The aim of this paper is to analyse the evolution of Rural Tourism 1 (RT) in Spain within a European context. The first step is to examine the development of different "models" of RT and trace some experiences of the application of European policy. In order to set the scene and understand this evolution, the collective imagery on which RT is based is also analysed. This is followed by a study of the development of tourist products and services in rural Spain since the 1980s, as diversification of the traditional sun/sand/sea (3S) tourist economy is sought. The analysis underlines the importance of the role of women, and the consequences of the activity for the economy of rural areas. The purpose is to identify differences in the pattern of evolution with more northern European countries, understand their causes and formulate recommendations for future development. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Collective imagery
- Local economy diversification
- Rural tourism
- Women's role in rural economy