European ECEAT network (European Centre for Ecological and Agricultural Tourism) was established in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s, by several environmental, organic farming and nature protection organisations.
The aim was to support traditional small farmers through tourism and to encourage them to continue their profession and thereby protect the environment and valuable cultural landscapes. The first participating countries were Poland, former Czechoslovakia and Hungary, and most of the tourists were Dutch.
The ECEAT farms soon became a veritable treasure for western visitors, who wanted to experience authentic and traditional rural culture. Eco-agrotourism quickly gained popularity and the network spread across Europe. Scandinavia was included at the end of the 1990’s.
Today ECEAT destinations in different countries include hundreds of organic and traditional farms and ecological guesthouses, small campsites and environmentally friendly hotels. Accommodation can vary from B&B to full board, or cottages and group accommodation. The destinations are often related to protecting cultural heritage or situated near national parkland, so they can be ideal starting points for excursions.
Through the host families the visitor has a chance to get to know local people and their culture. Sometimes visitors can also participate in farm work or buy organic products. In some countries, ECEAT also organizes tours and packages.
The international ECEAT-network is not active at the moment, but many European countries have their own ECEAT organisations and projects.