The research provides an overview of rural tourism current situation in Vâlcea county, focusing on the existing natural and man-made tourism resources and also on the perception of travellers on this type of tourism, as well as a quantitative analysis of tourism in the area. An online survey underlined the benefits of this type of tourism on rural communities and development, such as employment and income growth, social and economic improvement and revitalization of crafts and traditions. Moreover, rural tourism can be an experience in the countryside, encompassing a wide range of attractions and activities that take place in the northern non-urban areas of the county. The rural tourist activities can be very well associated with ecotourism, cultural and heritage tourism and adventure and sport tourism. Thus, rural tourism can have major implications for the economic, social and cultural development of the traditional villages in the studied county.
Maramureș County has many attractions, but only some of them can generate a significant number of foreign visitors and can be considered tourism assets. Most of them and all the supporting infrastructure need further development. Common identified problems include a high number of facilities that are less developed, lack of proper marketing and tourism interpretation. The existing businesses of rural tourism that may serve this tourist market could improve their products in order to capture a larger share of visitors, overnights and spendings. Overall, the lodging establishments, mainly the rural boarding houses, which are dominant in the area, record a number above the national average level with no need for construction of new establishments as the hotels; the tourist flows are dominantly national. Rural tourism proves to be vitally important to the economy of the county, the visitors spending having a high impact in most of the communities. The tourism development should focus on a better system for implementation of marketing and interpretation programs such as thematic routes, common marketing strategy, county collaboration and creation of common web, mobile and print materials. All these measures can help and revitalize the family businesses in the rural areas of Maramureș.
The INTERREG IPA Cross-border cooperation programme, among other numerous programmes initiated by the European Union, offers ample opportunities for cooperation and social and economic development of neighbouring countries. Within the IPA CBC Romania-Serbia programme, the eligible area for joint action and financing includes three Romanian counties and five Serbian districts, empowering various institutions, local authorities and private non-profit organizations to develop new partnerships and projects to benefit the local and regional economy. The paper aims to assess the territorial impact of the cross-border cooperation programme at the Romanian-Serbian border, with focus on the tourism sector, focusing on the economic, social and cultural outputs of the projects, such as investments, key statistical tourism data, cultural events, local community benefits. Within the two programming periods, 2007-2013 and 2014-2020, tourism was ranked among the main pillars of development, either as a measure within the first priority axis during the first period, or as a major priority axis – Attractiveness for sustainable tourism during the latter. Thus, there were financed 30 tourism related projects, totalling some 15 mil US$, where local authorities were the leader for most projects during the first programming period, while after 2014, the non-governmental organisations account for almost half of the projects leaders. Not always, the municipalities with highest inflows of finances are those with the highest increase in the number of tourists, nights spent or significant visibility.