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The Rural Development And Agritourisms

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Tourism
Wordcount: 5409 words Published: 13th Apr 2017

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As per the evidence in the chapter 2, it is clear that tourism is an important sector and it has the ability to contribute for national development of many countries in developed and also in developing world. In this chapter, relationship between agritourism; a form of rural tourism and rural development is going to be studied to understand the level of contribution of agritourism for the rural development using existing literature especially in developing countries. Therefore, this chapter establishes the vital theoretical background for this research.

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This chapter is consisted of three main sections. In the first section, information related to rural development including definitions, different sectors of rural development, a new paradigm of rural tourism and barriers of rural development in developing countries. The second section provides information related to agritourism such as the concept, definitions, theoretical basis of agritourism, activities of agritourism, factors affecting for successful agritourism, advantages and disadvantages of agritourism, impact of agritourism for local residents, important policies related to agritourism development and current situation and development of agritourism in the world and in Asia. In the last section, relationship between agritourism and rural development has been discussed in detail.

3.1 Concept of rural development

Before understand what rural development is, it is important to look at what rural areas are. In general, rural areas are geographical areas that are located outside the towns or cities. Hamlets, villages, towns, and other small settlements are in or surrounded by rural areas. Rural areas are open swath of lands that has few homes or other buildings, and not very many people. In rural areas, population density is lower than urban areas.

Still 70 percent of the world’s poor is living in rural areas (World Bank, 2010) and agriculture is the main source of income and employment. Agriculture and forestry represent activities which occupy many fields of land and play a primary role in the managing of the rich natural resources and in the formation of the landscape in the rural regions, where they constitute an essential part of the natural environment and cultural heritage. Wildlife is more frequently found in rural areas.

Rural development generally refers to the process of improving the quality of life and economic wellbeing of people living in relatively isolated and sparsely populated rural areas. It aims at the improvement of welfare of rural populations through the sustained growth of the rural economy. As a concept, it connotes overall development of rural areas with a view to improve the quality of life rural people. As a phenomenon, it is the result of various physical, technological, economic, socio-cultural and institutional factors. As a discipline, it is multi-disciplinary in nature representing an intersection of agricultural, social, behavioral and management of sciences (Fotiadis, 2009.).

Rural development is not simply an economic proposition; it has social, psychological and cultural dimensions as well. It is a multi-dimensional as well as multi-directional concept. Thus, rural development is a program designed to improve the socio-economic living conditions of the rural poor. It aims at raising their cultural level and reorienting their rich traditions. It seeks to achieve increase rural production and productivity, greater socio-economic equity and a higher standard of living for the rural poor. It is partly ameliorative and partly development-oriented (..). Development is interlinked with motivation, innovation and the active participation of the beneficiaries. Rural development recognizes the importance of improved food supplies and nutrition, as well as the importance of basic services such as health, housing, education and expanded communications, which will go a long way in enhancing the productivity of the rural poor. Moreover, it aims at providing gainful employment, so that the rural people too may contribute their mite to the national product. Rural development implies a fuller development of existing resources, including the construction of infrastructure, such as roads and irrigation works, the introduction of new production technology, the revival of traditional arts and crafts, and the creation of new types of institutions and organizations (Desai, 2005).

Not like traditional rural development approach that was based on modernization theory, the contemporary rural development is a new rural development approach, representing a policy model that seeks to focus less on the production of primary commodities and more on innovation and diversification (Ploeg et al., 2000). The model claims to encourage more democratic and effective rural development on the basis that different local stakeholders are involved as decision makers in the development process, and that the emergent development outcome is more innovative and integrated as a result. (Macken-Walsh, 2009).

3.1.1 Definitions of Rural Development

There is no universally accepted definition of rural development. The term is used in different ways in vastly divergent contexts.

Rural development can be defined as the development of regions excluding the urban areas such as the towns and cities. Smaller settlements such as villages, farmsteads, and market towns are normally included within the concept of rural, while most of the land area is expected to be used as agricultural land, forest or in its natural state (Apostolides. 2001?).

According to Robert Chambers, rural development is a strategy to enable a specific group of people, poor rural women and men, to gain for themselves, and their children more of what they want and need. It involves helping the poorest among those who seek a livelihood in the rural areas to demand and control more of the benefits of rural development. The group includes small-scale farmers, tenants and the landless.

Rural development may be defined as overall development of rural areas to improve the quality of life of rural people. It is an integrated process, which includes social, economical, political and spiritual development of the poorer sections of the society. Social or economic activities or initiatives designed to improve the standard of living in areas far away from large towns or cities.

Thus, the term rural development may be used to imply any one of the above-mentioned connotations. The avoid ineffective floundering among the myriad definitions, it can be defined as a process leading to sustainable improvement in the quality of life of rural people, especially the poor

3.1.2 Barriers for rural development

In many countries several problems can be identified against the rural development. They act as barriers to reach rural development. Most of them are common to number of countries. Some main barriers prevailing in developing countries can be summarized as follows.

Depleting natural resources, resulting in insecurity of food and employment, compelling over majority of the rural population to live in poverty.

Pollution of the environment and climate change, causing shortage of clean drinking water and adverse impact on agricultural production.

Lack of employment opportunities, forcing the landless and small farmers to migrate to urban areas reducing young labour for the activities of rural areas.

Poor access to education, resulting in low literacy and unemployment of the youth. Particularly among women having adverse effect on their skills development, employment productivity, family welfare and education of their children.

Poor health status due to lack of clean drinking water, hygiene, sanitation and drainage facilities;

Inadequate health care facilities, leading to high child mortality and morbidity; loss of labour productivity, economic loss, indebtedness and poor quality of life.

Poor infrastructure for receiving timely information on development opportunities, market demand and prices for agricultural commodities, new technologies, forward and backward linkages, credit facilities and development policies of the government and

Lack of technological skills to conduct processing and value addition to agricultural and other local products available in rural areas.

Lack of people’s organizations and participation for supporting various socio-economic development activities and governing themselves (Hegde, 2010; Walsh, 2009; Commission on Sustainable Development, 2007).

If we can overcome these problems, significant level of rural development can be obtained. It is the responsibility of the government to create a suitable environment for rural people to engage in

rural development activities to gain sustainable development.

3.1. 3 New rural development paradigm

As explained earlier, the traditional rural development approaches mainly based on industrial sector and modernization path. Decline in number of farms and a sharp drop in employment opportunities were seen as inevitable outcomes of this model. In addition, regional disparities increased and tensions grew between farming on the one hand and landscape, nature, environment and product on the other (Knickel 1990; Meyer 1996; Roep 2000). Until the early 1990s, due to scale-enlargement, intensification, specialization, within other sectors, a strong trend towards internalization was the parameters that circumscribed developments in the agricultural sector. With the understanding of these issues, present rural development means a new developmental model for the agricultural sector. This model entails society’s expectations of agriculture and with the interests, prospect and perspectives of increasing segments of the agrarian community. In brief, new rural development can be seen as the search for a new agricultural development model which is targeting to use rural resources in an effective manner to distribute benefits for the majority of the community. It is impossible and undesirable to refer to rural development as a new ‘blueprint,’ but understanding of what elements should comprise in this new model are emerging fast. (Mannion 1996; Saraceno 1996) Agritourism, an alternative for diversification of agriculture is one of the main elements of it.

3.2 Concept of Agritourism

Agritourism can be explained as a farm enterprise operated for the enjoyment and education of the public that may also generate additional income for the farmer by promoting farm products and experiences and giving many opportunities to local community to enhance their living standards (Wilson, Thilmany, & Sullins, 2006). The concept is gaining popularity and it’s providing a great escape for people in urban environment from their high-paced, strenuous and many times monotonous lifestyle. At the same time it’s helping the new generation to get first-hand experience of the rural life, which otherwise is limited only to the books for them. Spending time on the farms, interacting with the local people and farmers to get an insight into their day-to-day work and their traditions, participating in the local fairs and festivals, doing the actual work on the farm, milking the cow, riding a bullock cart, are some of the activities that can be enjoyed on an agritourism outing.

3.2.1 Theoretical basis of agritourism

Agritourism is multifunctional and cooperative strategy (Sidali, Spiller and Schulze, 2011; Wilson, 2007; Essex, et. al., 2005; Schmitt, 2010; Mason, 2000). The post-productivits agricultural system is the new approach in agricultural development. It is very complicated than subsistence and productivits agriculture systems (Topcu, 2007). Post-productivits agriculture system is a broad concept and the five main tasks of it are qualitative priorities in food production, alternative income sources for farmers and sustainability of agricultural lands, conservation of environment and new employment opportunities. Agritourism can easily link with these new aspects of agricultural development. Moreover, agritourism can be performed in five important sectors such as agricultural economic, socio-cultural, environmental and educational context in an effective manner. Further, since it is highly involved with the gender factor, agritourism as a gender approach is also having higher importance (Topcu, 2007; Sidali, Spiller and Schulze; 2011; Wilson, 2007; Essex, et. al., 2005).

3.2.2 Definitions of agritourism

Before 1990, only a little information has been published on agritourism. This lack of information was one of the reasons for the absence for the commonly accepted definition (Lack, 1997). However, after 1990, the research literature on agritourism has flourished and several number of definitions are available now (McGehee & Kim, 2004). Some selected definitions of agritourism are as follows.

Agritourism can be defined as the practice of engaging in activities, events and services that has been provided to consumers for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes at a farm, ranch, or other agricultural, horticultural, or agribusiness operation in order to allow consumers to experience, learn about, and participate in various facets of agricultural industry, culinary pursuits, natural resources, and heritage (Colorado Agritourism Research Project, 2010).

Tew (2010) cited The Agribusiness Development Division of the Missouri Department of Agriculture (2010) defines agritourism as, “visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural, or agribusiness operation for the purpose of appreciation, enjoyment, education, or recreational involvement with agricultural, natural or heritage resources”

Agritourism as an innovative agricultural activity related to tourism and agriculture both in which has capacity to create additional source of income and employment opportunities to the farmers and local communities (Maruti, 2009).

Agritourism can be characterized as a business or activity that invites visitors to come on-farm or into a rural community to enjoy agriculture, its produce and the natural environment in which it exists. Agritourism is generally an additional enterprise added to the farm, integrating tourism into agri-business (Porcaro, 2009).

An activity, enterprise or business which combines primary elements and characteristics of agriculture and tourism and provides an experience for visitors which stimulates economic activity and impacts both farm and community income (Bruch, 2008).

Tourism on a working farm in which visitors can experience a direct connection with the

host farm, rural life and/or the local environment”.

There is not a consistent definition of agritourism in the literature, and it has been used interchangeably with other terms. For example, some studies have previously been synonymously linked to rural tourism, farm tourism, agro-tourism, agricultural tourism and farm based vacation (Seong-woo and Sou-yeon, 2006; Ilbery, 1998; Ilbery, 1991). However, the main idea of all of these definitions is more or less similar. As a whole, agritourism can be explained as an interaction among agricultural producers, visitors, and local residents. Operators (mainly farmers) can earn extra income from the farm, visitors can get real knowledge and experience on farming and local residents can enhance their living slandered in several ways.

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3.2.3 Working definition for agritourism in the study

For the purpose of this study, agritourism is defined as “tourism activities that conduct in working farm and surrounding, for enjoyment, education, recreation of visitors, hoping an additional income for the operator from farm resources in special and sustainable local development in general”. This is the working definition for agritourism in this study that is suitable in Sri Lankan context. After having strong theoretical knowledge and practical experience in agritourism sector, this was developed, including considering the main purposes of agritourism visitors, motivation of agritourism operators and expectations of local residents for rural development. Economic, social, environmental dimensions have been included in this definition.

3.2.4 Activities involved in agritourism

Normally, agritourism activities are the tourism activities take place in agricultural lands and surrounding rural environments. The number of agritourism activities mainly depends on the size of the farm and nature of the farming activities. These activities are important for the visitors to enjoy and learn agriculture. Blacka et al (2001) has divided agritourism activities in Virginia, into six categories as lodging and camping (bed & breakfast, camp sites, youth camp, farm vacation, weddings, honeymoons), special events and festivals (music festivals, haunted house, holiday celebrations, harvest festivals) Off the farm (farmers’ markets, roadside produce stands), recreational activities and events (fee fishing, hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, skeet shooting), tourism related direct marketing (pick your own fruits/vegetables, sell processed food on the farm, sell herbal organic products) an youth and or adult education (Organized tours, agricultural educational programs, demonstrations). Lack (1995) divided agritourism British Colombia, into three groups as retail sales/ direct marketing (goods produced on-site, customer harvested produce and goods produced off-site), Tours (tour of processing facilities, scenic tours and tours of production facilities) and activities (accommodation, cultural activities, recreation and educational or hands on experiences). It is important to include all the possible agritourism activities because it helps to increase the length of stay and satisfaction of the visitors. In European countries, in a farm there are activities for visitors even for several days. However, the number of agritourism activities is lower in Asian countries. Further, activities in agritourism and rural tourism haven’t clearly categorized yet and most of the time they are used interchangeably.

Briefly, a successful agritourism operation should have three aspects. They are the need to have things for visitors to see (educational tours, historical recreations, festivals/special events, crop arts), things for visitors to do (educational activities, petting zoos, hay rides, pick your own) and things for visitors to buy (food & drinks, farm products, souvenirs). Things to see and do are often offered free of charge. But, money can be earned by selling things to the visitors (Adam, 2001). Agritourism can be used as primary, supplementary or complementary enterprise. As a primary enterprise, agritourism would be the main activity in the farm. Agritourism could be a minor activity in supplementary enterprises and it would share equal footing in complementary enterprises (Blacka et al., 2001). Agritourism can consist of different alternatives such as temporary attraction or special event, part of a large agriculture-oriented destination, part of a large non-agriculture-oriented destination, and complete agritourism agritourism operation.

Different forms agritourism business

Farmers can incorporate agritourism activities to their farms in various ways according to the situation. Four possible ways are; as a supplementary, complementary or primary enterprise, farmer must be ready to think creatively and plan effectively in order to success the agritourism enterprise (Mnguni, 2010).

Supplementary enterprise

In a supplementary enterprise, agritourism could be a minor activity that would support the other products on the farm. For example, if the primary enterprise is crop production, educational and training programs can be introduced with marketing facility of value added crop products.

Complementary enterprise

In a complementary enterprise, agritourism activities have equal share with other enterprises in the farm product mix. For instance, if there is a grapes production enterprise on the farm, it the farmer wants to sell half of the grapes to a whole seller and the remainder to ”pick-your-own” operations for visitors on the farm, then the two enterprises would be complementary enterprises.

The primary enterprise

In the primary enterprise, agritourism would be the major activity on the farm. For example, suppose that a farmer wants to open a winery on the farm and invite guests to spend the day or the weekend tasting wine. As a part of the wine tasting package, farmer may include overnight lodging in a cottage on your farm. You may produce grapes for the wine on your farm to supplement your wine tasting activities. Here agritourism is the main part of the farm product mix and it becomes the primary enterprise (Bernardo, Valentin and Leatherman, 2007; Blacka, et al, 2001).

3.2.5 Issues and challenges of agritourism development

As agritourism is a business activity, lots of requirements are essential for the successfulness of it. However, as agritourism is conduct mainly in rural areas by farmers, presence of several issues and challenges is a common phenomenon. For example, a study by Lack (1995) in British Colombia, has discovered that, lack of training, marketing knowledge, quality control, finance, appropriate insurance, excessive regulations, personal challenges for farm families, conflict with primary agricultural production, distance from markets, infrastructure limitations and farm disease are the challenges of agritourism development in that country. Agritourism in Nova Scotia has some obstacles. Many agritourism operators face the problem of lack of assistance and the knowledge required to produce market-ready products as Nova Scotia Tourism and Culture is reluctant to include and to enhance agritourism in their marketing campaigns. This lack of support hinders the development of agritourism products and services resulting poorly developed and marketed products by farmers. So, farmers could not develop many skills required to operate an effective tourism business (Colton and Bissix, 2005).

A study in Haryana, India has reported that the Lack of funds for publicity and advertisement less number of visitors, Lack of technology to develop farm tourism, lack of motivation of farmers, inadequate price for farm products/activities as major constraints in establishing agritourism (Shehrawat, 2009).

In Sri Lanka, issues and challenges in agritourism are small size farm lands, lack of required skills for the operators, poor level of processing of agricultural products, low level of publicity and promotion are the significant factors. Furthermore, lack of visitors, environmental pollution, poor condition on infrastructure, are the common problems for all the operators (Malkanthi and Routray, 2011b). Although there are few differences, most of the issues and challenges are common for many countries. As issues and challenges are negatively affect for the growth of the sector, finding solutions is utmost important.

3.2.6 Sustainability in agritourism operations

Sustainable tourism development is supposed to meet the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing the opportunities for the future. It is envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled, while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems (World Tourism Organization, 1999) Therefore, Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability.

Same as other tourism destinations, sustainability of agritourism destinations are very important in long run. Although most of the destinations that are feasible in short run, face difficulties in survival in long run. So, economic feasibility, social acceptability and environmental friendliness of tourism operations are equally applicable to agritourism as well. World Tourism Organization (2001), defines sustainable development as “convene the requirement of present tourists and host regions as caring and improving opportunity for prospect. Its management of resources satisfies in way of economical, social and aesthetic needs satisfying while maintaining cultural integrity necessary for ecological processes, biological diversity and existence support system”. Markandya, et.al., (2003) have reported that the three main linkages among tourism and sustainable development are economic, social and environmental.

Tourism can kill itself if we mismanage the tourism activities and places (Yalcin Kuwan & Perran Akan, 2001). Unspoiled natural environment is an asset of the industry. It will create the competitive advantage to the industry (Cater, 1993). The implementation and success of policies of sustainability, in employing tourism income to support social and cultural development and wild life conservation, require strategy framework which guides tourism development in a balanced and coherent way (Hall, 1998).

Economic feasibility

As one element of destination’s economy, tourism must support a viable economic base. A healthy economy enables a country, region or city to pursue initiatives designed to enhance the quality of its residents (Ritchie & Crouch, 2003). Traditional way of management of tourism destination was rather productive and resource-centered. But since there are limits in adapting to the market, the present strategy is combined supply and market let approach. In this context, management of demand is highly responsible for the sustainable tourism development (Kastenholz, 2004). So, instead of profit maximization of a destination by damaging the environment in short term, now the principle is to obtain the optimum profit.

Economic benefits are positively related with the number of visitors. Further arrangement of traditional and cultural events is cost effective with this large number. However, as agritourism is a niche market, socio-culturally and environmentally sustainable, cooperation of cultural activities is very important.

Socio-cultural feasibility

It is widely accepted that local community participation is essential in sustainable tourism. Since agritourism is a service industry, goodwill and cooperation of host communities are the key factors of the success of the industry (Cole, 2006; Knowd, 2006). It is more important for the positive effects of tourism to the local community. It should be free from negative effects to the community. So, it is essential to test the social acceptability of tourism destinations (Gonzalez and Falcon, 2003). Convery, Dutson & Scott (2006) found out the importance of stronger link between tourism and surrounding communities. The study also emphasizes the importance of social capital and social network in remote upland rural locations for the success of the operation. Most common measurement in tourism socio cultural force is the relation of visitors to the local population. Vital indicators are the stay-over time and average length of stay (Mcelroy, 2003). Sharpley (2002) said that socio-cultural growth includes population of remote areas, development and maintenance of public services, renewal of local craft, customs and cultural recognition. So it influences the chance for social control and exchange.

Environmental feasibility

Tourism destination should less damage to the surrounding environment; especially it should be free from serious environmental pollution activities. So, it should match with environmental rules and regulations and followed by Environment Impact Assessment (United Nations, 1999). However, the literature reveals that little evidence is there regarding environment being considered by farmers, planners and tourism professionals (Kline et al. 2007).

Thus, sustainable agritourism should ensure viable, long-term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are fairly distributed, including stable employment and income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities, and contributing to poverty alleviation. Also, respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance. It should make careful use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity.

Sustainable agritourism development requires the informed participation of all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership to ensure wide participation and consensus building. Achieving sustainable agritourism is a continuous process and it requires constant monitoring of impacts, introducing the necessary preventive and/or corrective measures whenever necessary. Furthermore, it should also maintain a high level of tourist satisfaction and ensure a meaningful experience to the tourists, raising their awareness about sustainability issues and promoting sustainable tourism practices amongst them.

Although it is difficult and expensive, agritourism development should follow the sustainable tourism procedures to obtain the real benefits of it forever. However, most of the operators in many countries mainly emphasize only on short term economic advantages without social and environmental benefits. This is the reason for the breakdown of many tourism operations including agritourism, within a short time period.

3.2.7 Government policies in agritourism

In general local government is the most important authority in establishing tourism development policies (Perce, 1989). However, the types and the content of its involvement vary from country to country based on the political, economic, and constitutional systems. In many European countries governments’ have supported the growth of the agritourism sector.

There are national policies for the support and development of agritourism in a number of countries for a long time. For instance, in France, state financial aids to support the renovation of redundant farm buildings into accommodation facilities were introduced in 1954. Farms in Italy, Germany and Denmark also have long benefited from national support for the development of tourist facilities (Frater, 1983; Nilsson, 2002). In Britain, Scheme offering financial incentives and advices about diversification, together with partial relaxation of planning restrictions, have facilitated the development of farm-based tourism. The farm diversification Grant Scheme introduced by the ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in 1988, was one of the first measures offering grants to farmers to help them develop diversification schemes (Walford, 2001).

According to Douglas & Douglas, (2001); Fernando, Rebollo & Biadal, (2003), it is important to develop policies in a proactive nature to lay the foundation and capture the development potential of tourism for rural communities. So, the national rural tourism strategy of a country must emphasis on infrastructure development, product development, accreditation and industrial standards, education and training, market analysis and the role of government authorities and industrial leaders in further developing the rural tourism product. Ritchie & Crouch (2003) reported that policy is an important factor which ensures the success of tourism destination. It also creates a friendly environment among stakeholders.

Therefore, the main objectives of agritourism policy are to minimize and alleviate negative environmental, s


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