More funds needed to stop depopulation of rural areas
The Association of Entrepreneurs has been ringing alarm bells with regard to the depopulation and abandonment of many small villages in rural areas with poor infrastructure and services. According to the outcome of a study commissioned by the association the process can be reversed by money invested into local development and tourism.
Young people are leaving such villages in droves because they want better living conditions and more opportunities for themselves or their children. According to a study commissioned by the Association of Entrepreneurs money for local development and tourism can stop or reverse the process of rural depopulation, by creating local jobs, improving the local infrastructure and services, opening up new possibilities for tourism and making the place attractive for people interested in buying country cottages or running a holiday motel or farm. Clean air, a clean environment and affordable land and property prices would bring in newcomers if living conditions improved.
The problem is that whilst in the past the EU gave the Czech Republic the equivalent of 54 billion crowns in support of tourism and regional development, now funds are being channeled elsewhere. With EU support in this field having temporarily ground to a halt the Association of Entrepreneurs is calling on subsidies from domestic funds namely the Ministry for Regional Development. Deputy Minister for Regional Development Klára Dostálová said the ministry is already channeling hundreds of millions of crowns into infrastructure and services in less-populated rural areas. At the same time she says the Czech Republic and other EU member states who are currently not receiving funds for the development of their tourist industries are knocking on doors in Brussels to highlight the importance of continued funding in this area. What it would take is for money from certain programmes –such as enterprise and innovation – being released for tourist industry related investments, which Dostálová hopes will be possible as of next year.