Tag: agritourism

Discover the perfect experience for foodies, climate-conscious travelers, and those seeking genuine connections with the people and places they visit.

What Is Agritourism? 

According to the National Agricultural Law Center, “agritourism can be defined as a form of commercial enterprise that links agricultural production and/or processing with tourism to attract visitors onto a farm, ranch, or other agricultural business for the purposes of entertaining and/or educating the visitors while generating income for the farm, ranch, or business owner.” Agritourism typically overlaps with gastronomy tourism and wine tourism.

Farms engaging in agritourism often fall into the smaller-scale, organic category. They actively promote and support local food systems, which inherently fosters greater sustainability compared to industrialized agriculture. These types of agricultural businesses often serve as central pillars for the farm-to-table and slow food movements, embodying principles of mindful consumption and strengthening the connection between consumers and the land.

Agritourism Overview
Source: Chase, L. C., Stewart, M., Schilling, B., Smith, B., & Walk, M. (2018). Agritourism: Toward a Conceptual Framework for Industry Analysis. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 8(1), 13-19. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2018.081.016

Agritourism operators offer a diverse array of activities and cater to a wide range of interests. These offerings can vary from simple farm tours to more comprehensive experiences, such as on-site dining and lodging. Agritourism activities encompass a broad spectrum, covering elements of hospitality, education, outdoor recreation, entertainment, and direct sales, all within the backdrop of a working farm or rural setting.

Some example agritourism activities include:

  • Farm-to-Table Cooking Classes
  • Organic Farm/Vineyard Tours
  • Educational Workshops
  • Harvest or Traditional Food Festivals
  • Farm Stays
  • Culinary Trails
  • Food & Wine Pairing Experiences
  • Agricultural Work Exchanges (i.e. Wwoof)
  • Farm Shops and Markets
  • Events (concerts, team building)

Agritourism, particularly when farms use regenerative agriculture and other sustainable practices, can promote sustainable development across the globe. 

The Role of Agritourism in Sustainable Development 

Economic Benefits

Agritourism can support communities by generating income, creating jobs, and supporting local economies. In fact, one of Solimar’s destination management strategies is to foster agricultural linkages: “The development of agritourism tours and demonstrations as attractions in rural areas provides the potential for creating or expanding micro, small, or medium-sized enterprise (MSME) core and supply chain businesses, including transport, food service and products, and handicrafts.” Agritourism can significantly support sustainable economic development in rural communities through:benefits of agritourism

  1. Diversification of Income: Agritourism allows farmers and rural communities to diversify their sources of income beyond traditional agriculture. Through offerings like farm stays, tours, workshops, and events, farmers can generate additional revenue streams, reducing dependence on a single source of income and making them more resilient.
  2. Job Creation: Agritourism activities often require additional staff to cater to visitors’ needs, such as tour guides, hospitality personnel, and workshop instructors. This creates local employment opportunities and curbs urban migration.
  3. Support for Local Businesses: As agritourism develops, it creates demand for various goods and services in the community. Increased tourism traffic benefits local businesses such as restaurants, handicraft shops, accommodation providers, and transportation services.

Agritourism can support sustainable economic development by providing alternate livelihoods and promoting local entrepreneurship, particularly in rural communities.

Social and Cultural Impacts

Agritourism can also serve as a way to preserve cultural heritage, foster community engagement, and enhance local pride: 

  1. Preservation of Local Culture, Traditions, and Ideas: Agritourism encourages preserving local culture and traditions. Tourists engaging in farm experiences gain insights into another way of life, local customs, and traditional practices. For example, visiting an indigenous regenerative farm can reveal how practices like regenerative agriculture stem from indigenous worldviews of reciprocity and care and that regeneration calls for large-scale relational changes that extend beyond agriculture
  2. Cultural Exchange: Agritourism often involves direct interaction between tourists and locals. Farmers and community members act as hosts, guiding visitors through farm activities, explaining cultural practices, and sharing stories about their heritage. Through conversations and storytelling, tourists and locals exchange cultural experiences, beliefs, and traditions. This exchange of stories fosters mutual respect and appreciation for diverse cultural backgrounds. These personal interactions offer insights into the local culture beyond more conventional tourist destinations. 
  3. Culinary Experiences: Food plays a vital role in any culture, and agritourism often involves culinary experiences that allow tourists to savor authentic local dishes made farm-to-table. These food experiences serve as a gateway to learning about local gastronomic traditions and the cultural significance and history behind specific dishes.

benefits of agritourism

By facilitating these interactions and experiences, agritourism provides a platform for cultural exchange that goes beyond the superficial aspects of travel. It encourages meaningful connections between tourists and local communities, promoting a greater understanding and appreciation for different cultures and lifestyles – ultimately driving the desire for travel. 

Environmental Sustainability

Agritourism can support sustainable agricultural practices, conservation efforts, and biodiversity preservation:soil health

  1. Sustainable Land Use: Agritourism often promotes sustainable land use practices. Farmers are encouraged to adopt eco-friendly methods and practices that enhance visitor experiences while safeguarding the land’s natural beauty and resources. Sustainable agriculture methods can also improve the farm’s long-term viability and benefit the environment.
  2. Environmental Conservation: Sustainable agriculture practices encourage environmental stewardship. Farmers and communities may adopt conservation measures to protect natural habitats, wildlife, and biodiversity, which can lead to positive ecological impacts.
  3. Biodiversity Preservation: About a quarter of the world’s biodiversity can be found in healthy soil. When nourished properly, soil can serve as a carbon sink by drawing down carbon from the atmosphere. Alternatively, degraded soil due to industrial farming releases stored carbon into the atmosphere, exacerbating the climate crisis.

Supporting regenerative agriculture through agritourism can be an effective nature-based solution for the tourism sector. 

Case Studies

La Ferme Tarenti is an excellent example of agritourism promoting sustainable development in Tunisia. Its founder, a third-generation farmer with roots in Denmark, returned to his family’s land and saw the potential for agritourism as his parents were moving away from farming. The farm embraces super-organic practices overseen by the founder’s mother and offers educational tours, a restaurant, and unique cheese-making workshops. La Ferme Tarenti contributes to the rural community by providing employment and supporting local artisans. They advocate for local food systems, welcome volunteers, and market through social media. Despite challenges, their dedication to sustainability, community involvement, and education makes them a beacon of success in agritourism.

Tenuta di Spannocchia, a historic estate in Tuscany, serves as an exemplary model of agritourism promoting sustainable development.  Dating back to the 1200s, it began as a rural noble family estate and later came under the Chineli family’s ownership in 1925. Over the last century, Spannocchia transformed from a sharecropping system to a self-sufficient farm with diversified crops and organic, regenerative agricultural practices. In the early 1990s, the current owner recognized the value of preserving the estate’s old farming traditions. Combining agritourism and education, Spannocchia now offers lodging, a restaurant, farm tours, and a farm store, focusing on internships, apprenticeships, and hosting educational programs. Its reputation for authenticity and dedication to local food systems have garnered community support and contributed to rural development in the region. Spannocchia stands out among the Tuscan agritourism experiences, providing visitors with genuine insights into sustainable agriculture and cultural preservation.

benefits of agritourism

Jardin d’Agaves, a recent agritourism venture in Hammain, Tunisia, originates from the vision of Roberta and her Tunisian fiancé, who sought to continue the legacy of his father, a landscape architect and pioneer in introducing agritourism to Tunisia. Established two years ago, this multifaceted business seamlessly integrates a farm/garden, a restaurant, and a beautiful natural landscape. Embracing organic agricultural practices, the farm strives for self-sufficiency while sourcing from local producers. Amidst the picturesque garden, visitors enjoy tours and Mexican-inspired cuisine prepared with Tunisian ingredients, reflecting Roberta’s heritage. Strongly connected to the local community, Jardin d’Agaves offers seasonal employment opportunities and fosters positive impact. By supporting local food systems and inviting tourists to volunteer in agricultural processes, the farm champions responsible practices and creates lasting connections. Despite marketing challenges in the rural setting, Jardin d’Agaves continues to attract diverse visitors and stands as a model for sustainable agritourism fostering rural development.

Why Should You Consider Agritourism For Your Next Trip?

There are many benefits if you choose to engage in agritourism. You can:

  • Connect with local people and engage in more authentic travel experiences.
  • Discover hidden gems to combat overtourism and experience lesser-known natural and cultural beauty. Check out another Solimar post on French agritourism to learn more. 
  • Indulge in farm-to-table cuisine for the ultimate food experience. If you care about having good food when you travel, you will probably have your best meal at the source. 
  • Learn about cultural heritage through a different lens- food is a wonderful blend of place, culture, and history.
  • Support small-scale farmers who use agricultural practices that are better for people and the planet and support local food systems.
  • Immerse yourself in the charm of nature and rural communities.

Given all these reasons, it is no surprise that agritourism is getting more popular. The Global Agritourism Network, founded in April 2023, addresses agritourism’s growing interest and potential to promote sustainable development. There is even a rise in centering farm experiences in luxury travel markets, exemplified in the Six Senses hotel chain, as people care more about where their food comes from.

Overall, agritourism is a mutually beneficial opportunity for tourists and rural communities, as it fosters economic growth and preserves cultural heritage and natural resources. Nevertheless, preserving the balance between tourism development and sustainable practices is essential to ensure long-term benefits and minimize potential negative impacts on the local environment and communities.

A special thanks to the agritourism businesses that inspired and informed this blog: La Ferme Tarenti, Tenuta di Spannocchia, Jardin d’Agaves, Molla Egër, Dynamite Hill Farms, Tapada de Coelheiros, Ridge2Reef Farm, and Mrizi i Zanave.

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france agritourism

While Solimar is typically supporting more under-the-radar destinations like Guyana or Liberia, this does not mean that already successful tourist destinations are not worthy of interest. Each year, France receives millions of travelers, making it the most visited country in the world. As a result, France might not seem like the perfect sustainable destination. However, through unique stays and experiences, your stay can make an impact. French agritourism is the perfect way to do this. Associations like Accueil Paysan or Bienvenue à la Ferme offer tourists unique experiences of farm stays to explore the most authentic parts of France that positively impact rural communities. 

Read below to learn more about agritourism in France and the promotion of sustainable tourism as a way to support rural farmers!

France’s Main Sites Can be Overtouristed

Mass of tourists along the Seine river in Paris
Mass of tourists along the Seine river in Paris

Among all different French cities, Paris is the most visited one, with over 35 million tourists in 2019. Paris is world widely famous for its romantic atmosphere, its artistic and cultural offers, as well as its gastronomy and fine-wining richness. 

But when visiting Paris, you might tend to gravitate around the main attractions; the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, Le Louvre… Just like millions of other tourists. In that way, the city looks more like a theme park than like an enjoyable destination where you can bask in a different culture. If you wish to experience the traditional French lifestyle, staying in high-touristed Paris is not your best option; you can find plenty of other places in the French countryside where you will be able to try authentic food, to see extraordinary landscapes, and to explore hidden spots while making a difference! 

French Agritourism allows you to support farming communities

France is not only the world’s most visited country; it’s also the first agricultural producer in Europe. However, French farmers are provided with low income; agricultural productions rely heavily on the unpredictable weather and farmers are more and more indebted to pay back loans contracted to face the rise of lands’ prices

Consequently, farmers often need to reconsider their livelihoods and search for additional and safer sources of revenue. Agritourism is one of those alternatives, offering immersive and unique sustainable experiences to tourists. This also allows farmers to gain more revenue, preserve their lifestyle, and connect with people from around the world. Associations like Accueil Paysan or Bienvenue à la Ferme were created in order to create collectives for farmers and agricultural stakeholders to support traditional farming lifestyle and to promote a more sustainable and fair tourism as a financial lifeline. They support French farms wishing to diversify their activity beyond agricultural production, and assist farmers in the organization of tours and in the creation of table d’hôtes and guestrooms to welcome tourists.

Through farm stays, by purchasing local products or by taking part in agritourism activities, you contribute to improving farmers’ lives with additional financial resources.

With agritourism in France, you can have a positive impact on other vulnerable communities

Beside agritourism activities, farmers organized educational tours for special-need and vulnerable communities. Disabled or aging people can benefit from pedagogic visits through the farms and with the animals, whereas farmers seize the opportunity of young children touring to orient them to a more sustainable lifestyle. Other groups of people which are generally left out get involved in farming projects as well; women victims of abuse, young people who dropped out of school or were heavily bullied, former prisoners trying to reintegrate in society, and vulnerable families.

With agritourism in France, you contribute to supporting rural farmers, who are then able to create opportunities for those in need. Your impact goes further than to your host directly; you contribute to local development and to helping vulnerable communities. 

Agritourism allows you to discover a more authentic lifestyle

Agritourism in France allows you to explore rural activities and to connect with nature
Agritourism in France allows you to explore rural activities and to connect with nature

Far from Paris and its luxury boutiques, farmers live a totally different life based on hard work and sustainable productions. Through the various activities organized in French agritourism farms, you get to live unmatched adventures. Whether you love animals and want to learn how to milk a cow or a goat, or if you’d rather discover the secret know-how hidden behind your favorite cheese or wine, French farmers are more than willing to share their knowledge with you.

Agritourism in France is the guarantee to take part in experiences you would not be able to live elsewhere. You will get a better understanding of how French farmers live, and will support traditional rural communities.

Agritourism gives you the chance to sleep in unique accommodations and connect with nature 

Enjoy the most traditional alarm to wake up each morning with agritourism in France
Enjoy the most traditional alarm to wake up each morning with agritourism in France.

Staying for a night in a French farm is a unique moment and a special experience where you can exchange with your host. You will have time to explore the farm and its surroundings, and to connect with nature and follow its rhythm. Farm stay means observing the stars in an unpolluted sky, sleeping with the sound of cicadas and waking up with the rooster crow. You could hardly do more authentic; the rooster is the national animal of France!

If you try agritourism in France, this could be the perfect occasion to sleep in a different kind of accommodation; some farms offer regular rooms and cottages, but you could also try sleeping in unusual lodges like a trailer or a yurt.

Agritourism is the perfect opportunity to experience the best of French gastronomy

French agritourism allows Experience French wine straight from the farms where the grapes were grown
Experience French cuisine straight from the farmers

Food is so important to French people that the ‘Gastronomic meal of the French’ has even been inscribed by UNESCO on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Eating is a special moment for French people, who consider each meal a celebration, and a moment spent together around qualitative products. 

Agritourism in France offers you the possibility to stay with farmers who grow and cook their own meals. You can’t find any fresher meal than the one prepared with products cultivated by the people serving you. With no intermediary, food goes straight from the field to your plate, you discover a new kind of authentic French delicacy. This is true farm-to-table luxury

Who’s going to prepare better breads and baguettes than farmers who grow their own cereals? And who will serve you a better glass of wine than the producers who know exactly how the grapes were cultivated? Your farmer hosts take care of you and of your stomach from breakfast to dinner, focusing on the quality and the sustainability of each ingredient. 

Agritourism in France makes you discover remote and underrated villages 

French agritourism gives you the chance to explore the most beautiful villages
Agritourism in France gives you the chance to explore the most beautiful villages

The association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (i.e. The Most Beautiful Villages of France) was created to support French rural destinations and preserve authentic heritage. Small French villages, which are sparsely populated and often forgotten, are placed under the spotlight to show tourists how charming and attractive they can be. The association already labeled 164 villages as ‘beautiful’, and none of them is even remotely close to Paris; they are all located in rural areas!

Choosing agritourism in France allows you to discover those villages which are generally unknown to international tourists despite their authentic, charming and welcoming atmosphere. This is the chance for you to explore places where none of your friends have ever been! 

Rural France is always a good idea 

Even in world-widely known tourist destinations, inequalities arise, and certain communities struggle to live decently. Instead of visiting Paris like many other tourists, planning agritourism during your next trip to France is the guarantee for you to live an authentic French experience while being an important stakeholder supporting rural communities and villages. 

To learn more about how tourism can help destinations around the world, visit our website: https://www.solimarinternational.com/ 

“We rely confidently on Solimar's deep technical experience and professionalism as tourism consultants. You always are exceeding our expectations.”
Leila Calnan, Senior Manager, Tourism Services Cardno Emerging Markets

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