example, festivals that celebrate the crop of the land, fruit of the
vine, and the bounty of the sea, abound in every small town. From
artichokes, rhubarbs, mushrooms and garlic to vintage wine, artisan
cheese, and seafood – these all encompass agritourism.
Now, agritourism has blossomed into
something more to include commercial enterprise activities such as
wine-tastings at vineyards, cattle drives on the range, milking cows
at dairies, gathering farm-fresh eggs on family farms, horseback riding
at dude ranches, llama-trekking on wilderness preserves, or even touring
the likes of shrimp farms or organic food operations.
Other forms of agritourism are pumpkin
patches, haunted houses, hay and sleigh rides, Christmas tree farms,
farm-animal petting zoos, U-pick operations, and farmer’s markets,
to name a few. And let’s not forget simple pleasures like camping,
picnicking, wildlife watching, garden tours, or even mastering one’s
way through horticulture mazes of corn, hedges, and shrubs. Accommodations
can range from bed & breakfast operations that offer locally grown
food as part of their offered “board” to accommodations
such as farms, ranches, youth exchanges and elder hostels.
Already a growth industry in Australia,
New Zealand, Canada, Great Britain, Italy and other parts of Europe,
a TIME Europe Magazine article dated August 16, 2004, says, “Vacationers
are increasingly turning to the pastoral pleasures of rural holidays
– and Europe’s farmers are reaping the benefits.”
The United States is starting to see definable growth in this area
For additional information on
agritourism, check out the following sites:
Karin Leperi is the Agritourism
Consultant to The International
Ecotourism Society (TIES).
Following Fact Sheet is courtesy of The International Ecotourism Society
undertaken for pleasure”
• Major global industry: If
tourism were a country, it would have the 2nd largest economy, surpassed
only by U.S.
• 2004: Globally, contributed an estimated $5.49 trillion
of economic activity
Accounts for 215 million jobs - 8.1% of total world employment
• In 4 out of 5 countries (over 150) tourism is one of five
top export earners;
In 60 countries it is the number one export.
• 1950 – 25 million
global tourist arrivals
• 2004 – 760 million global tourism arrivals
• 1990s – growing globally at 7%/year
• 2004 – grew globally 10% over 2003
Importance to developing countries:
• Tourism is a principle “export”
(foreign exchange earner) for 83% of developing countries, and the
leading export for 1/3 of poorest countries.
• For world’s 40 poorest countries, tourism is 2nd most
important source of foreign exchange, after oil
• Over last decade, tourism has been “the only large
sector of international trade in services where poor countries have
consistently posted a surplus.”
travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves
the welfare of local people” (TIES, 1990)
Since surveys rarely ask either travelers
or businesses specifically about ecotourism, precise statistics are
difficult to determine. Ecotourism is frequently lumped ecotourism
together with nature tourism and other forms of ‘experiential’
or ‘alternative’ tourism. These figures represent TIES
best effort to put together an accurate assessment of the strength
of ecotourism, particularly since 2000.
• Beginning in 1990s, growing
20% - 34%/year
• 2004: Ecotourism/nature tourism growing 3 times faster than
tourism industry as a whole.
• In the U.S., ecotourism is estimated to be a $77 Billion
market. This represents 5% of the overall US travel and tourism
• About 13% of the 18.6 million U.S. outbound leisure travelers
(approximately 2.4 million Americans) can be regarded as ecotourists.
Consumer Demand: Strong, growing but
• In the US, over 75% of tourists
feel their visits should not damage the environment, and 38% are
willing to pay more; 55.1 million US travelers are classified as
“geo-tourists” or interested in nature, culture, and
• Over half (62%) of U.S. travelers surveyed in 2003 say that
it is important that they learn about other cultures when they travel,
and 52% seek destinations with a wide variety of cultural and arts
• Nearly half (49%) prefer trips with small-scale accommodations,
which are run by local people.
• 16% of US adult population cares a lot about the environmental
impacts of travel.
• 37% of the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability market
(LOHAS) say that the environmental impacts of travel matters a lot
• 66% of the US adult population is interested in environmentally
• 75% of LOHAS are interested in environmentally responsible
• 9% of US adults are dissatisfied with the environmental
impact of the travel services they use (this is consistent with
other measures of dissatisfaction)
• More than two-thirds of U.S. and Australian travelers, and
90% of British tourists, consider active protection of the environment,
including support of local communities, to be part of a hotel’s
• In Europe:
o 20%-30% of travelers aware of needs & values of sustainable
o 10%-20% look for ‘green’ options
o 5%-10% demand ‘green’ holidays
Seeking out—and paying for—responsible
• In Germany, 65% (39 million)
of travelers expect environmental quality; 42% (25 million) “think
that it is particularly important to find environmentally-friendly
• According to a 2002 survey, these travelers are more likely
to patronize hotels with a “responsible environmental attitude.”
• However, only 14% of U.S. travelers, and 26% of Australians,
actually ask hotels if they have an environmental policy. Not a
single British traveler surveyed spoke to the hotel about their
• Nearly half of those questioned in one survey aid they would
be more likely to go with a ‘company that had a written code
to guarantee good working conditions, protect the environment and
support local charities in the tourist destination… [E]thical
tourism will rightly be a big issue in the new millennium.”
• A survey of U.S., British, and Australian travelers revealed
that 70% would pay up to $150 more for a two-week stay in a hotel
with a “responsible environmental attitude.
• In U.K., 87% say their holiday should not damage the environment;
39% said they were prepared to pay 5% extra for ethical guarantees.
Ecotourism vs Mass Tourism:
• In Costa Rica, tourism (most
of which is ecotourism) generates $1000/visitor while in France,
standard tourism generates only $400/visitor.
• In Dominica, in the Caribbean, “stay over” tourists
using small, nature-based lodges spent 18 times more than cruise
passengers spend while visiting the island.
• 80% of money for all-inclusive package tours goes to airlines,
hotels, and other international companies. Eco-lodges hire and purchase
locally, and therefore put a higher – sometimes as much as
95% of money into the local economy.
• Sun-and-sand resort tourism has now “matured as a
market” and its growth is projected to remain flat. In contrast,
“experiential” tourism--which encompasses ecotourism,
nature, heritage, cultural, and soft adventure tourism, as well
as sub-sectors such as rural and community tourism—is among
the sectors expected to grow most quickly over the next two decades.
In the U.S. the primary target market
• 35-54 years of age
• 82% have a college education or higher
• Willing to pay on average $1000 - $1500 per trip, more than
mass tourists generally spend
• Top 3 elements of the trip include (1) wilderness setting,
(2) wildlife viewing,
(3) hiking and trekking.
In Europe the primary target market
• Experienced travelers
• Higher education
• Higher income bracket
• Age: middle to elderly
• Opinion leaders