Tourism’s a worldwide multi-pronged business that creates millions of jobs for hotel and restaurant workers, airlines, railways, auto rental companies, auto repair shops, travel writing, travels advertising, printing, insurance, and many other peripheral suppliers.
by definition, a tourist is one who takes a tour traveling from place to place for pleasure or cultural curiosity, who stays overnight in an inn, hotel or motel.
WTO (World Tourism Organization) defines a tourist as one who travels from his/her home to another place, and stays for less than a year. This definition captures all kinds of travelers i.e businessmen, visiting friend and family, and many of the sub-groups of tourists like eco-tourists, gastronomic tourists, pilgrims, art tourists, archeology tourism, cruise tourism, sex-tourism, ski-tourism, medical tourism and agri-tourism just to name a few.
Researchers concluded that agri-tourism started in Tuscany (Italy). This province, a few hundred kilometers north of Rome, is famous for its scenery, cities full of architectural wonders, culture, cuisine and wines. Thousands of tourist flock to Tuscany to visit famous cities such as Florence, Pisa, and Siena, take cooking courses for local cuisines, taste wines, visit wineries to learn more about Tuscan wines.
A few castles cum wineries that offer cooking classes also had a few rooms and noticed an increased flow of tourists after each course. Then smart winery owners’ converted spare rooms on their properties, added tennis courts, and swimming pools. Thus, agri-tourism started and expanded from there.
Sustaining souls and artisan food producers alike, agri-tourism has now spread far and wide.
Italian value food, cherish the table of family and friends and lively conversation.
Italy has thousands of agri-tourism operations, most of which are located in Tuscany.
Tuscan wineries in Chianti, Montalcino and other regions invested in their infrastructure by building tennis courts, swimming pools, installing IT, satellite TV, demonstration kitchens, organizing food and theater festivals, and many other amenities.
Typically, tourists are families who like to spend their leisure time by learning something new or the cultural aspects of a region, or simply enjoying sports.
Many farms also offer possibilities, but wineries are by far the most successful in attracting tourists because of their cultural approach that involves cooking classes, learning about local wines, exploring food, farmers markets, and culture in general, by arranging transportation to folk dancing presentations, operas, or theaters.
Now, France has more or less 5000, England more than 7000, and the U S A fewer than 1000 agri-tourism establishments. It is surprising that the U S A has fewer agri-tourism establishments than Italy, France and England. It can be attributed to the scale of American farms, or the set up of their production facilities, and the way farmers think.
Other counties may have a few agri-tourism facilities, but generally don’t advertise.
These days the best agri-tourism markets are big city populations who crave country fresh food instead of buying “industrial” chickens, “factory-produced” eggs, literally manufactured meat, and week or older produce in mega-large grocery stores full of prepared foods, whose origins are questionable, and their contents mysterious.
Environmentally concerned families want to show their off springs where food originates, and how much effort it takes to produce it.
Naturally, truly fresh food that is expertise prepared tastes much better.
Agri-tourism represents untapped opportunities to farmers, wineries, and cattle ranches to increase income.
Many agri-tourism families also befriend their hosts and occasionally invite them to their cities; this helps to increase cultural understanding of different ethnic groups or nations.
Agritourism outside of Italy is in its infancy, and can be developed to a worldwide business if and when properly organized, presented and promoted.