Launching of a web site www.selo.co.rs of the Internet Club of Ljig has gathered 300 households dealing with the rural tourism and thanks to it 50,000 of tourist days were realized in 2006
An experts’ assessment indicates that 13 percent or around one million citizens of the Republic of Serbia use the Internet. Benefits of networking at the global level are still unknown to most of our citizens. Unfamiliarity with modern technologies is present both in rural and urban areas.
In Serbian rural areas, where one half of the total population lives, another business activity generating profit in other countries is neglected – rural tourism.
Members of the Internet Club from Ljig have linked two areas that are still in their early stage.
– In 2004 we launched a project „Serbian Rural Tourism Development” with support of funds received through a competition of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management aimed at provision of incentive resources for the agriculture development. Received funds amounting to one million RSD were used to organize visits to the households, enter data in the data base and to launch the web site www.selo.co.yu – said Vladimir Ivanovic, Director of the Tourist organization of the town of Ljig and one of the founders of the Internet club.
In more than three years, the web site have been visited by more than 200,000 visitors. Currently, it contains more than 300 addresses of households ready to host tourists in various Serbian locations.
Just in 2006 the households involved in the Project achieved more than 50,000 tourist days. The households that have chosen the rural tourism as a secondary activity, along with the agriculture, achieve the annual gross income amounting to 2,000 – 10,000 EUR, i.e. 5,000 EUR on average. The number of households involved in the project have grown in first three years by around 200 families.
Villages with small number of inhabitants, up to 500, such as municipalities of Valjevo – Popuce, Stave, Kljuc, are currently offering up to 100 beds.
In some ten households the youngest members have returned and got employed in this activity. Neighbors selling healthy food and souvenirs to the tourists, also realize the profit in the rural tourism.
Ministry of Economy and Regional Development and Ministry for Diaspora provided support to the project. Partners in the Project are the Serbian Tourist Organization and over 40 tourist organizations of municipalities and towns as well as Associations of entrepreneurs.
Since the Project is not profitable, the Internet Club covers its web site maintenance costs from proceeds received from other projects. Inclusion of households is free-of-charge, and some of them have received certificates according to the EU regulations regarding the rural tourism.
A retired teacher, Radojko Radisavljevic, is in this business of rural tourism for past 12 years. His house in the village of Velisevac, now a part of Ljig, where a two-and-a-half-centuries-old water-mill is a rarity, is visited by twice as much tourists since data became available on the Internet. In the high season this retired teacher employs two workers.
The rural tourism is a good example of diversification of the rural economy since it is more profitable than the agriculture. It also stimulates the multi-functionality of the rural economy and has an impact on the economic status of farmers and overall development of the village as well as it generates new jobs for young people.
The rural tourism contributes to the preservation of the rural areas and cultural heritage. In economic terms, it stimulates the local population not to migrate providing them with a real opportunity to achieve stable profit source, hence contributing to fighting against the poverty afflicting the rural population to the greater extent compared with the population living in urban areas.