Agritourism and its potential contribution to the agricultural economy
Che, D 2007, 'Agritourism and its potential contribution to the agricultural economy', CAB Reviews, vol. 2, no. 63.
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Agritourism, a growing segment of the tourism industry, has been driven by agricultural restructuring, the movement towards multifunctional agriculture, increased discretionary incomes and demand for rural experiences. In this essay, the differential agritourism responses to agricultural restructuring are reviewed. In the European Union (EU), rural development policies and structural adjustment funding have enabled farmers, many in peripheral areas, to capitalize on historic structures that can be converted into tourist accommodations. In settler nations where agritourism has been supported to a lesser degree with marketing grants, hunting on ranches and day activities on peri-urban farms respectively capitalize on wildlife and accessibility to large urban populations. Producer motivations in agritourism are social as well as economic. Agritourism can provide the economic justification for keeping the land in agriculture, but lifestyle justifications including the desire to live in rural areas, spending time with family and independence are also important. Economic benefits from agritourism can vary widely depending on the level of investment and activities emphasized. Economic activities that extend the season for direct retailing of value-added secondary products produced on the farm and/or sold in on-farm retail shops are critical for success. The amount of infrastructural investment and wages paid may have lesser returns. Additionally, agritourism may differentially benefit farmers by favouring larger farms with extensive livestock/arable enterprises and subsidy payments. Rather than increased infrastructural investments, agritourism development may be better enhanced through government support of strategic alliances and cooperative marketing, quality initiatives and e-commerce.