PROSPECTS FOR USING THE POTENTIAL OF NATURAL CONDITIONS TO STIMULATE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN RURAL AREAS - THE CASE OF MIECHOWSKI DISTRICT: OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
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The Miechowski district - as the majority of rural areas in Poland, is characterised by stagnation that leads to negative economic and social phenomena. Development problems caused by mono-functional economy that operates on the basis of traditional, conservative and unprofitable agriculture make it necessary to search for new directions of stimulating economic activities. The authors claim that the district's development opportunities lie in its great potential of attractive natural and environmental conditions - especially in terms of agriculture, landscape, historical-social background, raw materials and geothermal conditions. This potential, utilised in accordance with global trends and the principle of sustainable and ecological development, will contribute to the stimulation of economic activity in two areas: of organic agriculture and of ecological tourism (agro-tourism included) and recreation. Such directions of development will, on the one hand, make it possible to continue the farming traditions allowing the local population to preserve its hitherto vocation and, on the other hand, will contribute to the creation of new, related sectors of economic activity (processing, distribution, services, education), which suits perfectly the currently promoted model of multifunctional development of rural areas. An analysis of development opportunities of the Miechowski district suggests that the launching of the proposed range of economic activities will produce - despite some barriers, positive results in the form of sustainable economic development and that the latter will stimulate the development of social infrastructure.
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