There are several evidences for agritourisms contribution for rural development from various countries. Not only in developed countries, researches in developing countries have also discovered many findings regarding this phenomenon as agritourism has the ability to open up alternative income sources for the farmers as well as for the surrounding community. As it is a people-oriented industry, agritourism can offer many jobs which can help to revive rural economies. Agritourism has different ways and means of assisting rural development and has ability to influence the economic, socio-cultural and environmental enhancement of some societies.
3.3.1 Agritourism and rural development in developed countries
There are many significant studies in developed countries related to agritourism and rural development. As per the study of Haghiri and Okech (2011) on “role of the agritourism management in developing the economy of rural areas in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada”, in rural development, agritourism acts as a solution for the problem of poverty by giving economic opportunities for the farmers. They have mentioned that the promotion of tourism and agritourism activities is one way to help develop the economy of rural areas in the province that is facing a series of challenges, such as small internal markets; shifting socio-demographics; lack of sufficient investments; the high rate of out-migration; diseconomies of scale; and the underdeveloped economic infrastructure for the time being. Further, they have identified three alternatives as starting the production of new products; organic fruits and vegetables, specialized livestock products like sheep, goats, fur, emu, rabbits, etc., farm-based food products, such as bread, jams and jellies, and handmade crafts and enhancing the existing tourism products and also developing new markets in Newfoundland and Labrador, other provinces of Canada, and international countries.
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In Bahamas, agritourism use forward linkages with agriculture and tourism by direct selling of agricultural products and services to the visitors and also backward linkages such as indirect approach using an intermediary to provide products to the tourism sector. These activities improve the income of farmers and finally helping for the rural development (Hepburn, 2008).
Schmitt (2010) has done a study on the farming women’s agency, coping strategies, visions and wishes against the dynamic changes of the agricultural sector in the Franconian Jura in northern Bavaria, Germany. While agritourism has become an important permanent livelihood strategy for some farming families, it remains an additional income for others. Either way, it has turned out to be a source of women’s growing self-confidence as well as a sustainable ingredient of regional development.
(Refer Mortan 2006 See End note)
Agritourism in Italy has been able to conduct broad and innovative product range, sophisticated Marketing systems and most importantly, extensive government supports. The Italian system was developed with a clear objective in mind: “To halt rural out-migration by keeping farmers on the land” (Porcaro, 2009).
As per Choo, (2012) agritourism can give farmers an opportunity to generate additional income and to be an avenue for direct marketing of the farm products to consumers. It can also help counteract social and economic problems of the farms and local residents (loss of income, increased expenses, globalization, and others (associated with the decline of traditional agriculture industries). While the financial advantages with respect to employment and wages are clear, agritourism development can also enhance the local quality of life. It can serve as an important source of tax revenues, which may lead to higher public services and lower local tax rates. Agritourism can also support conservation of local culture and traditions, helping to maintain the viability of small-scale agriculture (Choo, 2012).
In Turkey it was declared that agritourism is strongly supported as one of the rural development strategies. A number of agritourism enterprises are developing at local level with volunteer initiatives using the desires of local people and local administrations that want to benefit from the facilities of agritourism in Turkey. For example in, Karaburun and Ankara Villages, agritourism services such as accommodation, tasting and buying local foods by the urban people and administration to find extra income for them (Topcu-2007). Also, the BuÄŸday Association’s ‘Ecological Farm Holidays’ project (Ta-Tu-Ta Project) in Turkey is a cooperative project conducted by volunteer farmers and non-governmental organization targeting to encourage ecological lifestyle. This project stated that farmers benefit from agritourism by producing and selling of organic products to the visitors.
Agritourism aids rural economic development by providing alternative use of farmland, increasing revenue of on-farm activities, improving business sustainability, and bringing economic revenue to rural areas both on-site and near the operation. Agritourism also has the potential for informal agricultural education between the owner/operator and the general population which has little to no direct contact with agriculture (Jolly and Reynolds, 2005).
A study of Nasers, (2009) in Iowa UAS found that the promotion of agritourism provides a beneficial relationship for local food systems as it helps to enhance the appeal of local foods. In order to challenge and rearrange the modern agri-food system, ‘Local food’ has become the social movement’s unifying theme. In contrast, the “local food” paradigm highlights the importance of food quality and freshness, environmental protection, an individual connection to family and small scale farms, economic multiplier effects which occur when making local purchases and community self-reliance (Ostrom, 2006, p. 66). The demand for fresh produce continues to grow, offering producers the opportunity to increase their profits through direct marketing. Direct marketing provides a link between consumers seeking high-quality produce and producers who are seeking an opportunity to compete in the produce industry (Kuches et al.). In addition to linking the consumer to the producer, direct marketing allows the producer to bypass the traditional distribution network and earn a greater share of profits (Kuches et al.). As a form of direct marketing, agritourism creates opportunities for the producer to link with their consumer and directly market their products. Moreover, Agritourism is increasing rural vitality and stimulating new economic opportunities through the diversification of farm operations and increased revenue on-site and near the operations in Iowa (Norby and Retallick, 2012). Twe (2010) have reported that agritourism is increasingly being adopted in the United States as it gives a myriad of economic and intrinsic benefits to farmers, visitors and communities, keeps family farms in business and preserving American agricultural heritage, maximizing the productivity of farmland resources through their recreational use, and even improve the economic situation of local communities. Also agritourism is suggested to increase farm revenues and serve other farmer goals (Ollenburg and Buckley, 2007; McGehee and Kim, 2004; Nickerson et al., 2001). Farms that diversify into agritourism are likely to utilize existing resources or other low-input options (Fisher, 2006). Additional economic support for the farm business is especially important in the current time due to increased land values and agricultural input costs (Salamon, 2003; Busby and Rendle, 1999; Ilbery, 1991).
Agritourism generally activates as a small family enterprises, so it’s both socially and economically profitable. Also Agritourism assists to mitigate emigration from remote areas and generate profit by diversifying economy. The cultural exchange of development with urban and rural areas adds quality to their life (Monica Iorio and Andrea Corsale, 2010). According to Gale, (2006) rural tourism enterprises provide novel sources of income for families living in remote areas. 2002, Sharpley (2002) has said that agritourism can offer job opportunities for rural people in local crafts and wine making sectors to provide additional income.
Agritourism helps repopulation of rural areas, improvement of the public services, revitalization of local crafts and to increase opportunities for social contacts and exchange. Developing and organizing agritourism requires a significant investment though potential investment is less. (Sharpley, 2002). Agritourism positive educational force stimulates a thirst for knowledge of the outside world, encouraging entrepreneurial activity, providing extra income, generating new forms of employment, creating new patterns of travel or setting up potentially negative demonstration effects, modifying culture and major economic leakages through transnational involvement (Hall, 1998). A study of Beglaryan, (2011) on Development of Agro tourism in Armenia, agritourism provides the opportunity to increase the potential for higher margin, on-farm sales and value added products and services. Because most Armenian farms are operated by small landowners, there is great opportunity for customization and uniqueness in agritourism attractions.
Theoretically there is a strong relationship between agritourism and rural development. It is believed that agritourism can contribute for the agriculture rural development in several ways (Wicks and Marret 2003; Bruch, 2008). However, to fulfill this condition, several other requirements and conditions are crucial. For example, Danish Food Industry Agency, has paid attention on barriers and structural shortcomings exist before focusing towards the potentials of development of farms which are in need of diversifying the business, and their economic support possibilities. Most importantly, the advices from the consultancy structures of the agricultural associations and from regional and national tourism development bodies and possible networks for green/farm/rural tourism operators are needed in order to gain the full potential of Denmark’s rural tourism. (Nielsen,Aae Nissen and Just, 2010).
With most agricultural producers in Miami-Dade County experiencing increased pressure by developers to sell their lands, rising operating costs, and stagnant or declining profit margins for most of the major agricultural commodities, agritourism is a possible way to assist with preserving agriculture and open space and contributing to the longer- term economic variability of farm operations. Moreover, while the benefits of agritourism are vital to the individual producers, the benefits go much further with multiplier effects can have major impacts on the local economy (Evans and Hodges, 2006).
The literature review indicates that agritourism can provide farm operators and rural communities with many benefits such as: Generating secondary income for farm operators Preserving the visual and cultural rural landscape (Williams and Shaw, 1996; Luloff et al., 1 995; Turner and Davis, 1993); Reducing out migration by providing jobs (Friesen; 1995; Ryan, 1995; Turner and Davis, 1993; Demoi, 1983).; Bringing a transfer of ideas from urban to rural areas (Oppermann, 1996); Providing urban people with an experience of rural living (Lowry, 1996; Reid et al., 1993); Diversifying the rural economy (Lowry, 1996; Ryan, 1995; Maude and van Rest, 1985); Creating eventual market contacts with urban centers (Agricultural Land Commission, 1997; Bowen et al., 1991 ; Demoi, 1983); Making provisions for certain infrastructure (Bowen et al., 1991); and Enhancing the rural identity of communities and emphasizing the importance of agriculture in local areas (Luloff et al., 1995; Ryan, 1995). Therefore, it is significant that most of the evidences are from developed countries and only a few are from developing countries.
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Agritourism is accepted by various countries in the world as a rural policy to create rural viability. Agritourism is one of the most diversifying tourism types and the entrepreneurship is highly in need of its success since it plays a major role there. This diversification has converted the agritourism into a strong sector in its rights from being an auxiliary commercial activity (Busby and Rendle 2000; Clarke J. 1998).
3.3.2 Agritourism and rural development in developing countries
When agritourism studies of Asia is concerned, only a few can be identified. For example, Utama (2007) has studied on economic, social and environmental benefits the local community enjoys from agritourism and the demand for this industry among tourists in Bali, Indonesia. The aim of the study was to formulate the best strategies to innovate and build up agritourism on Bali. Based on the study, he has found that increase in income of agritourism farmers and job opportunities for local residents, creating networks to strengthen regional or local structures, multiplier effects for small-scale direct investments, diversity increment of economic activities, stimulating physical infrastructure development, increasing the awareness of the importance and value of an area, such as its nature and culture, landscape and the economic potencies and also developing the infrastructure in order to bring about opportunities for other economic development activities.
Furthermore, creation of working fields for the local communities through generating related tourism businesses, enhancing the values of the village that contributes for the forms of agricultural product improvements, stimulation of development of other related tourism enterprises such as restaurants, accommodations and handicraft shops, uplifting the social statuses of the local communities in order to reduce poverty, decrease unemployment and also to diminish urbanization though environmental conservation are sustainable tourism development indicators that contributed towards the development of agritourism in Bali. Increasing the arrival of tourists and creating economic incomes are some other contributions that play the key roles of agritourism in applying the sustainable tourism development in Bali.
Furthermore, agritourism has contributed lots to the improvement of economy lives of the local communities in the forms of agricultural products sales, various of hand-made souvenirs or handicrafts sold for the tourists, chances to establish food stalls or restaurants and certain types of accommodation such as home-stay, bungalow, villa, and hotel, as well as village development. With respect to economy improvement, the stakeholders predominantly agree that increasing agricultural products are the most contribution generated from agritourism development with mean of 3.97. Moreover, agritourism has contributed toward improvement of social situation. There are three indicators which empower the potency of agritourism development such as poverty alleviation, decreasing the number of unemployment, and declining the urban. The stakeholders mostly agree that the Agritourism enables to alleviate poverties and decrease the unemployment since it provides work opportunities which can help to improve the quality of the villagers’ lives. Not only that, Agritourism has highly played a role in applying sustainable tourism development in Bali. Stakeholders predominantly have agreed that the agritourism development contributes toward nature conservation as one of the important goals of sustainable tourism (sustaining nature, social life, and culture, as well as generating income for the local societies) (Utama, 2007).
In Malaysia, according to the study of Tiraieyari and Hamzah, (2011) on Agritourism: Potential opportunities for farmers and local communities, agritourism has made a vital economic contribution to rural areas and communities though providing local residents with additional sources of income, diversifying the economy and lending prestige to rural life. It enables many to experience a novel form of travel and leisure, to gain new awareness and a positive attitude towards other worlds, towards the environment and towards local people and their culture. According to Said et al (2012) at Kampung Semarang village in Malaysia, agritourism is helped to enhance the agricultural value of the farms and livestock. It is also to promote the village as a new agri-based tourism destination, which would boost the standard of living amongst the farmers and villagers contributing for the local development. Also, Hamzah et.al., (2012) in their study on socio-economic impact potential of agritourism activities on Desa Wawasan Nelayan community living in Peninsular, Malaysia have concluded that agritourism has the potential of rising the consciousness of the community about sustainable development as agritourism is helping to enhance the social empowerment, strengthen the community, diversify and intensify economic activities, provide job opportunities and alleviate poverty in that community.
Agritourism has arisen as an important rural development strategy in Korea. The rural development program named “rural theme village” in is mainly based on agritourism activities. Seong-woo and Sou-yeon (2006) have studied on this program and found out that agritourism has enabled to rediscovering the values of rural resources that have been disregarded in the modernization procedure of the national economy. And also, it has given insights to both farmers and policymakers to adopt a broader perspective than hither to agricultural product oriented attitude of rural development.
In Thailand, Srisomyong (2010) found out that agritourism operators have revaluated and tried to utilize all their resources to be fully of benefit from the growth of tourism. Some activities were rejuvenated or even invented. A main opportunity for agritourism operators appears to be agritourism brings a market to their site of production. It could also suggest that the significance of agritourism is most agritourism operators are local people. Revenue generated from them tends to be in a community, thus there has a small leakage of income.
A study in the state of Haryana (India) has discovered that agritourism help to get employment opportunities, put hoarding on roadsides, sustainability for agriculture proper, various sources of income, help farmers to enhance their knowledge. As it is a new enterprise with less competition it is business activity as compared to traditional farming less land with low productivity can give more returns maintain natural resources as nutrient mining is less and soil conservation is good deforestations should be avoided no pollution problems to environment, improve health and it protects local heritage and culture (Shehrawat, 2009).
Furthermore, Joshi and Bhujbal, (2012) in Pune in India have discovered that agritourism as an innovative form of rural tourism, in the context of rural market as it can positively influence regional development through generating large scale employment and additional income sources to the skilled and unskilled. Developing tourism in rural areas increases participation of the poor and brings wider benefits for the whole community. Also, it is a sustainable revenue generating product for rural market via inflowing resources from urban to the rural economy.
It can prevent migration of rural people to urban by implementing this specialized form of rural tourism in rural market. According to Murangwa (2010) in India, agritourism is recognized as an essential part in the process of sustaining the economies. Agritourism is a key element of social and environmental responsibility of rural tourism which leads to rural diversification of economy in terms of development of infrastructure such as tourism facilities like restaurants and accommodation, water, electricity, roads, telecommunication and health centers as well as creating occupations in order to increase income of the local community
As all these informations are taken into consideration, it can be concluded that agritourism is playing an important role in tourism sector and it has able to contribute for rural development in significant level in many contexts. “The developing countries should therefore consider agritourism as emerging form of tourism that would undoubtedly lead to rural development as well as complementing other forms of tourism existing in their countries” (Murangwa, 2010). Furthermore, in literature review, it was noted that agritourism is in a position to give better results under the favorable conditions especially where appropriate policies and programs are available. Therefore, suitable strategic plans are essential to minimize the negative impacts and optimize the positive impacts and to reach sustainable development in future.
3. 4. Chapter Summary
Rural development is one of the main targets of many countries. Agriculture had been played a significant role in the rural development in the past. However, due to several reasons such as open economic policies and globalization and liberalization of agricultural trade, now agriculture sector of several countries have gone down. Moreover, lots of other problems like high cost of production, low productivity, lack of modern technology, marketing problems are also in the sector. Owing to this situation for a certain period of time, rural development was expected through modernization approach paying emphasis on rural industries. By now, it has failed and a latest rural development is again pay attention highly on agricultural development in a sustainable way. In this background, the main challenges are to find ways and means of save the agriculture sector and get the contribution of it for the rural development as agriculture is the main resource available in rural areas. Many studies have identified agritourism as an important alternative in this regard due to its special characters to rejuiniail the agriculture sector and the rural development. Therefore, research on agritourism and rural development will be important for Sri Lanka as it is an agricultural country.