KeywordsPlace Attachment Wine Industry Agricultural Trade Rural Tourism Farm Woman
Agritourism brings together two sectors of the world economy: agriculture, one of the oldest industries now declining in terms of employment, and tourism, one of the most rapidly expanding industries. The potential for creating synergistic relationships between the two has been widely recognized by planners and policymakers, but realizing the benefits has proved difficult (Torres and Momsen 2011). Furthermore, there is growing evidence that the two industries often vie for resources such as land, labor, water, and investment. This competition is detrimental to local agriculture and rural communities. Demand for labor may lead to out-migration from the countryside to tourist resorts, leaving behind underutilized farmland in the countryside.
With shifting global consumption patterns and attitudes toward food, the tourism industry has opened up new opportunities for producers in terms of food tourism, wine tourism, and specialized niche market food production for tourist consumption. Tourism makes it possible for farmers to reduce food miles by bringing the market to the farm and so cuts the cost of agricultural trade. This “farm-to-fork” approach is reinforcing these linkages, and governments are increasingly training farmers in food regulations, certification, and packaging. At the same time, tourists are being encouraged to try local dishes. Wine tourism allows consumers to develop their knowledge of different wines and teaches an understanding of place attachment such as “terroir,” which is so important in the wine industry. Other foodstuffs, including cheese or tea (Jolliffe 2007), may also attract gourmet tourists to specific sites of production. In some countries, such as Italy and France, cooking lessons using local produce are also offered, often on the farm.
Tourist accommodation on agricultural holdings can provide extra income for small farms. Much of the work in offering hospitality falls on farm women, but tourists offer contact with the outside world and help to overcome the isolation of these women. These agritourism entrepreneurs often become better stewards of the rural environment and may start organic production.
Farm-stay tourists stimulate demand for local foods and provide a market for region-specific food festivals and farmers’ markets, a development which helps to maintain the local culture. Farms taking guests may also offer other attractions, such as horse riding in the western United States and Hungary, cycles for rent, and facilities for fishing and canoeing in local rivers. In Spain, some locations offer transport in horse-drawn carriages between farms offering such stays. Consumption of local products creates a unique sense of place, later evoked in the consumption of these products when the tourist returns home (Hall et al. 2003). For future research, the convergence of agritourism and food studies offers considerable scope.
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