Development of rural areas can include tourism attractiveness, which also can be developed with consideration for the natural, landscape, social and economic aspects. Tourism can also be a solution for the increase of economic values and life quality of the poorest rural communes. Hence, local authorities increasingly appreciate the role of tourism in their areas as a potential means of their social and economic development. When planning tourist routes, it is very important to remember about the natural potential, together with its protection. On the other hand, the forest, water and valuable protected areas are usually the most important touristic values influencing the general index of the tourism potential. The aim of the present study was to analyse the tourist potential of rural areas before and after the proposed tourism development and establishment of protected areas in a selected commune area – Łubianka, Poland. For this purpose, the tourist, associated and environmental indices were taken into consideration. The current general index of tourism potential classified the analysed area at the lowest level in the region. The proposed tourism development and creation of a nature protection area and objects caused an increase of tourist and associated values of analysed area, improved tourism potential, and placed the commune in a better position in the region. Overall, it can be concluded, that relatively simple activities can improve the tourism potential and furthermore, as a result an improvement in the social and economic status of the local community can be noted.
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