University of agribusiness and rural development, International scientific and practical conference Bulgaria of regions 2018

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Farm based rural tourism as a socio- economic development strategy in rural livelihood development; experience from Europe and Asia
Rohana Mahaliyanaarachchi

Last modified: 2019-01-21


Tourism resources available in rural areas can be used effectively and efficiently by practicing farm based rural tourism and they can provide solutions to a number of economic, social and environmental issues in rural areas. Farm based rural tourism can also be used to enhance and extend the agri - based industries, develop agri - tourism services, promote nonfarm employment in farming areas, decrease the rural migration to urban zones, increase income of farmers by introducing alternative income generating sources and manage the risk faced by farmers both in crop production and livestock. This paper uses the method of SWOT analysis to make a comprehensive evaluation and analysis on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the development of farm based rural tourism in selected Asian and European countries. By a comparative study on agri and farm based rural tourism in emerging and developed economies in two continents, this paper clearly determines the advantages, opportunities, disadvantages and threats in practicing of farm based tourism in both regions. Further, it discusses means and ways that can be used in socio- economic and rural livelihood development of these rural areas by practicing farm based tourism.

This paper further discusses how farm based rural tourism can be practiced in rural sector as a supplementary income source to the farming community as a risk management strategy which is less susceptible to external factors such as local & international politics, climate change and whether pattern changes, market and trade slumps, etc.

Rural tourism is the best way to explore the traditions and values in a country or region. Traditional cuisines, authentic handicrafts, folk cultural events and activities, beauty of the nature, rural hospitality, farms and livestock, less polluted environment, all these can be used to enhance the tourist attraction to the rural areas. Improving the tourist attraction means increasing the number of visitors to rural areas as tourists. Literature indicates that majority of the rural and farm tourists are wealthy and their buying power is higher than mass tourists. At the same time they are more disciplined and environmental loving visitors.

Increasing the number of tourists to the rural areas increase the money transactions in the area as a whole. Obviously, this will help for a rapid socio-economic development of the rural areas. Statistics have proven that majority of the people in rural areas are farmers or communities related to farming.

Socio-economic development of the rural areas has a positive relationship with the enhancement of rural livelihoods and this will extend solutions to most of the problems in rural communities such as rural migration to urban areas, managing the risks in farming, socially as well as politically empowering the masses and etc.

Experiences in Europe and Asia show that by introducing well organized farm based rural tourism can improve the rural economy & social status of their community and as a result, rural livelihoods.


rural tourism, agritourism, farm tourism, socio-economic status, rural livelihoods.