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Open AccessArticle

The Dehesas of Extremadura, Spain: A Potential for Socio-Economic Development Based on Agritourism Activities

1
Faculty of Business, Finances and Tourism, University of Extremadura, 10071 Cáceres, Spain
2
Faculty of Letters, University of Extremadura, 10071 Cáceres, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(8), 620; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10080620
Received: 19 June 2019 / Revised: 16 July 2019 / Accepted: 24 July 2019 / Published: 25 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Economics and Human Dimensions)
Dehesas form an agroforestry system which is highly developed in Extremadura as they occupy over 1,000,000 hectares. This is an extensive production system based on exploitation by stockbreeding with certain complements of agricultural and extractive products. It is however underexploited for activities other than agrolivestock production. As a result this research starts from the hypothesis that greater socio-economic development is possible in areas near this type of ecosystem if we consider that it is extremely attractive to tourism, at least in some of its forms. Complementing agrolivestock exploitation with tourist exploitation means that it is necessary to be familiar with the situation of the current availability of accommodation. In order to do so we analyse the main parameters characterising rural accommodation in Extremadura, Spain, the results of which reflect low occupancy for a large part of the year and consequently seasonal variation is high. This fact contrasts with the huge potential of dehesas for agritourism. In order to carry out this study we resort to the use of spatial statistics, in particular the grouping analysis. In its configuration we consider the location of the rural accommodation and its proximity to areas of dehesas made up of holm oaks (Quercus ilex) and cork oaks (Quecus suber) together with protected natural spaces, basing ourselves also on proximity to livestock trails and natural swimming pools. The results lead to the creation of 5 homogeneous groups of which 3 correspond to accommodation establishments capable of setting up agritourism and agriecotourism initiatives; this affects 45% of the establishments. However, no current initiatives of this type exist despite the fact that the National Reference Centre for Agritourism is located in Extremadura. From this can be inferred the need for implementing tourist policies to encourage the generating of tourist products specifically intended to exploit the potential of the dehesa as a complement to the current availability of rural accommodation. View Full-Text
Keywords: dehesas; agritourism; agriecotourism; grouping analysis; Extremadura dehesas; agritourism; agriecotourism; grouping analysis; Extremadura
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Sánchez-Martín, J.-M.; Blas-Morato, R.; Rengifo-Gallego, J.-I. The Dehesas of Extremadura, Spain: A Potential for Socio-Economic Development Based on Agritourism Activities. Forests 2019, 10, 620.

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