Farm tourism, agro-tourism are different names for one type of activity that is directly related to agriculture and began to develop in the 1960s. in France (in the 1980s he experienced a real boom; now there are about 1 million agrotourists who go to farms). Farm tourism and agro-tourism are included in such a broader concept as rural tourism. According to S. Medlik’s dictionary, “rural tourism is a type of tourism for recreation concentrated on rural territories”. Agritourism is also tourism for recreation, but involves active use of the farm and is implemented in 2 forms – in the form of rental of premises with the services of tourists within the farm or accommodation with self-service in the territory, which is the property of the farm.
Agro-tourism is gaining more and more solid positions in Russia, although it is not yet necessary to say that it is the main source of income for the farmer. The effect is that farms in rural areas have been collective for a long time, therefore the base for such activities is still rather weak. Nevertheless, agrotourism has good prospects and gradually spreads wider; in particular, we can name the regions in which it is actively developing, for example, the Leningrad, Penza, Tver, Moscow regions, Buryatia, the Republic of Mari El, the Krasnodar Territory, Karelia, and others.
Agrotourism faces a number of tasks, and above all – attracting tourists during not only the summer period, but also at other times of the year, which will ensure the permanent employment of the rural population, the development of small business in the countryside and the stimulation of the business activity of rural residents. To this can be added the maintenance of local attractions in proper condition (after all, local budgets will be replenished), raising the cultural level of the population, supporting local folk crafts, preserving traditions, nature monuments, etc. Here agro-tourism has something in common with ecological (or green) tourism.
Tourists usually prefer summer time and purchase tours for 5-10 days (but so-called weekend tours may also be offered). However, popularity and winter agritourism, which has its advantages, is gradually increasing; for example, participation in the winter holidays, walking on snowmobiles, skiing and sledding and other things can only be offered at this time of year.
Agritourism involves the creation of such living conditions for tourists, which would be as close as possible to real rural life (tourists must be placed in rural areas or small towns that do not have industrial and multi-storey buildings). This is a traditional rural house with all its simple furniture, kitchen utensils, and sometimes even clothes. Tourists can stay at a farmer’s house or have a specially equipped room for them. If in the hotel business there are strict regulations and certain standards that the hotel must meet, then there is no such thing in agritourism, therefore the farmer and his family members (if farming is a family business, however, this happens most often) suits everyone according to their tastes and financial means. But agritourism is not an ordinary house rental in the village for the summer. The farmer undertakes to provide tourists with accommodation, food and entertainment, including excursions, folk holidays, acquaintance with local attractions, hiking in the forest for mushrooms and berries, hunting, fishing, recreational activities (bathhouse, herbal medicine, etc.), walking and horseback riding.
As for food, it is dominated by the usual dishes of rustic cuisine (borscht, cereal, etc.); In addition, tourists are given the opportunity to independently prepare food from the products that they themselves will produce, milking a cow, going for eggs to a chicken coop or for vegetables in the garden. At the same time, life on the farm goes on as usual: cattle graze, bees collect nectar, chickens carry eggs, etc. A tourist plunges into this daily routine, can work on a tractor, mow grass, weave a basket …
In Europe, this is especially appreciated, so parents often arrange farm holidays so that their children know how to produce cottage cheese, cheese, butter, how to grow potatoes and collect fruits. For example, in Spain, agrotourists collect olives, in Italy they help in the cultivation of citrus fruits, in France they master cheese and winemaking, and, not least, they pay for it! (Agritourism brings Italy $ 350 million a year).
For the most part of Russian citizens, agritourism is a kind of exotic (although, if you remember our summer seasons …), in pursuit of which, however, you do not need to issue visas and international passports. For some, this is an opportunity to remember their childhood, to relax in the quietness of a village house from problems; for others, to feel the ancient spirit of a hunter and fisherman, a shepherd and a gatherer. In any case, agritourism is a full-fledged, healthy holiday for tourists; strengthening the financial position for a farmer who does not change his production profile and continues to grow grain or feed cattle.
What is the contingent of agrotourists? There is a category of city dwellers who have no connections with the village, preferring to rest in Turkey or Egypt. But will it not happen that their children grow up in the belief that the rolls grow on the trees? These people, in addition to foreigners, can be involved in the sphere of agro-tourism; Moreover, in our country there are many decent places, such as Baikal, Altai Krai, etc.
Thus, on the one hand, thanks to agrotourism, urban residents can get an idea of life in the countryside, on the other – agritourism for the farmer is an additional source of income. It is estimated that for the season the farmer is able to receive from 1 bed the same profit, which gives 1 cow. If we consider agrotourism from a state point of view, then this is a way to improve the well-being of rural residents, provide young people with work, support the village in general, develop small business and infrastructure, including roads, transport links, communications, etc.
If the farmer decides to engage in agro-tourism, he will have to formalize this activity legally, that is, register, obtain a license, ensure compliance with fire, sanitary, environmental standards, and labor protection. If necessary, restructuring, refurbishment or construction of premises for tourists will require coordination with the local administration. The farmer needs to be prepared for the fact that all this can be a serious obstacle to the implementation of such activities.
But the absence of large expenses and, albeit not too large, but a stable income (there is evidence that in European countries profits from agro-tourism make up from 10 to 20% of the total income of the tourism industry, that 35% of the European population prefer this type of holiday) that will help develop this very promising business, especially since this niche is still free.
What can a farmer do in agritourism? The range of possible activities is quite wide, but, of course, will require investments. For example, a farmer is able to equip a sports ground on his plot (minigolf is now very popular); develop routes for hiking, horseback, bicycle or boat trips; organize games (paintball is only one of them); provide a cultural and ethnic program; to conduct excursions as part of its own agricultural production and crafts, so that tourists can see how animals are raised, wicker furniture, wooden utensils are made, feather scarves are knitted, etc .; Both domestic and foreign tourists will be interested to get acquainted with the national traditions, holidays, culture.
We give only one example of the possible organization of agritourism, for example, on a farm specializing in growing ostriches. The program of stay of tourists includes a mandatory visit to an ostrich farm; Usually the host himself conducts the tour, who talks about the maintenance and breeding of these exotic birds, sometimes allows them to feed, and the carrots will have to be cut on their own. A walk around the farm, inspection of bird enclosures ends with an invitation to dinner, the menu of which includes dishes from ostrich meat and eggs.
As a rule, farmers are not limited to breeding ostriches and contain other animals, ranging from donkeys on which you can ride, and ending with ordinary cows, which extreme lovers can milk.
Thus, tourists are offered to communicate with animals, natural food – and all this against the backdrop of rural color. But that’s not all. Souvenirs, photographs, various farm products are another item of income.
The success of the enterprise to a large extent depends on the state of both the farm itself and directly from the estate where tourists are supposed to be placed. Since the development of the territory is associated with costs, agrotourism appears to be the next stage after the organization of the farm itself, which makes it possible to invest the profit profitably. Therefore, allow yourself some tips.
- The manor should have an attractive appearance, which includes small architectural forms, such as sheds, pergolas, arbors, beautifully designed fencing, which organizes the territory and helps to make the overall impression of the manor positive.
- Of course, the overall layout is determined by the size of the estate, the principles of the overall architecture prevailing in the area, the nature of the farmstead. But the manor itself should not be a jumble of various buildings, it must be zoned to the economic territory and recreational zone. If the first must house rooms for livestock and poultry, aviaries, forages, etc., then the second is a place for sports and children’s (pay attention to the fact that it should be viewed from home) playgrounds, recreation areas. Both territories should have separate approaches and entrances, be equipped with paths. The presence of green space is necessary, because it not only improves the territory, but also creates a mood.
- The house should also be designed accordingly and have separate rooms for rest, cooking and eating, entertainment, etc. The design of the premises can be made in different styles, but the country seems to be the most appropriate when it is necessary to use objects of folk art in the interior. (embroidered towels, homespun tracks, etc.). But all this does not exclude modern items that create comfort.
- The latter concerns the lighting of the territory, the entrance to the house, which directly constitutes the degree of their safety. The possibilities offered by modern landscape design are considerable.