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Agro-Tourism A Tool of Rural Tourism: Innovative Strategy of Rural Market

Dr.G.P.Dinesh, Dean, Professor BITM-DMS, Bellary Anantha Nag.M.S, Assistant Professor of BITM-DMS, Bellary Abstract
The paper approaches a study of Agro-Tourism as a specialized form of rural tourism, in the context of rural market. Rural markets as a part of developing economy, have untapped potential. To fully explore such a potential it is necessary to develop the innovative products in the rural markets. Tourism in rural area is a very important factor, which can positively influence rural development. Tourism has great capacity to generate large scale employment and additional income sources to the skilled and unskilled men. Developing tourism in rural areas increases participation of the poor section of the society. This paper focuses on the rural urban relationship for the rural product, concept of Agro-Tourism and its applicability & its impact, various products and services of the agrotourism and at last the SWOT analysis which helps to understand the opportunities and challenges for the development of agro-tourism as a innovative product in the rural market.

Keyword: Agro-Tourism, Alternative Tourism, Innovative Product, Rural Tourism, Rural


Rural Markets are defined as those segments of overall market of any economy, which are distinct from the other types of markets like stock market, commodity markets or Labor economics. Rural markets, as part of any economy, have untapped potential. There are several difficulties confronting the effort to fully explore rural markets. The concept of rural markets in India, as also in several other countries, like China, is still in evolving shape, and the sector poses a variety of challenges, including understanding the dynamics of the rural markets and strategies to supply and satisfy the rural consumers. Tourism in rural areas is a very important factor, which can positively influence regional development."Tourism comprises the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes" (UNWTO Definition). Tourism is an important sector of the economy and contributes significantly in the countrys GDP as well as Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE). With its backward and forward linkages with other sectors of the economy, like transport, construction, handicrafts, manufacturing, horticulture, agriculture, etc., tourism has the potential

to not only be the economy driver, but also become an effective tool for poverty alleviation and ensuring growth with equity. Tourism has great capacity to generate large scale employment and additional income sources to the skilled and unskilled. The economic potential of tourism as a key driver of growth and development is based on the competitive advantages that the country has in its natural and cultural resources. India is a country of rich culture and heritage. With above 70% population residing in around 6 million plus villages, real India has its roots right inside this simplistic structure. Rural tourism consists of leisure activities carried out in rural areas and includes different types of tourism activities, such as community-based tourism, ecotourism, cultural tourism, adventure tourism, guest farms, backpacking, riding and AgroTourism. Developing tourism in rural areas increases participation of the poor and brings wider benefits, for instance, involving ownership and management.

This paper is based on the following main objectives. 1. To understand the Rural-Urban relationship between rural products. 2. To understand the concept of Agro-Tourism as a specialized form of rural tourism. 3. To identify the Agro-Tourism products and services in rural area and its impact on rural community. 4. To study marketing of Agro-Tourism product and services in urban market. 5. To undertake SWOT analysis of Agro-Tourism product in the context of rural market.

The scope of the study is limited to understand the concept and applicability of AgroTourism in rural markets. The study includes the benefits and problems as well as it includes appropriate framework for the development of Agro-Tourism product and its SWOT analysis. The present study on Agro-Tourism was based on Secondary data. The data collected from related articles, research papers, reports and 11th Plan Document of the Government of India. The data also collected from different websites related to the Tourism development.

Result and Discussion: Rural-Urban Relationship between Rural Products

Rural marketing is the process of developing, pricing, promoting, distributing rural specific goods and a service, leading to exchanges between urban and rural markets, which satisfies consumer demand and also achieves organizational objectives. It is a two way marketing process wherein the transactions can be,

Urban to Rural (U2R): A major part of rural marketing falls in this category. It

includes the transaction of urban marketers who sell their products and services in rural areas. Important items sold in rural areas and manufactured in urban areas include pesticides, fertilizers, seeds, FMCG products, tractors, bicycles, consumer durable etc. 2. Rural to Urban (R2U): Transactions in this category basically fall under agricultural marketing where a rural producer (usually a farmer) seeks to sell his produce in an urban market. An agent or middleman plays a crucial role in this marketing process.

Important items produced in rural areas and sold in urban markets include seeds, fruits and vegetables, milk and related products, forest produce like beeswax and honey, spices, cotton for textile mills etc. 3. Rural to Rural (R2R): This includes activities that take place between two villages in close proximity to each other. The transactions involve areas of expertise a particular village has. Items in this category include agricultural tools, handicrafts, bullock carts etc. According to the above classification of rural market, the rural tourism product falls under the category of Rural-Urban. Figure 1 illustrates that, in addition to the traditional route of farm products from rural areas to urban markets depicted by the arrow from left to right, another arrow emerges from right to left. This arrow exists because urban dwellers have begun to purchase farm products that often have the features of service goods such as rural tourism. Therefore, it is assume that there are two spatially segregated markets in rural and urban areas, and these are termed here urban markets and rural markets, respectively. This is because prices for traditional farm products are formed in urban markets, while prices for rural tourism are formed in rural markets. In other words, the difference is based on whether or not price formation is done at the point of production. This is why we should consider two spatially independent markets. Profiles of the two products, which we call rural tourism goods and ordinary farm products, are characterized and contrasted. The profiles show two different goods dealt in spatially different markets. It is presumed that these two markets are not substitutable, but are complementary to each other for farmers. When it is consider two possible markets, it is easier to extend perspectives towards Agro-Tourism as a specialized rural tourism.

Agro-Tourism as a Form of Rural Tourism

Tourism is synthesized from mass and alternative tourism. Mass tourism is characterized by large number of people seeking relevant to their culture holidays in popular resort destinations. Alternative tourism is sometimes referred to as special interest tourism or responsible tourism and usually taken to mean alternative forms of tourism. Alternative Tourism is a form of tourism that are consistent with natural, social and community values and which allow both hosts and guests to enjoy positive and worthwhile interaction and shared experiences (Eadington and Smith 1992). The Figure 2 shows the different forms of tourism, it is cleared from the figure 2 that Agro-Tourism is a specialized form of rural tourism. Rural tourism is essentially an activity which takes place in the countryside. It is multi-faceted and may entail farm/agricultural tourism, cultural tourism, nature tourism, adventure tourism, and eco-tourism. As against conventional tourism, rural tourism has certain typical characteristics like; it is an experience oriented, the locations are sparsely populated, it is predominantly in the natural environment, it meshes with seasonality and local events and is based on preservation of culture, heritage and traditions. Rural tourism has many potential benefits for rural areas (Frederick, 1992).

Concept of Agro-Tourism
In the last 25 years of the 20th century the term Agro-Tourism appeared in international literature. There exists a parallel word Agri-Tourism. The two terms have the same meaning. Both terms consists of two parts agri or agro and tourism. The prefix agri derives from the Latin term ager which means field while agro comes from the Greek term agros, which means soil, while tourism is a form of active recreation away from ones place of residence that is inspired by cognitive, recreational and sports need. The combination of prefix agri with noun tourism resulted in the formation of new word Agro-Tourism/ Agri-Tourism, that means human tourist activity whose aim is to familiarize oneself with farming activity and recreation in an agricultural environment. Virginia law defines Agro-Tourism as any activity carried out on a farm or ranch that allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy rural activities, including farming, wineries, ranching, historical, cultural, harvestyour-own activities, or natural activities and attractions. An activity is an Agro-Tourism activity whether or not the participant paid to participate in the activity (Code of Virginia). Agro-Tourism is a specific form of rural tourism with close relation to nature and country side of rural areas and direct relationship to agricultural activities. The differentiation between the Agro-Tourism and rural tourism is crucial. In the areas where farming production is divided and highly specialized and where it is possible to observe the close relations in the rural community, it is advisable to use the term rural tourism to Agro-Tourism. Agro-Tourism is a way of Responsible and Sustainable tourism development. This innovative activity helps to boost up the socio-economic condition of the rural area by providing employment and creating the markets for the rural products.

Agro-Tourism Products and Services in Rural Area

Farm Management specialist point out that in general each farm by its nature has free resources which are not used in the process of agricultural production such resources are free rooms, own food, free manpower resources, free space and environmental resources like landscape, clean air, water reservoir etc, when used they give farmers an additional income. These resources can be effectively used in the Agro-Tourism. While developing Agro-Tourism at the basic level consideration of the different features of agricultural enterprise and ways they can be used for Agro-Tourism is necessary. These can be classified as natural, physical, heritage or combination of the three. Natural assets are features that occur naturally. Physical assets are tangible features or materials. Many times these assets have multiple uses. Heritage assets have some type of historical, cultural, artistic or educational significance. It explains the features of Agro-tourism destination and the different activities (Product) to entertain and educate the visitors. Agro-Tourism provides the whole range of services and products. In principle they can be classified by three essential criteria: seasonal availability of Agro-Tourism services and products,

costs of products and services, Kinds of activities. Agro-Tourism products, services and imponderables have been divided into nine classes. Agri accommodation Agri catering business Real Agro-Tourism Agri retail business Ethnography Agri sport Agri therapy Agri -recreation, and Agri entertainment (agri-tainment).

Agri-Accommodation Services: Agri-accommodation services comprise various kinds

of accommodation in rural areas. Homestead accommodation; including farm-stays, countrystays, rural home-stays, and rural bed and breakfast seem to be the most common and the most tied with countryside and rurality. The above accommodation categories are quite specific for Agro-Tourism; however the differences between them are very slight. Bed and Breakfast in usual is an umbrella term for variety of hosted accommodation that includes a bed for the night and a breakfast in the morning. There are also some specific Agro-Tourism forms of accommodation, e.g. sleeping on the hay, camping barns or bunkhouses. However, such accommodation services cannot be offered in a mass scale. They are connected with some threats both for a farm (e.g. fire) and for visitors (e.g. low sanitary condition, possibility of skin diseases transfer). A cheap price of an Agro-Tourism farm service may be an advantage for a visitor. AgroTourism farms sometimes have to offer cheaper accommodation. On the other hand they cannot attract clients.


Agri-Catering Businesses (Gastronomy): Agri-catering is an integral part of AgroTourism. Tourist staying temporarily or periodically in a farm have to buy at least some meals. They can buy their meals in restaurants, make their own meals or buy catering services offered by agri- tourism farms or other rural tourism enterprises. There is a great variety of agri-catering services in Agro-Tourism. The variety is connected with source of food products, number and time of meals, places of serving meals, etc. Foods products may come from an Agro-Tourism farm, own production. Serving own food products farms can increase their income. One can divide meals in various ways and by three criteria; for example, by the time of serving meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, supper), by the place of served meals (in the dinning room or in the kitchen, outside home, in restaurants, etc.), or by feeding patterns (regional kitchen, national kitchen, every-day meals and holiday meals, etc.). The idea of Agro-Tourism lies in varieties that make the meals very special and different from the meals served by other Agro-Tourism farms. Each meal may be identified

as an individual variant of an Agro-Tourism product. The unlimited possibility of meals differentiation causes the farms can be different from each other.

3) Real Agro-Tourism (Proper Agro-Tourism): This is specific for agricultural

tourism (Agro-Tourism) only. The products and services assigned to it are available on farms exclusively. Products and services of real AgroTourism comprise of five groups namely: Observation of agricultural production process, including plant production, animal production and some processing, including guided or individual farm (ranch) tours that are widely offered in various countries, Real participation in the process of plant production, animal production and processing (e.g. help in cow milking, hay making, etc.), Animal demonstrations or shows, including cow milking, sheep shearing, angora rabbit shearing, stock selling or cowboys rodeo, On-farm signed walking trails; Direct contact with domestic animals or the nature of farms in different kinds of pettingzoo or safaris.

Rural and Agri-Retail Business (Direct Sales): Tourists watching or

participating in the production process are more willing to buy products that they observed or produced themselves. Direct sale is an important agri- - tourism service. The most often tourists buy vegetables, fruits, honey and various processed home made products. Therefore Agro-Tourism enterprises organise open-air markets or road stands or stalls advertised very 4) Real Agro-Tourism (Proper Agro-Tourism): This is specific for agricultural tourism (Agro-Tourism) only.The products and services assigned to it are available on farms exclusively. Products and services of real Agro- Tourism comprise of five groups namely: Observation of agricultural production process, including plant production, animal production and some processing, including guided or individual farm (ranch) tours that are widely offered in various countries, Real participation in the process of plant production, animal production and processing (e.g. help in cow milking, hay making, etc.), Animal demonstrations or shows, including cow milking, sheep shearing, angora rabbit shearing, stock selling or cowboys rodeo, On-farm signed walking trails; Direct contact with domestic animals or the nature of farms in different kinds of petting-zoo or safaris.

Ethnography: Local rural societies produce specific cultural products and goods that
are different from other societies. Therefore ethnographic products and services are usually offered by the whole rural societies than by individual farms. Ethnographic products offered by rural society may include: stay within rural society and deal with their lifes day-to-day problems,


stay with rural family and get involved in its life style, Rural heritage parks, museums of folk art, museums of agriculture, etc. specific family, rural or religious holidays, folk art, folk poetry and folk music, Regional, local language.

Agri-Sport And Active Tourism: Sport is an activity that does not seem
necessarily connected with Agro- Tourism. However, Agro-Tourism and rural tourism enterprises have usually suitable conditions for different tourism activities, especially when the sport discipline is connected with animals or requires a lot of space to practice it. Horse-back riding is a typical Agro-Tourism product. It may vary from one farm to another and it may comprise various activities connected with horses. In usual AgroTourism farms do not compete with other enterprises in the area. Agro-Tourism farms may also offer field sports, various conventional and extreme sports. Introduction of the term agri- sport seems to be very reasonable. This way they can generate additional income, however offering a high standard of playgrounds and sport fields require quiet high investments. An Agro-Tourism farm can also offer some equipment to practice sport, e.g. bicycles, especially if there are cycling paths around it.


Agri-Therapy (Health Related Products And Services): Agro-Tourism can

be connected with health services or health-related products. Tourists coming to the countryside may expect possibility of a specific therapy, e.g. special diet therapy, including consumption of healthy products.


Agri-Recreation: Agri-recreation is another branch of Agro-Tourism. It is considered

to be the point of Agro-Tourism, The idea of agri-recreation boils down to spending free time away from home, on a farm or in rural accommodation. The products and services of agri-recreation are classified according to the length and season of stay in the following way: Holiday on a farm offered by vacation farms, Short weekend holiday (1-3 days) or longer holiday (e.g. during long weekends), Staying at Christmas, Easter or New Year. Vacation farm is an agri-tourist farm receiving holidaymakers for a holiday lasting from one to four weeks.


Agri-Entertainment (Agri-Tainment): This covers big range of activities

directly tied to farms and rural areas. This covers agri sports, games, folk songs and folk dance etc. Agri-Tainment provides the visitors a quick view of rural culture through festivals, songs, dance and much more. Every rural area has a specific culture. The idea behind the agritainment is to explore and preserve this culture. This activity provides the opportunity to the urbanities to get participate and recall the traditional culture of the nation. Here farmers and the rural artist can generate the additional income.

Impact of Agro-Tourism on Rural Area

Agro-Tourism is very important for the communities both urban and rural. It can have several positive impacts on rural community.

1) Positive Social impact:

A. Gaining new skills, experiences and professions, learning foreign languages, gaining entrepreneurial skills, actualization of the rural community, formation of new capacities in tourist services, broadening ones knowledge or leaning more about ones local area, its history and attractions, encouragement of social initiatives or new opportunities for rural women. B. Meeting new people, a possibility to make new contacts and social ties, exchange of experiences or attitudes, on the part of farmers and their guests, increased tolerance in relation to different attitudes, behavior or opinions, broadening of knowledge on the world and other people on the part of farm owners, encouragement to develop hobbies and interests. C. A possibility to revive rural traditions, promoting respect and revival of folk traditions and culture, the development of culture in rural areas, fuller utilization and revival of certain objects in villages (community centers, sports facilities, etc.) D. Educational functions of agro-tourism are connected with learning about the real world (nature, cultural heritage), which modifies specific attitudes in relation to different aspects of reality (the host and guest, a group of tourists, family); agro-tourism is also a medium to express ones feeling (learning about and respect for farmers and farm produce); agro-tourism offers an opportunity for tourists to be creative (participation in farm work, learning a folk craft, etc.), contributes to good health (climatic conditions, food, exercise).

2) Positive Economic impact:

A. Extension of accommodation facilities, maintenance of existing production, extension of assortment and improved quality of offered services facilitate direct sales of certain farm produce; contribute to the formation and development of additional markets for foodstuffs and different types of local services, such as crafts, handicraft products, and artistic metalwork. B. Creation of employment and reduction of unemployment rates, including latent unemployment, which results in inhabitants of villages being needed, socially accepted, encourages them to develop qualifications (the psychological aspect) and facilitates the utilization of the human resources potential. C. Obtaining additional sources of income for farmers (increased revenue for farmers, and thus income, may be allocated to investment outlays, e.g. construction or renovation works), which results in reduced dependence on farming, diversification of local economy, which in this way becomes less vulnerable to market fluctuations. D. Obtaining additional income for business, communes, and local governments of a given town, associations of communes or the region. E. Overcoming economic recession, additionally tourism is a revival factor in rural areas and the revitalization of the rural community by offering possibilities of social and economic advancement F. Promotion of the socio-economic development of underprivileged areas, diversification of economic activity in rural areas, creating conditions and opportunities for the development of other types of activity in rural areas.

3) Positive Spatial and Environment impact

Tourism establishments that adopt good environmental practices inevitably contribute to the quality of their surroundings, improving the experience for guests and the living standards of local communities. Since agrotourism in the process of development uses elements of the natural environment, transforming them, spatial and environmental functions include the consequences of the development of agro-tourism for the natural and anthropogenic environments. A. Enhanced care for the environment, nature protection, creating a friendlier environment for guests and visitors. B. The development of local infrastructure (water supply, sewage systems, sewage treatment plants, roads, public transport, recreation facilities), which makes life in the country easier and improves the standard of living for rural populations. C. Improved aesthetic value of houses and areas in their vicinity, care for the aesthetic value of village, houses, streets and other public spaces aesthetic enhancement of villages. D. The utilization of old, frequently derelict buildings (rarely used rooms, attics, whole uninhabited buildings, parts of households, farm buildings, windmills, restaurants, shops, castles, palaces, manor houses, etc.), which may contribute to the preservation of the rural cultural heritage. E. Countering mass migration from rural areas (mainly of young and educated people) and the depopulation of rural areas.

Marketing of agro-tourism product in urban market

Marketing is very important to the success of agro-tourism enterprises but is often neglected in the planning stages of new ventures. Before capital is spent to develop a new enterprise, it is vital to determine if adequate demand exists for the products or services. If indeed demand exists, then strategies need to be developed to meet this demand. While market planning does not guarantee success, the potential for success is greatly enhanced. Marketing is often thought of as simply product advertising or sales pitches; however, marketing includes much more. Marketing is planning and executing a set of objectives to bring buyers and sellers together so that a sale can take place. It requires thorough planning and execution. In case of agro-tourism, marketing has four main goals: 1. Identify a target audience and their needs. 2. Attract the target audience to the enterprise. 3. Meet the needs of the target audience and entice them to spend their money at the enterprise. 4. Create a desire in the audience to return again and again to the enterprise. Marketing requires focusing on customer values in order to develop and market a product or service to meet unfulfilled needs of consumers. Thus, it is important to understand the concept of consumer values. When making purchase decisions, consumers generally consider four factors, often referred to as the Customers 4 Cs 1) Customer Benefit: What benefit will customers receive from the product or service? 2) Customer Cost: What cost will the customer incur to acquire the product or service? 3) Convenience: How convenient is the process of acquiring the product or service?

4) Communication: How do customers learn about products, services and how to acquire them? Agro-tourism entrepreneurs should keep these factors in mind when developing products and services as well as when developing their marketing plan. Marketing an Agro-Tourism product is different from marketing other products. Agrotourism, like any tourism, requires a special type of marketing called service marketing, which has four main characteristics. 1) A service product, such as tourism, cannot be seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted before it is purchased. Customers can evaluate non-service products before purchasing them by using the five senses. The only way for a customer to know if they like a tourism product is to experience it. Once the tourism experience has ended, the customer can judge the experience and form an opinion about the tourism product and service. 2) A service product cannot be separated from the customer. The customer is a part of the product in tourism. Customers influence the experiences of other customers. It is important to have a plan that minimizes the negative effects that customers can have on agro-tourism business, while also respecting the rights of all visitors. 3) Service products face the constant challenge of remaining consistent. In service-oriented organizations, it is important to work toward keeping services as consistent as possible. It is necessary, guests that visit your agro-tourism site today, to have the same quality experience when they return next time 4) Finally, a service product like tourism is a perishable product. Services take place over time, so they also expire with time, never to be regained. It is very important to realize that agro-tourism service is perishable, so it must be used, or it will expire, which is a lost opportunity to make a sale. Seven Ps Of Marketing The following marketing terms are important because their application to tourism is different from common product marketing practices. Since tourism is an experience-based product, success in tourism will be dependent, in part, on comprehension of marketing terms and the different ways that the terms apply to agrotourism. This section begins with an explanation of product, place, promotion, and pricing as traditional marketing considerations. 1) Product: Agro-tourism is a service product, which consists of: A range of goods and services must specifically define the product. Quality and warranty To achieve good quality, product must be free from defects Policies should seek to correct any quality failures.

After-sales service This means that maintain the product after the sale. For tourism, a positive practice involves gathering feedback from customers on the quality of their experience and asking them to suggest improvements to make business better. 2) Place This is location or the location of many potential customers, also called a target market. Relative locations How far are the customers from business? Coverage Other places identified as target markets. Sense of place This is the overall image of a regional area. It is important to preserve the sense of place when integrating business into the community. Business conflicts with sense of place are more of a concern for mainstream tourism, but should not be disregarded in any tourism operation. 3) Promotion People have to know about business to become customers. Promotion involves: Personal selling Persuading people to buy product in a small interactive group. Sales promotion Using coupons, contests, and other incentives to attract customers. Publicity Generating news about business. This might involve hosting events that attract media coverage. For a concert, inviting a local radio station that plays the same type of music as the performers might significantly improve publicity for location. Advertising Telling people about the services available at the business to increase public interest. Merchandising Selling items with your business name or label. This might include Tshirts, baseball caps, or other items available for sale at business. People who wear these items will help to promote business in the future. 4) Pricing Deciding how to adjust prices can be a challenge at times. The section below describes several pricing methods. Business may use a combination of these. Profit-oriented pricing: Adjusting prices to match demand for product, while exceeding the cost of producing the product. The result is profit maximization. Sales-oriented pricing: Raising prices as sales increase to maximize profits without significantly reducing sales. One problem with this method is that it can reduce the trust of customers who purchase products because of the low prices. They might choose to find another provider if prices rise too much. Cost-oriented pricing: Raising prices as your costs for producing the products rise. Competition-oriented pricing: Adjusting prices as other businesses offering the same services adjust their prices (usually lowering prices for a competitive edge). 5) People Business is about people, but different groups of people are involved in business in different ways. Business operations involve three groups of people in particular. Service personnel: Do not forget the importance of workers, who directly interact with customers and have a serious impact on the image of business. Happy employees are more likely to interact well with customers. This cannot be overstated.

Tourists: These are the customers. Many of them will not be from the local area, so it is important to be respectful toward other cultures while also securing the quality of tourism product. Local residents: These are the neighbors and other members of the community. The effects of tourism on local communities have been extensively studied, but with varying results. To gain the approval of community, it is a good idea to be involved with local organizations that relate to business. Good relationships with the local community can strengthen a business significantly. 6) Process The process in Agro-Tourism include, A. Trip planning and anticipation, B. Travel to the site/area, (c) recollection, C. Trip planning packages. The trip planning packages include, maps, attractions route and on site, information regarding lodging, food, quality souvenirs and mementoes 7) Physical Evidence In Agro-Tourism the physical evidence is basically depends on travel experience, stay, and comfort. Here, the core product is bed in case of stay.

SWOT Analysis of Agro-Tourism Business:

Agro-Tourism is a innovative product of rural market. It is also the additional income generating activity for the farmer. As discussed earlier such kind of activity has a direct, indirect influence on rural community and rural area which leads to sustainable development at overall level. If proper policy frame work is designed then this Agro-Tourism product will become successful in the near by future. So by considering the Agro-Tourism as a innovative tourism product the SWOT analysis is presented herewith. Strengths: 1. Un-polluted environment; 2. Presence of protected areas; 3. High quality of natural attraction and suitable Agro-Tourism areas (winning combination of mountains, breathtaking landscapes and untouched natural areas); 4. Rich cultural heritage and historical background (archaeological and architectural remains, handcrafts, traditional dance and music, traditional food, authentic/ traditional agricultural products, custom, myths and legends, festivals and musical events etc); 5. Favorable climate conditions that extend the tourist season up to 12 months; 6. The richness of flora and fauna (birds, turtles, wild donkeys): 7. Low-density of population in the majority of the countryside a sound basis for setting-up relax-oriented rural vacations; 8. Hospitality of the inhabitants. 9. Number of the newly established micro and small enterprises is gradually increasing; 10. Pilot experiences for the re-vitalization of old villages positively carried out; 11. Advantages of the short transporting distances;

12. Good price/value of rural produce and catering (food/drinks) (VFM-Value For Money); 13. Existence of Government Scheme to encourage Village livelihoods. Weaknesses: 1. Poor infrastructure in some rural areas (especially electricity and water); 2. Neglected and sometimes damaged natural and cultural heritage; 3. Lack of financial resources for investments; 4. No standards for rural accommodation /services; 5. Lack of awareness and vision among national/local stakeholders (this sector is not yet being taken seriously as a business); 6. Lack of professional and skilled human capacities (especially lack of training in product development and marketing); 7. Lack of knowledge about new know how related to the sector (event management, customer service, sales); 8. Unsatisfactory strategy/coordination about tourism and Agro-Tourism; 9. Poor offer of rural tourism in overall country tourism product and lack of product image; 10. Lack of tools for marketing and branding high quality/typical rural produce; 11. Traditional craft/ souvenirs often not well organized nor promoted; 12. Very limited amount of organic and traditional food products; 13. Lack of public transportation facility in rural areas 14. Lack of land planning; Opportunities: 1. Development of Agro-Tourism destinations and creation of Agro-Tourism products; 2. Agro-Tourism as a tool for branding local, organic and traditional products; 3. Diversification of tourism sector in the country as well as repositioning of its tourism offer; 4. A state financial support (credits, grants, subvention) may enable many new entrepreneurs of enter in this sector; 5. Availability of substantial new funding for rural development activities from international aid; 6. Develop tourist character in key villages with traditional houses and/or traditional events; 7. An increasing demand for this kind of tourism products. (General trend for healthy and quality lifestyle back to roots concept); 8. Creation of new jobs in rural areas; 9. Integration of mass tourism and rural tourism offers new market opportunities; 10. Creation of sustainable environment; 11. Development of entrepreneurship in rural areas 12. The high tourism potential. Threats: 1. Increasing pressure on the environment (quarries, water pollution, new Modern-style houses next to traditional ones, garbage waste); 2. Dominating development of mass tourism products in many areas ;

3. Lack of pro-active approaches and dependence on outside action (e.g. donors) as well as investment opportunities; 4. Lack of intermediate structures at regional level able to foster co-operation between key players for Agro- Tourism development; 5. Tourism competition for this kind of tourism; 6. Long time needed to build a critical mass in the Agro-Tourism offer; 7. Underestimation of the potential of Agro-Tourism as revenue/employment generator both at national/local level; 8. Training and awareness needs to be addressed in a very short timeframe; 9. Because of the isolations, not having direct transporting opportunities; 10. The financial isolations is creating insufficient credit opportunities;

If a proper strategic planning is done for Agro-Tourism, it could bring lot of benefit to our society. It could be a sustainable revenue generating product for rural market. It can help inflow to resources from urban to the rural economy. It can prevent migration of rural people to urban. By implementing this specialized form of rural tourism in rural market it is possible to fully explore the untapped potential of rural market. Both short term and long term planning, implementing and monitoring are vital in avoiding damage to rural areas. Environmental management, local involvement, sound legislation, sustainable marketing and realistic planning are crucial for development of Agro-Tourism. Agro-Tourism is emerging as an important instrument for sustainable human development including poverty alleviation, employment generation, environmental regeneration and development of remote areas and advancement of woman and other disadvantaged groups in the country apart from prooting social integration and international understanding. The government should promote Agro- Tourism to ensure sustainable economic development and positive social change.

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