The analysis of individual features and the interpretation of the terms rural tourism, ecotourism, wine tourism, gastronomy as a tourist product, hunting tourism, fishing tourism, agritourism, cultural tourism and religious tourism, point out to a common component – and that is that the activities take place in a rural environment. Rural tourism is a new type of tourism with dual benefits, for tourism and for the rural environment.
Rural tourism is defined differently in different European countries. There is no one definition of rural tourism. Rural tourism mainly means all services and activities offered in a rural area.
The common key elements of rural tourism are:
accommodation in traditional village households;
bed and breakfast with self-catering facilities;
traditional rural gastronomy;
communication with the hosts;
learning and/or participating in farming activities, traditional way of life of the local population.
The development of this type of tourism can regenerate the rural areas and bring economic progress and conservation of nature. According to the analyses of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and the European Travel Commission (ETC), in Europe, as the number one travel destination in the world, the tendency is an increasing number of tourists who use long weekends to find refuge from stressful lives in urban areas. When choosing the destinations for long weekends, 3-4 days, tourists usually prefer nearby locations accessible by car, bus or low-cost airlines. For short breaks they choose destinations that offer various forms of village, mountain and spa tourism.
The main factors that influence the selection of a destination are:
promotion of the destination on the internet, visitors’ comments and recommendations;
authenticity of the destination;
price of the package services (transport, accommodation, hospitality services, tickets and other expenses);
quality of services as a comprehensive perception from contacts with the local population, culture and way of life.
The East Planning Region’s main features show that the region has significant natural resources and an interesting cultural and historical heritage. These resources open up the possibility for the development of rural tourism, while rice crops are of particular importance since they give the EPR a competitive advantage. In EPR there are also several mineral and thermal water sources in the Vinica area (Istibanja) and Stip (Kezovica), as well as nature reserves Goten, Linak, Males, Zrnovska River, Lomija River; natural monument Zvegor, Konjska Dupka cave, Morodvis, Macevo, Crna Topola and numerous villages. Vinicko Kale and Bargala are well-known archaeological sites in the eastern region.
This leads to the conclusion that Bregalnica has the potential to develop as a rural tourism destination.