Waking up to birds singing and the smell of wet earth. Hiking trails that culminate in a waterfall bath. Watching the production of wines, cheeses, and jams. Going down the streams of a river or crossing the treetops. These are some of Rural Tourism or Agritourism’s many possibilities, a segment on the rise and a tourism trend for the coming years.
What is Agritourism
The UWTO defines Rural Tourism as “a type of tourism activity in which the visitor’s experience is related to a wide range of products generally linked to nature-based activities, agriculture, rural lifestyle/culture, angling and sightseeing.”
For this reason, Rural tourism or Agritourism is very comprehensive, encompassing activities that range from the offer of accommodation in farm hotels (rural hotels) to walks on nature trails, or even the participation in milking and fruit harvesting.
Examples of Agritourism Activities
- Lodging in rural areas (farm hotels, inns, campsites, etc.);
- Traditional breakfast and typical meals with fresh products;
- Tasting sessions with products made on the property and surroundings;
- Workshops on homemade cheese, jelly, etc.
- Harvesting fruits and other foods;
- Visits to vegetable gardens, orchards and vineyards;
- Picnic in the field with products from the region;
- Horse riding, wagon, etc.;
- Food and animal care;
- Milking and other livestock activities;
- Trails and nature walks;
- Rafting, tree climbing and other adventure sports practices;
- Museum with historical items from the property and region;
- Pedagogical activities for school groups, etc.;
- Professional workshops on agricultural techniques (agroforestry, permaculture, organic cultivation, etc.);
- Dining experiences with the concept “farm to table”;
- Gastronomic events in the countryside;
- Arts and Cultural Festivals, etc.
The list doesn’t stop there. It depends on the creativity and the physical structure of the place. What they all have in common is to experience the rural environment responsibly and sustainably.
Who is the Agritourism for
The menu of Agritourism activities is abundant and varied. Regardless of the traveller’s profile, there is no lack of leisure options.
For families with children, farm hotels combine the comfort of accommodation with recreational activities. In the same place, it is possible to go horse riding, milk cows, visit vegetable gardens, etc.
For those who want to slow down, the best choice is for relaxing and contemplative activities. A walk with a low degree of difficulty, a bath in a waterfall or the river.
There are also options for those seeking a complete immersion in the culture of traditional peoples and local communities, usually in rural areas, as is the case with community-based tourism.
Suppose you are one of those people that food is always an extra motivation when choosing your tours and trips. In that case, rural tourism goes superbly with a culinary trip. You can do many activities, from visiting wineries, olive oil, cheese, fruit and other agricultural producers.
Read more: How to Plan a Culinary Trip.
But if you are looking for adrenaline, alone or accompanied. In that case, you have to include adventure sports and hiking in your itinerary. Among the possibilities: rafting, tree climbing, rappelling, motorcycle, or 4×4 trails.
Finally, there are still those searching for a better quality of life and see Rural Tourism as a test-drive to evaluate if they will adapt to this lifestyle.
Usually, when people travel to rural destinations, they look for relaxation and a greater connection with nature. The exciting thing is that after experiencing these activities, they tend to return to their urban routines with a new perspective on their daily lives and a greater environmental awareness.
For local entrepreneurs and producers, Rural Tourism diversifies the possibilities of employment and income for the community. Also, it contributes to the appreciation of the cultural and natural heritage of tourist destinations. More broadly, it favours the development of villages and, consequently, reduces the rural exodus.
How to plan and do Agritourism
If you already decided to experience Rural Tourism, you are wondering how to plan a rural trip? Here are some tips to help you!
First of all, it is essential to organize yourself with a minimum of advance because many rural properties require you to make some reservation or visit notice. Define what kind of activity you are interested in and how far you are willing to travel, including the necessary means of transportation.
Besides, it is necessary to be aware of some singularities of this segment:
- Some lodging facilities, such as campgrounds and farm stays, have a different dynamic than hotels. Find out about the working hours, services, and conditions of the place;
- Find out if there are other types of establishments nearby such as grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, and other services;
- Check if it is possible to explore hiking trails and waterfalls on your own;
- Bring appropriate clothes, shoes, and accessories for each activity;
- Carry a bag with you to put your trash in, especially on open-air trips;
From now on, it’s all about making the most of the possibilities and potentialities of Agritourism.