What is agritourism?
Agritourism may seem like just another new-fangled tourism buzzword, like ‘staycation’, ‘soliday’ or ‘voluntourism’, but actually the idea goes back much further than that. Whenever you’ve stayed in a farmhouse B&B or made an escape to the country, you’ve been partaking in agritourism.
Essentially, the term ‘agritourism’ is self-explanatory – the component words ‘agricultural’ and ‘tourism’ speak for themselves, and in fact the concept is fairly broad reaching. Agritourism is for anyone looking to escape the tourist traps and the fast pace of the towns and cities and get back to nature to see how the locals live.
Agritourism could simply be a holiday on a farm, but ‘agritourists’ often have the option to take a more hands on approach by helping out with day to day tasks, be it picking fruit, grooming horses or feeding chickens.
There are usually plenty of leisure activities available in the area, if not on the property itself. These could include horse riding, walks through the countryside or wine tasting.
So why has agritourism become so popular? Firstly, there is a great sense of achievement to be had; you know that your stay has made a difference, even if it is simply by giving a boost to the income of farmers in a struggling industry.
Secondly there are the health benefits; getting some fresh air and exercise is undoubtedly better for you than spending a week in the city.
Then there is the fact that the countryside is so accessible for almost all of us. Even those in central London can be surrounded by nature in less than an hour. Even if you can’t afford to head off to the vineyards of Tuscany, you will usually be able to find a suitable alternative more or less on your doorstep.
What’s more, in recent years we have seen a growing trend for local, organic food, and consumers have become more interested in seeing firsthand exactly where their food is coming from and appreciating the lifestyles of those who work to produce it. As well as being an educative experience, there is a certain pleasure to be had from knowing that many of the ingredients in your delicious breakfast started life in the kitchen garden just outside, or in taking home a jar of homemade jam as a tasty souvenir.
And don’t forget the satisfaction that comes from having an experience that is uniquely yours, and boasting about it when you get home!