Tourism in the rural areas is one of the new opportunities that are being created for those dwelling there. They have the resources, the manpower, the basic skill &expertise in terms of hospitality and a down-to-earth approach that is in sharp contrast with the five star culture of tourism in city areas. The rural residents have a scope and potential to present a very pleasant and exciting change from traditional tourism which tourist are finding jaded and therefore have begun exploring new vistas of adventure and experience.
Rural tourism, of which, agri-tourism is also a part, can attract tourist to rural communities for a form of relaxation that follows the growing trend of tourism that is both educational and relaxing. It is another option for farmers wanting to diversify their farming operations that will bring more economic activity to rural areas. It cannot be doubted that rural areas have undergone substantial transformation in the past few decades and that they are receiving influences of urban activities which have transformed them in spaces that are not restricted to agriculture production.
Tourism in rural areas can be considered a promising alternative for increasing employment and income levels for rural residents, provided not only by the sector itself, but by other closely related activities such a commerce and services. As a matter of fact, the whole rural community ends up as a beneficiary of the improvements brought about by tourism implementation, which can be expressed as a better provision of infrastructure and public services.
Associated with these are a range of experience that the tourist enjoy because they are imbued with the rural character of the place. The above figure shows that within the rural tourism sphere, agri or farm tourism is a clearly defined subset of tourism experiences. The landscape and culture created by agriculture is at the core of tourist interest. Human habitation and tamed nature are the essences. These tourists are the easiest to identify and hence to develop marketing strategy for, because their choice of experience is firmly grounded in farm based experiences.
Within the enveloping sphere more general characterization applies. Rural tourism is any tourist activity that takes place in the countryside. The landscape, culture and activities available are the essence. The general nature of this definition is not terribly useful from a marketing point of view, so additional classification criteria need to be brought to bear if segmentation of the market is to be achieved. This provides a logical framework within which to think about marketing, planning and management of rural tourism.
The overlapping ellipses indicate that other forms of tourism can be a part of the whole experience package whilst in rural areas. However, if they are the principal motivation of the visit, the tourist should not be classified as a rural tourist. In these cases, the geographical context has little relevance to the tourist’s experience seeking behavior. For example, it is quite possible for gastronomic or adventure tourism to take place in a rural landscape, but the principal motivation of the tourist will actually determine if they are rural tourists.
Calling a visitor a rural tourist simply on the basis of their geographical location is as absurd as describing visitors to cities, city tourist. What defines rural tourism is inherently the intent of the tourist in seeking out a rural experience. For these tourists it is the rural character of the places that is the attraction, and it is these characteristics that help us to define rural tourism experiences, not just experiences in rural places. Agri-Tourism Of all the characterizations of tourism in rural areas, agri-tourism is perhaps the easiest to define.
Many of the functionaries in rural tourism already agree about what agri tourism is and the consensus appears to be grounded in on farm experiences. This includes farm stay, farm host and farm holiday experiences. As an eco-tourism product, agri-tourism is on-farm experiences where the tourist participates in the daily activities on farm and experiences the realities of rural living . the tourist’s desire is to share farm life and to learn from the host, ad in this sense I an experimental learning and self discovery experience. The farms are viable, working business that derive nearly all of their income rom agricultural production. Agri tourism has the greatest potential to act as the repository of regional cultural authenticity founded on the farming life of the host community. Its very nature requires that the agriculture production of the district is retained. It allows for the progressive development of agriculture in a region to reflect changing market demands. Tourism remains coincidental to a regional identify grounded in farming activity. Countryside Tourism Countryside tourism is any tourist activity that takes place in the countryside. The landscape, culture and activities available are the essence.
Countryside tourism is broad enough to include non-farm based offerings such as bed and breakfast, local museums, cafes and restaurants, arts and crafts, rural tours and various types of farm stay where the degree of dependence on tourism and hence the extent to which the product is pitched for tourists, goes beyond the coincidental involvement described with rural theme park, it is conceptually located between agri tourism and touri-agriculture because the experience are a mix of authentic and staged experience founded in the rural character of the place.
It does not necessarily include agri tourism and touri- tourism because, in these two cases, tourist can be site specific enough not to be involved in other countryside experiences. Countryside tourism includes touring rural areas and visiting country towns and villages, seeking out the experiences and products they have on offer. Touri-agriculture In an effort to clearly define the range of product offerings in rural tourism, a new term is offered which more accurately reflects the true nature of providers at rural theme park end of the product experience spectrum.
Touri-agriculture is the farming of tourist, where the cropping activity on farm is of tourism. Like other agricultural activities, it is located geographically in farming areas, and is hence geographically authentic. The term is generated by stating the primary purpose of the business first, hence touri-agriculture. It distinguishes rural farm based business which is entirely or substantially dependent on income from traditional farms, as these business do not farm the land in the traditional agricultural sense.
It is distinct from agri tourism in that the farmer seeks to appeal to the tourist perception and romanticised ideal of rural life, and to exploit this by staging an experience that reflects the tourist expectation. In agri-tourism the primary activity on-farm is traditional agriculture pursuits and the tourism activity is coincidental. In touri-agriculture there is often a complete absence of traditional farming activity, although the properties have usually been productive farms in the past. So this classification of rural tourism has three defining categories, agri-tourism, countryside tourism and touri-agriculture.
The agri-tourism and touri-agriculture experiences ground rural tourism as on farm tourist activity, and as such, reflects the core appeal of tourism in rural areas. These term adequately address the differences in authenticity of on-farm experience and hence offer a better way of segmenting the market. Between the two on farm experience lie all the other experiences available to tourists in countryside, but this term allows a clear distinction between other types of tourist motivation to be conceptualized, and hence contribute to market differentiation.