1-1) Course Description
Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, with 1.2 billion annual international travelers creating almost 300 million jobs and generating nearly USD8 trillion in global GDP. Well-developed travel markets such as Europe and the USA account for the largest share of the inbound tourism market, but the greatest growth is in emerging destinations across Asia and Africa. The outbound travel market is also rapidly changing, with Chinese tourists having surpassed Americans and Europeans as the largest annual visitor expenditure segment at USD165 billion.
As an increasing number of the world’s population becomes more experienced travelers, their attitudes, interests, and behaviors are also changing. First-time visitors to a destination normally spend their time and money on traditional mass tourism products and experiences such as group tours, resort hotels, and major attractions. Repeat visitors more often go “off the beaten path” in search of what they consider more authentic travel experiences, desiring to interact with and behave like local residents. This deeper exploration of a destination is often defined in industry terms as ecotourism, adventure tourism, cultural tourism, heritage tourism, culinary tourism, agritourism, and several other niche sectors that are often focused on nonurban areas.
Another global trend is accelerating the motivation of tourists to expand their travel activities into rural regions. About 51% of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and that number is expected to increase, alienating billions of people from the natural environment globally. When these outdoor-deprived people travel, they often seek experiences that allow them to interact with the natural environment, which can be most easily accomplished in rural areas.
These trends have created greater tourism development opportunities for rural communities, in particular for farmers and related agricultural enterprises. The resulting economic growth supports rising incomes and higher employment in rural areas while satisfying the increasing demand for nature-focused tourism experiences. The challenge, however, for public- and private-sector advocates of agritourism development is organizing, planning, and funding the identification, development, and promotion of high-potential farm-based tourism experiences. This process requires expertise, resources, and a high degree of collaboration among all affected stakeholders in designing and implementing an effective agritourism growth strategy. This course is intended to help enhance the knowledge and skills necessary for success in such an endeavor.
1-2) Course Objectives
a. To increase participants’ knowledge of trends in the global tourism environment, changes in traveler attitudes and behaviors, and growing importance of the agritourism niche in the global tourism market;
b. To enhance participants’ understanding of essential marketing concepts, skills, and practices in agritourism product development and promotion; and
c. To enable participants to plan and operate agritourism business models that can generate sustainable economic growth.