Tag: sustainable development

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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Throughout my time studying food security at the University of Edinburgh, I was vaguely aware of the advantages of sustainable tourism development projects in vulnerable areas of the world, but I wasn’t clear about how these efforts can actualize environmental and social improvements in practice. A friend of mine working in ecotourism then introduced me to Solimar, and I was energized by their results and success. Solimar connects people with economic opportunities and promotes environmental initiatives through sustainable tourism development. 

I learned that Solimar was doing work in the Sundarbans,Ecotourism in Sundarbans in Bangladesh the world’s largest mangrove forest, and I became hooked on the idea of getting involved in their project. Throughout my course in food security, I developed a fascination with mangroves and how they can support food security in the world’s vulnerable coastal areas. I then got connected with one of Solimar’s project partners, the Bangladesh Environment and Development Society (BEDS). BEDS is a Bangladeshi NGO pursuing cooperative solutions to the country’s deteriorating mangrove habitat, coastal instability, and livelihood vulnerabilities among Bonojibi people (forest dwellers) who live in and around the Sundarbans. I was able to piggyback my research onto an existing project in the area – USAID contracts Solimar to develop the Bangladesh Ecotourism and Conservation Alliance (BECA) in collaboration with BEDS.

Getting connected with the larger Solimar, BEDS, and BECA networks granted me access to a world of sustainable development I thought I could only encounter much later in my career. These connections helped me better understand some of the vast economic and environmental results Solimar and BEDS have achieved with their program interventions. 

Existing research in Bangladeshi mangrove preservation has focused on the ecological stability of the region. Working within existing frameworks, I proposed to contribute a food security angle to the existing data with my dissertation research, studying the effects of participation in mangrove conservation efforts on the four food security pillars in local households. 

The Four Pillars of Food Security, as defined by The Committee on World Food Security
The Four Pillars of Food Security, as defined by The Committee on World Food Security


Thus, my research project was born:

Can Mangrove Conservation Interventions Increase Short-Term Food Security for Banojibi villages, while working towards Long-Term Ecological Stability, in The Sundarban Forest of Bangladesh? 

A Case Study Evaluation of Local Perspectives on Bangladesh Environment and Development Society Mangrove Conservation Initiatives 

The experience blew me away; I was able to travel to Bangladesh and interview stakeholders in and around the Sundarbans. I spoke with mangrove conservation project managers, forest rangers, farmers, ecotour guides, students and professors at Khulna university, and other interested parties to better understand the influence of mangrove conservation efforts on local livelihoods. The data collected from my study has since helped to inform food system lens for BECA project interventions in the Sundarban Reserve Forest, including the monitoring, evaluation, and learning of implemented project activities, specifically related to food security outcomes. 


The culmination of my field research in the Sundarbans revealed some compelling themes linking ecotourism development to the improvement of livelihoods, including economic opportunities and food security outcomes for local people. BEDS’ ecotourism sector is one of five sectors (including agriculture, aquaculture, non-forest timber products, and mangrove reforestation) that is supporting regional environmental security in the Sundarbans. In addition to promoting mangrove health and coastal stability, BEDS’ ecotourism sector also facilitates cultural exchange between local people and tourists, and increased awareness of the vulnerable Sundarbans habitat. It also supports mangrove conservation in its emphasis on sustainable development, prioritizing local, small-scale, and sustainable materials for infrastructure, environmental education, and cultural exchange among local people and tourists. These actions increase awareness of the Sundarbans’ value and reduce resource pressures on mangrove habitat, in lieu of large-scale development of tourist facilities, and associated environmental degradation. The following statistics from my research showcase the  results of ecotourism opportunities in the study area: 

Nypa Palm and Bamboo Eco-Cottage Under Construction in Banishanta Union
Nypa Palm and Bamboo Eco-Cottage Under Construction in Banishanta Union
  • A large majority (87.5%) of interviewees in the sector agreed that mangrove conservation initiatives have increased their access to professional opportunities. 
  • Before the BEDS intervention, 50% of interview participants reported working as domestic and day laborers. All of those (37.5%) who reported working as domestic laborers were women. After getting involved in BEDS programming, however, 100% of people reported that their primary income came from ecotourism opportunities.
  • Over 71% of interview participants noted that increased opportunities for extended community partnerships between sectors could add value to ecotourism in the area. Specifically, 50% noted that opportunities to experience village lifestyle and culture would increase the value of ecotourism activities. Another 50% also mentioned healthier mangroves and Sundarban biodiversity as a driver of ecotourism value. 
  • Ecotourism in the study area contributed to increased income and economic opportunities for women (affecting access to food), increased access to drinking water (affecting the utilization of food), increased ecological stability, improved land use practices, and cooperative partnerships (affecting the stability of local food systems).
Statistics from my research
Statistics from my research


Data from the ecotourism sector presented compelling opportunities for commercial cooperation and cultural-exchange between BEDS’ five sectors. For instance, BEDS’ ecotourism adds value to its local communities by developing increased employment opportunities and increasing regional awareness of the state of the Sundarbans. For instance, shrimp yields are highest from September to October in the study area. This is also the most popular tourist season, as it is the dry season in Bangladesh. This overlap could provide a valuable opportunity for pop-up retail markets in the aquaculture sector, and the diversification of market opportunities for farmers. This program also is one of the limited professional avenues for local people,especially women. This is a valuable avenue into the professional workforce for people in the study area, and a compelling avenue for reducing regional gender inequities. 


The ecotourism sector in Bangladesh is facing an interesting opportunity. The introduction of a 6 km bridge across the padma river on June 25, 2022, which will streamline transportation between Bangladesh’s metropolitan hubs, including Dhaka and Khulna, and the co

Ecotourism in Sundarbans in Bangladeshastal part of the country, is certain to increase regional tourist traffic. Unrestricted tourism could be disastrous for the area. However, increasing measured and intentional opportunities for sustainable ecotourism development could present an opportunity for increased awareness of the SRF, and an influx in economic opportunities in depressed local markets. The influx in capital, as a result of ecotourism, can change the micro and macroeconomic landscape of local communities in the world’s mangrove supporting regions. These benefits are critical to regional food security; economic opportunities like this are positively correlated with increased access to food, a diversified diet, and increased stability of local food systems. 


These results reveal several compelling themes that highlight the intersections of mangrove conservation efforts in the SIZ, and regional food security:

  • Multi-stakeholder initiatives can address opportune connections between local markets and ecosystems, helping to support local mangrove conservation and food availability and access 
  • Increasing opportunities for ecotourism will increase opportunities for the retail sale of premium mangrove-friendly products in food producing sectors
  • Increasing opportunities for young people to be involved in ecotourism will improve environmental education and gender equity
  • Opportunities for visitor engagement in forest regeneration in the study area will increase opportunities for improving coastal stability and habitat production for the ecotourism sector, and food-production habitats for food producing sectors

Much of what was revealed in this research is already documented in current literature: mature mangrove forests can support food security, and mangrove conservation efforts can support livelihoods. This work adds an additional, targeted food security angle to the field, and contributes to the emerging research about how conservation interventions can also support food security in the short-term, as reforested and protected mangroves grow from saplings to resource-giving trees. Not only can cooperative mangrove conservation interventions, like ecotourism development, endow Bangladeshi communities with food security-supporting services, but these efforts can also stimulate education, a fair distribution of incomes, gender equality, cultural celebration, access to land and ownership, regional climate resilience, and other socio-ecological and economic assets. 


A pillar of Solimar and BEDS’ work in the Sundarbans is to ensure that the perspectives and priorities of local people are centered in every initiative taken on the behalf of the forest that they steward. Results from my limited work in the study area contribute to existing research indicating that conservation interventions are most successful when local communities are involved. Formal interviews and casual conversations with locals revealed to me that there is a robust momentum for mangrove conservation in the region I visited. Community-based mangrove forest management, including the development of the ecotourism sector, in the Sundarbans appeared to be a successful avenue to conservation, based on the results of my research and the perspectives of local people. This avenue for conservation initiatives redistributes the agency of forest conservation from powerful stakeholders to local people who rely on the forests’ resources for their livelihoods. These are the people targeted in Solimar’s work in Sundarbans ecotourism, and these are the people who will most directly influence policy and conservation. 


Spring 2022 Destination Development and Destination Marketing Internship

We recently kicked off our Spring 2022 Destination Development and Destination Marketing Internship cohort, working with 18 of the most talented budding tourism professionals from around the world. Our interns are from 12 different countries (such as China, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, Italy, and more) and live, study, and work spread across the globe.

Spring 2022 Destination Development and Destination Marketing Internship

Each season, we are amazed at the vast talent and promise our interns share, and this semester was certainly no exception. We received a record-breaking number of applications for this cohort, and have selected the most qualified candidates. These ambitious professionals are joining some of our projects and helping with communications campaigns, DMO development, research, and content writing. They are working on our projects around the world from supporting Friends of Wallacea in Guyana, to Liberia, to Timor-Leste, New Hampshire, and beyond!

Without further ado, get to know the spring 2022 intern cohort and discover the amazing skills that make each one of them unique and talented.

Meet our Spring 2022 Destination Development and Destination Marketing Interns

Destination marketing internship

Eliot Heiss – has significant experience with journalism and communications, as he hosts his own podcast! He has studied in different countries, including Canada and Austria. His degrees are in Political Science, with a specialization in international relations and environmental politics.

Jess Moore – has extensive experience in the field of tourism, with over 19 years working in the field. Her background is in Leisure Studies, and she has dedicated a big part of her career to working on luxury tourism. She has recently discovered a passion for sustainable tourism and wants to use her career to generate an impact.

Hannah Lambert – is incredibly passionate about adventure tourism and sustainability. She is an avid traveler and she is currently traveling through Asia teaching English. Her studies are in Natural Resource Tourism with a minor in Business Administration. Hannah is excited to see her work have an impact on the world.

Kylie Blank – is a junior at Cornell University. She is Majoring in Hotel Administration and minoring in Sustainable Business and Economic Policy. Kylie was inspired to take this internship to gain knowledge in the area of sustainability. She hopes to apply this knowledge into the area of hotel management that she has been actively involved in for many years.

Thomas Kalchik – is an experienced young professional. Most recently, he has been involved in social responsibility in hotel chains and other types of non-profit work related to the tourism industry. He is extremely passionate about the power of tourism and wants to bring people together through travel.

Kim Sucré – looking out for the best study and research experience, Kim has adventured herself to study abroad in the UK and Italy. Her degree is in International Tourism Management, and her passions involve foreign cultures and languages. She is a member of her city’s Council for local tourism development, and she wants to continue to work in tourism development. She has already been applying her vast knowledge of tour planning and development to the Destination Marketing Internship!

Asfar Ahmad – is from Bangladesh but is currently based in Copenhagen, where he is completing his Master’s in Tourism. Asfar is looking forward to contributing with the projects and is hoping that his time with Solimar will boost his career.

Célia Hulin – has strong experience working with a DMC in Myanmar for over five years. She is ambitious and is completing her second Master’s in Hospitality, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation. Most recently, her interests have been focused on working directly with local communities.

Emma Barfus – has lived in multiple places across the United States, which enticed her interest to explore the world. She is currently finishing her degree in international studies. Emma believes that her time in Solimar will give her the tools to become a better professional in the future.

Adam Pudi Luddy – is an activist with a degree in Tourism Business. He is moved by issues such as inequality, human rights, climate change, gender, people empowerment, and poverty alleviation. Adam wishes to address these social issues through tourism and become a sustainable tourism specialist.

Alexandria Kleinschmidt – is passionate about earth science, and she graduated in Geological science from Boston College. She spent two years teaching English in Germany. During her time abroad, she was able to rekindle her passion for cultural and nature tourism, which led her to explore all continents on earth.

Antony Noyes – is very proud of his Japanese, Filipino, and Swedish heritage. Raised in San Francisco, he made sure to keep his family traditions alive by cooking traditional food and spending lots of time outdoors. Antony is very keen on sustainable tourism and is eager to help develop the World Heritage Journeys Silk Road project.

Janis Rehme – is a skilled and experienced young professional in the areas of customer service and event management. He is currently studying International Tourism Management in the Netherlands where he balances his studies with his passion for traveling, exploring nature and meeting new people.

Nina Wang – is based in Hong Kong, where she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Sustainable Tourism. She is passionate about exploring different cultures and being around nature. She hopes to contribute to sustainable tourism and envisions her internship at Solimar as a way of doing so.

Greta Dallan – has recently finished her Master’s in International Tourism Management at the University of Surrey. She is well traveled and eager to learn more about sustainable tourism and destination marketing and management. Her career goal is to improve the state of tourism in Italy, her home country.

Lisa Elmes-Bosshard – was born on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. She has dedicated her life to the tourism industry, an industry in which she has occupied different positions throughout her career. She has traveled the world, from the Caribbean all the way through to Nepal. Now, Lisa dedicates her days to pursuing a Master’s in Sustainable Tourism studies at George Washington University. Her skills make her an ideal Destination Marketing Intern.

Jessica Pool – has great experience living abroad. She has lived in six countries in the last two years. She is currently pursuing an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree in Latin American studies. Jessica strongly believes that tourism has the potential to improve life in communities if properly managed.

Caitlyn Marentette – is an undergraduate majoring in South Asia Studies. Her research interests center around the history of colonialism in modern India, Pakistan, linguistic diversity in South Asia, and the Gunpowder Empires. Caitlyn has been an editorial intern for an academic publishing journal for the last year and a half. After graduating, she hopes to continue her studies, pursuing a career in academic research on modern South Asia.

two Destination Development and Destination Marketing interns talking about strategy

Did you enjoy reading about our interns? You can read their full bios here. If you have similar interests in gaining real world tourism experience, visit our internship information page and join our next season of virtual interns!

“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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