A review and critical analysis of the standpoints of local and foreign researchers on the phenomenon rural tourism were done. The nature of rural tourism as a socio-economic phenomenon was clarified by using a scientifically rigorous and comprehensive methodological approach. The main specific features of rural tourism are formulated. Four main elements were defined in the content of rural tourism: cognitive, recreational, economic and social. The circumstances determining the interest in rural tourism were justified as well as its business and economic importance.