In times of global economic turmoil and climate change, this conference will explore the challenges, practices of and the opportunities in smart and sustainable rural tourism. The programme will address the development challenges through four interrelated and strategic perspectives - Community, Experience, Economy and the Environment. Through these four interrelated themes and a highly participatory programme the conference will critically explore strategic opportunities for innovative, yet concrete and practical solutions for sustainable rural tourism.

The interest in and development of rural tourism is a function of the growth of tourism globally, but is also a function of the specific attraction of rural environments, unspoilt natural landscapes, unique cultures, and other wholesome tourism experiences - from food and hiking, to horse-riding and mountain climbing. Peripheral North Atlantic regions are well placed to establish themselves as attractive niche rural tourism destinations.
NAF 2013 welcomes participants interested or engaged in rural tourism for three days of intensive and critical conversations and explorations of ideas, information, innovations and best practices, in the stunning setting of Hólar, North Iceland.
This conference will feature discussions, presentations, workshops and tours, as well as plenty of informal and networking opportunities, addressing four key and inter-related themes:
COMMUNITY - What are the community's distinctive assets in leadership, culture, folklore, art, architectural design, pride and solidarity, resilience, skills, diversity, and more - that can be drawn upon to support, and in turn be supported by, sustainable tourism? How are communities managing strategically and innovating in these challenging times?

ENVIRONMENT - What do nature and culture, and overall 'quality of life' - the waters, the air, light, wildlife, flora and fauna, geology and landscapes, mystery, fragility and complexity, respite and relaxation, safety and tempo - offer in terms of informed and respectful strategic opportunities and challenges?
ECONOMY - How does one harness local and regional resources and assets - building upon strengths, tapping into the knowledge economy, cultivating local entrepreneurship and innovation, encouraging investment, engaging youth, luring the diaspora, and generating sustainable livelihoods - to achieve a wholesome and holistic approach to rural tourism and rural development?
EXPERIENCE - What are the relevant experiences in sustainable rural tourism development for small, often remote, communities? What are the indicators, the pointers, the cautions, the 'blind alleys', the opportunities and challenges, the costs and benefits? What ideas, lessons and practices can be taken home for reflection, adaptation and implementation?
We welcome papers from community practitioners, academics, consultants, government policy advisors and others, as well as presentations on practical experiences and case studies.

Target group
This conference will bring together a diverse mix of participants who have researched and embraced innovative tourism strategies and partnerships. These include municipal and national government officials; practitioners responsible for regional development; tourism, culture and heritage operators; community volunteers; and academics and graduate students involved in rural tourism research.
The goal of NAF 2013 is that participants will take home practical insights on strategy development, innovation and creativity, participation process, effective government/civil society collaboration, partnership design and development and innovative ways of developing, managing and presenting local and regional resources.

Paper proposals (title and abstract of not more than 300 words) should be submitted through by January 15th, 2013. All presenters must register for the conference.

Key dates
January 15th 2013 - deadline for submission of abstracts.
January 31st, 2013 - notification of accepted abstracts.
Registration - Early Bird (25% discount) - March 29, 2013
April 26, 2013 - deadline for registration.
About the conference

The North Atlantic Forum (NAF) is a biennial conference for scholars, community leaders, local government officials, businesspersons, and other practitioners from the broad North Atlantic, seeking to facilitate information exchange, knowledge mobilization and research dissemination among its members.