The paper focuses on issues connected with the development of tourism in rural areas of eastern Poland (the Lublin region). The main objective is to present the levels of cooperation between regional authorities and the third sector (non-governmental organizations) aimed at the development of tourism and raising the standard of living of the region’s inhabitants. The methods of diagnostic survey and comparative analysis are employed in the paper. On the basis of the research into literature and statistical data, it can be claimed that the changes which have occurred result largely from the cooperation of regional and local authorities with non-governmental organizations. It is also significant that regional authorities perceive tourism as an important and a growing branch of economy. The results and conclusions are based on the extensive literature on th subject, the data of statistical offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as strategic documents on the development of the region.