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Growing tourism from the ground up: Drivers of tourism development in agricultural regions

The transformation of farming in many developed economies – from a traditional family farm model to one based on large-scale, highly mechanised company-owned agricultural enterprises – has severely affected many small rural communities leading to significant reductions in farm work forces and loss of essential services (Marsden & Sonnino 2008; Renting et al. 2009; Kneafsey 2010). In circumstances of this nature, affected communities can either search for alternative economic sectors or face the prospect of further decline and in some cases abandonment. Tourism is one sector that has shown some potential to revitalise rural economies, provided the community is able to develop a suite of experiences that can be profitably marketed. However, this is not always the case; despite considerable injections of public funding, some agricultural communities have been unsuccessful in generating tourism demand. A growing body of research has focussed on this issue, and while broadly concluding that agricultural areas may be able to offer a range of experiences that may be attractive to tourists, they also suggest that tourism should not be seen as a panacea for the regeneration of declining regional communities (Sharpley & Telfer 2002; Giaoutzi & Nijkamp 2006; Hall & Page 2006; Sznajder, Przezbórska & Scrimgeour 2009; Torres & Momsen 2011). Much of the research that has been undertaken into the development of tourism in agricultural areas has focussed on agri-tourism, but ignored the broader issues associated with the steps required for agricultural regions to effect the transition from an agriculture-based economy to a mixed agriculture/tourism economy. This chapter aims to assist in addressing this gap by examining the role of drivers in the transformation process from an agricultural region that typically focusses on the production and sale of agricultural products to external markets to an agricultural region that also promotes the consumption of agricultural products within the region by tourists.



Hall CM; Gossling S

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Abingdon, UK

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