Chapter 9: The rural development attributes of tourism
Within developed economies, rural regions across the globe are progressing through a dramatic and sustained post-industrial transition. Household economic sustenance gained through family-run farms, small-scale timbering, mining and rustic tourism are yielding to large-scale corporate agriculture and forestry, footloose and globally competitive primary processing firms (manufacturing), the rise of the service sector, regional knowledge economies, leisure estates and mass tourism at unprecedented scales. The implications of this transition for rural development involve dramatic changes in regional economic structure; household income inequality driven by an increased presence of more affluent amenity migrants and retirees in concert with an increase in low-wage, seasonal work; and wholesale socio-demographic change. Although maintaining generational roots provides incentives for long-term rural residents to age in-place, there remains limited economic opportunity, persistent poverty and a continual drain of young people to urban areas. This said, contemporary rural structure is complex and difficult to characterize with simple generalizations. Although standardized definitions of rural North America and the European Union allow initial distinctions to be made that reflect remoteness, population size and distance to metropolitan area (Brezzi et al. 2011; USDA 2004), others focus more on economic structure and dominant economic activity (Duncan 2007; Hamilton et al. 2008; Johnson and Beale 2002; Lapping et al. 1989). These latter definitions begin to sort out important rural characteristics that reflect underlying issues of rural welfare, economic structure, community development and amenity base.
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