All You Need to Know About Agritourism, Rural Tourism and Sustainable Tourism

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Agritourism or Agrotourism is defined as a vacation or holiday taken on a farm, vinyard or other working agricultural site.

In its purest form these types of breaks include the chance to help with farming and agricultural tasks during the visit.

Agritourism is often considered to be a new form of niche holiday or adaptation of the usual forms of tourism.

To me it is a confusing use of an old established practice of city dwellers going, as families, into the countryside to help with the harvest. In the UK tales of whole families leaving London in late summer to go hop-picking in Kent are legend. In many other parts of the world this form of working holiday is also a part of local history.

Today the term Agrotourism has been, in my opinion, hijacked by the world of tourism to include Boutique Hotels housed in former large farm houses and on former Country Manor Estates.

Don’t get the wrong idea I am all in favour of tourism in the countryside as it brings benefits to the rural community and allows tourists to experience first hand the traditional countryside activities. Surely it is more appropriate to call these activities Rural Tourism.

The other term I find confusing is Sustainable Tourism! I decided to turn to Wikipedia for some help and found the following statement.

“Sustainable tourism is an industry committed to making a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate income and employment for local people.The aim of sustainable tourism is to ensure that development is a positive experience for local people; tourism companies; and tourists themselves. But sustainable tourism is not the same as ‘ecotourism'”.

We are all becoming increasingly aware of the fact that we are responsible for the sustainability of our planet. We all like holidays and want to fly off to exotic locations primarily in search of the sun. However we often miss the obvious in our quest for self fulfillment.

In the Mediterranean lies the island of Menorca is just 47 kilometers from east to west and 17 kilometers north to south. The island may be small in size but it is hugh in its environmental standing having learned very early from the follies of its sister Balearic Islands of Mallorca and Ibiza.

The Menorca Biosphere Reserve was created in 1993 as a result of the Island status as a Natural Park. Sixteen years ago this was a bold step but one which has been instrumental in the Island managing its development as a major holiday destination without succumbing to the worst excesses of mass tourism. The Island is unique in that although small its varied landscape offers the diversity of habitats that virtually represents the whole of the Mediterranean region in miniature.

Over the years Menorca has built on this early foresight and now offer traditional beach based holidays away from concrete jungle resorts together with ´Turismo de Interior´ in beautifully renovated manor houses located in villages. These locations offer not only tranquility, but also provide genuine contact with the island’s customs and people. Visits to historical mansions gives you the opportunity to know about the rural Menorcan life in years past. Such locations will also provide the opportunity to sample food cooked with local produce fresh from the local Finca (farm)

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