joint Activities

During reciprocal visits to the partners’ areas project participants experience a variety of nature- and culture-based activities. Thereafter, they offer their hosts feedback and advice to improve the nature tourism offer for future foreign visitors. Nature-themed tourism conferences serve to network local businesses, tourism offices with counterparts from their partner areas. A jointly developed website will promote and link potential vistors to the partners’ different nature tourism offers.

Results and Transferability

Joint participation in travel fairs and the project’s conferences generated new business contacts and greatly improved awareness of opportunities arising from nature tourism. In Scotland alone, 220 small businesses are more actively engaged in the tourism sector today. A conference speaker is in discussions with 3 LAGs, which consider organizing first visits for small groups of walking, cycling and nature enthusiasts. “The development of tourism products within a transnational partnership, which shares ideas and relevant knowledge is an easily transferable and very effective working method”, says Jaana Mälkki from the LAG Karhuseutu. Website and press visits help to promote the new products.

Lessons learnt

The LAGs agree that the development of an effective local delivery partnership, which involves as many local businesses and agencies as possible, needs time in order to build trust and raise awareness of the benefits. Therefore, they would like to continue to inspire the development of their offering of local nature tourism packages through collaboration at the international level: “There is so much more we could do, but the different timing and funding procedures under each RDP are a challenge”

Project location and other information

The TNC partnership includes the organization "Ami Ribeirão" from the Island of Sant Anton, Cape Verde, and a large number of associations (e.g. for tourism, nature conservation) and private sector partners (representing various industries incl. tourism, leisure, accommodation and gastronomy) originating from the rural areas of the participating Local Action Groups. Activities were also funded under RDP measures 111, 121, 124, 214, 312, 313, 323.

Total project cost (€)

728 574

EAFRD contribution (€)

444 656

National contribution (€)

236 609

Private contribution (€)

47 309

Contact name

Jaana Mälkki


+358 440 926 926

Languages for contact

English, Finnish

Original Language version

At a glance


United Kingdom, Portugal, Hungary, France, Finland

Number of Partners


Final beneficiary type

Non-farm or non-forest entreprises, Public/local authorities, Non-governmental organisations

Budget range

> €500 000

Start date:


End Date:


Theme / Measure:

• Implementing the LEADER Approach
• Co-operation projects
• 421. Implementing co-operation projects


Rural tourism, Leader, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Natural heritage

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