Volume XI |

Identity and sustainable development in rural tourism

Abstract: There are many studies talking about the “anonymity” in which our country is sinking, in terms of international tourist identity, of the symbols that define us. We have never known how to promote ourselves using the unique elements that we have and not because we do not have these unique features, but because it is possible that we do not know or we have forgotten what really represents us. There were several initiatives, some of them recent and costly to create and promote a country brand, starting from tourism, but these did not have the expected impact. Why did not have the expected impact? Have we got an element/several elements that may render a sustainable image, not a temporary one, for us and for the Romanian rural tourism? Are the village, the traditions, and the gastronomy authentic elements of tourist identity for the Romanian village as an element within the tourist offer? What symbols, values, ideas, feelings, places, emotions, personalities, food, artistic expressions are by excellence truly Romanian? How many of us recognize them? These are only a couple of the many questions we try to answer, not desperately, but with the interest of the person who is not only in love with tourism, its values, with its message over time. The article tries to underline the role of identity in the promotion of a tourist product, the Romanian village, a valuable treasure up to the present based on an adequate methodology of the tourism geography research (questionnaires, diagnosis, analytical prospecting, etc.).