Project duration and start date:  1.4.2014 – 30.9.2015

Description of the project

The project enhances and promotes thematic Rural Wellbeing tourism products in Europe by supporting transnational co-operation between different tourism stakeholders (SMTEs, DMOs, NTOs, tourism development organizations and research institutes) that are working together to provide, develop and promote sustainable wellbeing tourism products in rural areas. The project adds competitiveness of the Northern Europe as a Rural Wellbeing Tourism Destination by supporting tourism service providers providing services under the theme.

Research activities provide guidelines and support for Rural Wellbeing tourism product development and promotional activities. In addition activities and tools that support the distribution and recognisability of Rural Wellbeing have been developed. The project supports the sustainable development and the visibility of local, regional, national and transnational Rural Wellbeing tourism offering and hence the effects are seen in different levels with different time-dependence. In local and regional levels the increased and improved product offering bring new and also repeat customers to the tourism businesses and destinations. The project also adds the internationalization of the SMTEs.

In long term the increased tourism flows affect positively to turnovers of SMTEs and also to the competitiveness of the tourism businesses and attractiveness of destinations. The appeal and interest customers show towards the products are measured by using customer surveys and market research.


Lead partner/coordinator:

University of Eastern Finland, Centre for Tourism Studies (Finland)


Latvijas Lauku tūrisma asociācija "Lauku ceļotājs"  (Latvia)

Lietuvos kaimo turizmo asociacija (Lithuania)

Hardangerrådet (Norway)

SydDansk Universitet, Center for Landdistriktsforskning (Denmark)

VisitVejle, Vejle Erhvervsudvikling, Erhverv & Kultur (Denmark)

Finnish Tourist Board (Finland)


Prowell-activities 2014-2015

The central project results can be divided into two parts: academic results and business results. 

Academic results

Anne-Mette Hjalager, Kaarina Tervo-Kankare, Anja Tuohino and Henna Konu explored and outlined the wider features of rural wellbeing tourism in the overarching transnational, geographic context of Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Norway and Latvia. The report (Hjalager, A-M., Kaarina Tervo-Kankare, K., Tuohino, A., & Konu, H. (2015). Prowell - towards a new understanding of rural wellbeing tourism) can be found and downloaded at HERE.

Also market research on rural wellbeing tourists was conducted during the project. 550 responses from rural tourists in northern Europe was collected with online survey. The market research studied motivations, preferance for rural destination attributes, information search behavior and interest in rural wellbeing tourism services. Also 14 rural wellbeing products, each consisting of various services, were identified. The report is accessible at: Market_research_Prowell.pdf

Business results

Information on rural wellbeing products developed during the project can be accessed at the following websites:






Rural Well-being definitions and contents; Researcher Kaarina Tervo-Kankare, /University of Eastern Finland, Centre for Tourism Studies and Development manager Anja Tuohino /University of Eastern Finland, Centre for Tourism Studies

Research results for rural wellbeing tourism development from customer survey; Head of Research (e-marketing) Juho Pesonen/University of Eastern Finland, Centre for Tourism Studies

Wellbeing product offer in the Baltics - results of the cooperation trans-nationally and locally; President Asnāte Ziemele, /Lauku CeĮotājs - the Latvian Rural Tourism Association

Finrelax®Growth Programm, Project manager Kiti Häkkinen / Visit Finland + case presentation, Marketing and Sales manager Tiina Ruotsalainen / Kalajoki Resort

Hardanger- active rural wellbeing/ Leiv Vambheim, Jan Tjosaas, Trude Rinaldo/Hardangerrådet

The Search for Silence / Morten NielsenVisitVejle, Vejle Erhvervsudvikling, Erhverv & Kultur (Denmark)

EU tourism policy in the field of sustainable tourism and funding opportunities; Policy Officer Ilona Lelonek Husting, European Commission, DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneuship and SMEs, Tourism Policy Unit

Project background

Project is co-funded by the EU on transnational thematic tourism products contributing to a more sustainable tourism, and is awarded under the 2013 call for proposals – Supporting the enhancement and promotion of transnational thematic tourism products".

A short presentation of the project can be found HERE.


Development manager Anja Tuohino,