Prospects of Agri-Tourism
28th Aug, 2021
Agri-tourism is regarded as the intersection of tourism and agriculture. In other words, Agri-tourism can be defined as the conjunction between a working farm territory aided with a remunerativetourism unit, which is broadly a segment of rural enterprise. Agri-tourism is presently getting popularity as producers emphasise diversification in agriculture and an increase in profit; urban visitorprefers the touring to rural areas to experience the peaceful rural environment.
- Agri-tourism is regarded as the intersectionof tourism and agriculture. In other words,agri-tourism can be defined as the conjunction between a working farm territory aided with a remunerative tourism unit, which is broadly asegment of rural enterprise.
- The basic principles of Agri-tourism are to have something for the tourists to see, to do and to purchase. The farms havea series of activities involving production, post-production and processing activities, which arelinked to the tourism sector that attracts visitingtourists to such ventures or activities.
- Agri-tourism can be categorised based on the type of farm setting, farm facility or experience and types of activities involved. Agri-tourism can be of passive tourists contact, indirect tourists contact and direct tourists contact.
- In passive tourist contact, it restricts to accommodation, food and entertainment activities of the tourists (passive agritourism).
- Indirect contact agritourism adds other activities like the exposure of tourists to farm demonstrations and basic farm education.
- Direct contactagri-tourism includes all the above-mentioned activities as well as the participation of the tourists in different farm operations like seeds sowing, planting, gardening, harvesting the produce, milking a cow, etc
- Agri-tourism would increase the share of agriculture in national GDP thereby providing an additional sources of income along with conventional agriculture and tourism industry.
- Around 90 million farmers (80 percent of them are small and marginal farmers) covering 6.25 lakh villages are responsible for feeding our entire nation and thus they have the most urgent need for income diversification along with additional income generation.
- Agri-tourism has the potential to reduce the uncertainty of farming or Agri-entrepreneurship/ agri-businesses by generating additional income and creating job opportunities to farm families.
Progress in India
- The tourism sector has been expanding that can be facilitated through agriculture under agritourism. The ecological beauty, water bodies and traditional handicrafts of the region enables tourism in rural areas.
- Rural tourism was initiated during the 10th five-year planwherein 103 projects were sanctioned that was boosted by 69 rural tourism projects in 11th FYP; and 12th FYP allocated Rs. 770 crores for this purpose.
- Agri-tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) was established in 2004. The main activities include operating agritourism centres, encouraging more farmers to take up agritourism, and conducting training and research programmes.
- In India, agri-tourism is penetrating slowly to other Indian states like Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh; which marks the growth of another new industry in most of the agricultural states in India.
A Way to Increase Income:
Agri-tourism can provide additional income through several forms viz.
- farmers' market, where tourists can purchase farm products,
- picking up own products, where tourists harvest produces by themselves,
- local food, where tourists prefer to have local flavour in breakfast, lunch, dinner,
- participation of tourists in different farm activities and other entertainment activities like animal rides, bird watching, etc., and
- experiencing rural life through local tours at different rural settings.
- Agri-tourism is a potential way for the farmers to diversify and extend farm operations by innovatively using farm produces.
- It helps in establishing new consumer market niches, which are more aware of local agricultural products, thereby enhancing farm revenues.
- It doesn't require large landholding and farmers of age group between 30 to 60 years, having a higher level of education, are operating most of the agritourism centres.
- Out-migration from rural to urban areas for seeking livelihood has been an emerging issue that can be addressed with the promotion of agritourism.
- It enables additional revenue generation for local businesses and services due to the presence of tourists in the locality.
- Agri-tourism helps in raising public awareness about agricultural activities and related issues and values.
- Creation of facilitative environment for the establishment of rural entrepreneurship through micro-enterprises.
- Lack of training opportunities to learn about Agro-tourism.
- The establishment of Agri-tourism faces certain challenges like attractions, accommodation, recreational activities, entertainment programmes, food arrangements, safety and security aspects, medical facilities, and risks and liabilities in case of accidents.
- Agri-tourism network involves farming, medical facilities, transportation, safety aspects, media and communication, tourism agencies, government and hospitality industry.
- Agri-tourism offers benefits to farmers, farm families, rural communities, tourists and tourism operators. It is vital to create information on the available agritourism centres across different states of the country to draw the attention of potential tourists. Agri-tourism needs to be an integral part of available tourism packages, and developing strategic partnerships for its further promotion in India, will contribute to strengthening the Indian economy in general and rural economy in particular.