The rural recreation areas of Europe provide a wide variety of experiences and attractions for the visitor. Domestic and international visitor flows mostly from conurbations are turning to countryside destinations for holidays in increasing numbers (Arzac, 2002).
The rural tourism is outstandingly developed in Austria and France in the European Union. In Austria rural tourism businesses receive government subsidies and they may apply for loans on preferential terms while in France government beyond the financial promotion education plays a significant role. In Hungary the history of rural tourism, similarly to the beginning of the Hungarian tourism, started in the thirties. The new age of rural tourism is 10-15 years old, it started in 1989-90 when local governments recognised the rural tourism as a possibility for economic achievements. Generally businesses of rural tourism were initiated by civil associations. Rural tourism connects tourism products. Rural tourism connects areas of rural leisure activities. Therefore the rural tourism, based on the rural circumstances, is a type of tourism which can be combined with the elements of cultural and active tourism (e. g.: horse riding and hiking). Synthesising the elements of rural tourism the system of definitions of rural tourism is shown in figure 7 (Pakurar & Olah 2008).
Fig. 7. System of definitions of rural tourism (Konyves, 2001)
• Examples of Rural Tourism in Italy
Currently, in Italy agritourism is regulated by a Law (L. 5/12/1985 n. 730 now superseded by art. 14 L. 20/2/ 2006 n. 96; sentence Court of Cassazione 2/10/2008 n. 24430) that defines agritourism as: "accommodation and hospitality activities carried out by farmers…, through the utilization of their own farms in connection with the activities of the cultivation of the land, of forestry, and of the raising of animals". Italy is the only country in the European Union that has specific laws regulating agritourism, whereas elsewhere this particular type of accommodation is included in the more general sector of rural tourism.
The phenomenon of agritourism has reached a consistent level of diffusion in Italy. The most recent official statistics refer to about 18,500 authorised enterprises nationwide, with an annual increase of 4.3%. In particular, in the fiveyear period 2004-2008, the entire sector shows an overall growth regarding accommodation, in terms of farms (32.5%), catering regarding farms (30.7%), tasting of local products and other activities that concern a growing number of enterprises that offer services that are on the increase (nature watching, courses); some of them have increased considerably. The Italian enterprises are almost all family-run; very few tend to take on employees from outside the family or join cooperatives and associations (Privitera, 2010).