How Agritourism Helps Sustainable Development?
Tourism is an industry that not only supports the socio-economic development of different parts of the world but also promotes international harmony. It provides an opportunity to explore new cultures and to broaden one’s perspective of the world. It also helps to preserve the cultural heritage and natural treasures of the tourist destinations and provides a means of livelihood to the locals. This is why the United Nations observes the World Tourism Day every year on the 27th of September, to promote tourism on a global scale and to highlight its social and economic significance. The theme of this year’s World Tourism Day is “Tourism for Sustainable Development.” So this World Tourism Day, let us look at some of the ways in which agritourism supports sustainable development, particularly in the case of rural India.
1. Agricultural Economic Growth
Agriculture has played a major role in the Indian economy since the pre-independence days. However, due to the rise of industrialization and the entry of imported goods in the market, the agricultural economy of the country has been declining over the recent years, causing much trauma to the farmers of the nation. Agritourism is one of the saviors of agriculture in the face of these hurdles, because it promotes the preservation of the agricultural lands of rural India and showcases them as wonderful tourist destinations. Furthermore, agritourism also encourages the travelers to purchase the fruits, vegetables, and other crops directly from the farmers, thereby maximizing their profits and providing them financial stability.
2. Social Inclusiveness, Employment & Poverty Reduction
The farming community of the country is often neglected by those living in the cities due to the lack of interaction between the two. Agritourism encourages the urban population to visit the farms of India so as to fully comprehend the labor that goes into growing the food that we consume. This experience develops respect in the hearts of the citizens for the laborious farmers of our country and this awareness nudges them to support the farmers in all manners possible. Travelers who buy locally produced goods help the rural economy to flourish. Also, conversion of rural areas into agritourism centers creates new job opportunities for the locals and provides them with other channels of revenue apart from farming.
3. Resource Efficiency & Environmental Protection
Most agritourism centers in the country promote the judicious use of natural resources, be it water or fuel. Eco-friendly practices such as compost generation from organic waste, recycling of paper and plastic materials, and rain water harvesting, are adopted by these farms. Therefore, they not only educate the tourists regarding environmental protection but also help to preserve the local ecosystem. It is these agritourism centers that prevent the degradation of agricultural lands and the surrounding forests by providing these places with the recognition that they deserve. Since these destinations offer employment to the locals while attracting tourists, they are protected from being demolished for industrial development or for the expansion of cities.
4. Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Diversity
Agritourism centers not only promote the preservation of the environment but also showcase the local customs and traditions and familiarize the tourists with the native culture of the region. This helps in the preservation of the rustic culture of rural India due to the promotion of the traditional handicrafts, dance, cuisine, literature, and music by the agritourism destinations. Village fairs and exhibitions, as well as cultural performances at these farmstays, allow the tourists to admire and appreciate the rich heritage of rural India. This leads to the protection of the cultural diversity that our country is known for and promotes the message of unity in diversity in our multi-faceted nation.
These are some of the ways in which agritourism centers across the country support sustainable development through agritourism. These destinations promote sustainable agriculture, provide employment to the locals, and protect their homes and culture from disappearing under the veil of urbanization.
So this World Tourism Day, visit an agritourism center with your friends or family members to do your bit for the rural ecosystems and to join the movement of sustainable development.