SUSTAINABLE AGRITOURISM

Agritourism has been recently embraced by South African Farmers as a means of not only diversifying risk and earning additional income, but also to create a platform whereby farmers and fellow South Africans can communicate. Surprisingly many South Africans living in urban environments believe that it is easy to farm, in fact, they believe anyone can do it. Well, not quite…

Weekblad Landbou - Plaastoe

Met al die hedendaagse kwellings en ekonomiese beperkings waaronder talle boerderye gebuk gaan, kyk boere ál meer na maniere om bykomende inkomste te lewer. Landboutoerisme is een opsie en dit floreer in die Oos-Kaap.

The Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Handbook

Since 2000 some of the most extensively researched topics within tourism studies have been tourism and local economic development (Hall, Campos, 2014).  Although the economic benefits of Agritourism development has been identified as a topic in need of greater research attention (Jeczmyk, 2014), Agritourism is viewed as a catalyst for revitalizing troubled rural agrarian economies and local employment creation for small town revival.

Agritourism plays a vital role in educating adults and children.  The Association of Agritourism seeks to promote authentic farm tourism experiences with education as one of its pillars.

Weekblad Landbou

Farmers Weekly

Two-thirds of all South Africans now live in urban areas. For obvious reasons, this is not ideal. During the holidays, I read a very interesting book, The Encyclopaedia of South Africa, compiled by Eric Rosenthal, 1965 edition, which provided the population statistics of those living in rural towns. What amazed me is that despite the population increase over the fifty-two-year period since, most of these rural towns showed significant decreases in people living in these areas.

Farmers Weekly

What can those of us who offer Agritourism services/products learn from other Responsible Tourism Operators?

Well, actually, a lot, particularly from Wilfred Chivell, owner and founder of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust. There ‘farm’ might be in the sea, but their approach to tourism is what every Agritourism supplier should aim to emulate.

Famers Weekly

We decided to do some research on Social Media (Facebook and Twitter) as to what South Africans thought of Agritourism. The questions were varied as some people asked what Agritourism is; some Agritourism farmers sent through their information to us to be included as a free listing on the www.agritourismsouthafrica.com website and some people were looking for employment in the Agritourism industry.

CREATING OPPORTUNITIES IN AGRITOURISM
Farmers Weekly

On a recent trip up the West Coast to meet Agritourism service providers, it seemed that most of their business is limited to the flower season. Many farmers are struggling financially and the environment is harsh. So Agritourism should be included in every farmers’ business plan.

Farmers Weekly

I have had many questions since my previous article on AASA.  Here are the answers to some of those questions. 

The Association's main objective is to make it as easy as possible for potential tourists (domestic and international) to access a database of rural tourism attractions and accommodation on South African farms and rural communities.  With the municipal funding of town tourism centres decreasing, it is becoming more difficult for tourists to find accurate information. Information on the Internet is often inaccurate or out of date.  It will be helpful for tourists to find all the information they need on Agritourism in one place – www.agritourismsouthafrica.com.

Farmer's Weekly

At the recent AGBIZ conference at the Lord Charles Hotel, it struck me that no conversations were held about Agritourism. This form of tourism can directly benefit not only the farmer, but also the rural communities where the farm is based. So why would there not be a conversation about utilising farmland resources more actively to benefit farm communities?

Income sources in Agritourism –  is it worth the effort?
Farmers Weekly

I would recommend that this business is treated as a separate SBU, to be able to access in the long term the investment, cost and income generated.

In most cases, an admission fee would be charged to allow access to an event, festival, tasting or interacting with animals.  An admission fee depends though on the product offering.

How to set up an Agritourism  Venture
Farmer's Weekly

With consumer interest growing rapidly in how their food is grown, farmers need to engage in communication and discussion on many fronts with customers and interest groups, many of whom could be potential tourists.  Often this is difficult as farmers have time constraints, and it is important that spouses and farm workers are involved in the Agritourism initiative on the farm.

Defining Agritourism
Farmer's Weekly

Agritourism is a niche/specialized tourism sector that appeals to visitors who are looking for an authentic farm tourism experience that is also educational.  The scope of activities is wide; from farm accommodation to harvest festivals to direct sales from farms, for example, a 'pick-your-own' farm experience.

In most cases Agritourism provides an additional source of income for farms that allows them to keep farming while offering tourism type activities particularly during the post harvest period. Agritourism also provides a direct marketing and communication approach that can be very effective in building brands or introducing new products.  The growth of wine routes and the world class wine tourism destinations is an example of how successful Agritourism can be to farmers.