Wacher, Carolyn (2007) The Development of Agri-tourism on Organic Farms in new EU countries – Poland, Estonia and Slovenia: Report of a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship 2006. Organic Centre Wales .
My aim of my Fellowship was to establish whether agri tourism in these countries differed from provision in the UK and whether our producers can learn from their examples of good practice. My choice of topic was influenced by a number of factors:
I have been involved in the organic agricultural sector in the UK for many years, which has resulted in a keen interest in all things organic and with a personal preference for organically produced food. Currently, I am employed with Organic Centre Wales1, funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, where we work with 700+ organic producers and processors throughout Wales.
Agri tourism together with sustainable/responsible tourism is the fastest growing sector in the European and global tourism business. In Wales, at least 150 organic producers are involved in some form of agri-tourism offering accommodation and meals with local and/or organic produce and frequently providing employment opportunities for local people. Indeed, farm buildings on my own 8.8ha smallholding, 15 miles outside Aberystwyth, have been converted to self-catering accommodation.
Welsh farmers have been extremely fortunate during the past four years, for in parts of Wales where GDP was 75% or less than European average, they have been offered the opportunity to benefit from Objective 1 and other grants. These have included refurbishment of original farm buildings, processing and marketing local produce, utilising local produce in tourism, training in hospitality and quality schemes and quality breeding of indigenous stock.
The producers in the new EU countries, however, unlike their Welsh counterparts, had received no significant financial support but many have already enthusiastically adopted agri-tourism, providing meals made from local, authentic produce, frequently relying on traditional recipes handed down from parents and grandparents and encouraging domestic and international visitors to enjoy traditional and local produce.
The common factors between these countries is that they all joined the EU in 2004 and were subject to differing Soviet influences. Beyond that, it is invidious to make comparisons between these culturally and economically different countries. Therefore I intend to present each country and what I found in order of my visit, and attempt to summarise some key points, and allow readers to draw their own conclusions.
Finally, in the knowledge that I intended to travel alone, I felt that European cultural similarities might provide familiar benchmarks and I hoped that my knowledge of German might compensate somewhat for my lack of Polish, Estonian or Slovene languages.
|Keywords:||agri tourism, Wales, Poland, Slovenia, Estonia|
|Subjects:|| Environmental aspects > Landscape and recreation|
Farming Systems > Social aspects
|Research affiliation:||UK > Univ. Aberystwyth > Organic Centre Wales (OCW)|
|Deposited By:||Powell, Ms Jane|
|Deposited On:||19 Jun 2007|
|Last Modified:||12 Apr 2010 07:35|
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