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Special Issue "Agritourism in Mountain Regions"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Thomas Streifeneder

Institute for Regional Development, EURAC Research, 39100 Bolzano, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: economic geography; agricultural and socioeconomic development in mountain areas; rural and regional development; agriculture and tourism; agritourism
Guest Editor
Dr. Thomas Dax

Federal Institute for Less Favoured and Mountainous Areas, 1030 Vienna, Austria
Website | E-Mail
Interests: mountain development research, rural and regional development; local initiatives; human-nature interrelationships; agricultural diversification, land management and provision of public goods, including agri-tourism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since the late 18th century, tourists have been attracted to mountain destinations. The increasing recognition of this value of mountain areas was associated with iconic images of specific mountain locations, leading to a focus on the development of these localities. Tourism in mountain regions has hence shown very early the two faces of tourism, the traditional view of images of ‘pristine nature’ and features of ‘mass tourism’. The Alpine range is the best-known example of the relentless tourism growth. However, this area boast itself also of the development of significant nature protection areas and an emerging endeavor for sustainable tourism approaches. Linked to these developments agritourism initiatives and programmes spread throughout the mountain areas, taking account of specific favourable conditions for this type of tourism demand. With the global ‘explosion’ of leisure tourism, the place-specific assets of mountain landscapes and the specific types of agritourism offers in the mountain areas gained particular attractiveness. The idea of agritourism (in mountains) has spread to many parts in the world, and nowadays we recognize an increasing offer throughout diverse mountain regions. This reflects the search for sustainable tourism types, including a desire for an intensified relation to natural resources, and the nature of food origin.

Agritourism offers farmers the possibility of diversifying and generating additional income through on-farm touristic activities in order to help supplementing their low agricultural income. This helps to maintain the viability of active farms and rural communities.

The more general understanding of agritourism states that agritourism activities support and promote agricultural resources, traditions and culture. Following this line of thought, agritourism results to be a successful example of sustainable tourism that has gained importance over the years.

Dr. Thomas Streifeneder
Dr. Thomas Dax
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

agritourism in mountain regions; sustainability; diversification; agricultural resources; traditions and culture; on-farm touristic activities; viability; active farms; rural communities; prevention of rural migration; regional; economic impact of agritourism; economic multiplier effects; sustainable tourism

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Agritourism Initiatives in the Context of Continuous Out-Migration: Comparative Perspectives for the Alps and Chinese Mountain Regions
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4418; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164418
Received: 29 April 2019 / Revised: 17 July 2019 / Accepted: 12 August 2019 / Published: 15 August 2019
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Abstract
After World War II, the economic recovery of Western Europe implied a swift economic transition for all regions, including the area of the Alps, although affecting various parts at different paces and stages. The resulting out-migration led to population decline in some mountain [...] Read more.
After World War II, the economic recovery of Western Europe implied a swift economic transition for all regions, including the area of the Alps, although affecting various parts at different paces and stages. The resulting out-migration led to population decline in some mountain valleys and regions since the 1950s. Such negative population development trends are widespread across mountain areas of the world, including China, where out-migration started after its rural reform in the 1970s. The effect was in some cases even more significant than in the Alps, with the first villages being deserted in the 1980s. Current estimations report about 380,000 rural villages in China being abandoned between 2000–2016, particularly in its mountain regions. While lower population densities might alleviate the pressures on ecology and contribute to environmental benefits, these movements aggravate a spiraling-down process of local economies and culture. In the Alps, many regions that were facing challenges of out-migration and economic weaknesses focused on local initiatives, including agritourism schemes that provided both economic incentives and stability to involved mountain farmers, and the continuation of local land management systems. However, China’s interest for promoting rural action and tourism-oriented farm diversification only started more recently, with a range of rural tourism and agricultural tourism initiatives emerging. This paper focuses on lessons from successful initiatives in the Alps that might induce and strengthen China’s search for elaborating agritourism activities in mountain areas. In consequence, agritourism might be assessed as a contribution to mitigate out-migration from mountain regions and a core element of the future sustainable development of the Alps and the Chinese countryside. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agritourism in Mountain Regions)
Open AccessArticle
Agritourism: A Hedonic Approach of Quality Tourism Indicators in South Tyrol
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3747; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133747
Received: 23 May 2019 / Revised: 29 June 2019 / Accepted: 4 July 2019 / Published: 9 July 2019
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Abstract
This paper examines the prices of agritourism accommodation that include food services (i.e., the option to have breakfast) and related farm attributes. We analyze what tourists are willing to pay per night for a designated farm holiday stay in South Tyrol offered through [...] Read more.
This paper examines the prices of agritourism accommodation that include food services (i.e., the option to have breakfast) and related farm attributes. We analyze what tourists are willing to pay per night for a designated farm holiday stay in South Tyrol offered through the “Red Rooster” brand (n = 367). We first identify factors that may influence tourist decisions to book a holiday at a farm, which include the number of flowers (i.e., the red rooster quality-rating scheme), the type of accommodation, the distance to various leisure activities, and externalities related to agricultural practices. Second, the paper develops two hedonic models to estimate implicit prices for farm holiday accommodation rates. Specifically, the dependent variables are the prices paid by guests during the summer peak and low seasons. Independent variables are various accommodation attributes, the quality of food service, and the range of possible activities in the area surrounding the farm. The results of the study show that the red rooster quality-rating scheme (i.e., the number of flowers) and the quality of food services are highly significant and have a positive impact on guest willingness to pay. Farm types, such as fruit-growing and livestock operations, have a significant but negative effect on accommodation rates at least during the peak season, whilst wine production and organic farming display a positive influence on the accommodation rates during the low season. Implications for practitioners and policy-makers are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agritourism in Mountain Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Agritourism in Mountainous Regions—Insights from an International Perspective
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3715; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133715
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 21 June 2019 / Accepted: 1 July 2019 / Published: 7 July 2019
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Abstract
Based on the research activity within the ISLE International Sustainability Network, this paper represents a step forward aiming to find some contacts points in the experiences some international cases (USA, Brazil, Italy and France) have grown in the development of agritourism in mountain [...] Read more.
Based on the research activity within the ISLE International Sustainability Network, this paper represents a step forward aiming to find some contacts points in the experiences some international cases (USA, Brazil, Italy and France) have grown in the development of agritourism in mountain contexts. Despite the singular differences and the national specificities, agritourism is generally considered a particular form of social innovation in agriculture and rural development of mountainous areas, aiming at recomposing the natural and the human dimensions within the framework of a new sustainable way of doing agriculture. At the basis of the research is the hypothesis that agritourism operations are slowly and gradually shifting towards a new perspective/model. Some years ago, agritourism was traditionally viewed as a way for farmers to integrate or diversify their incomes. Nowadays instead—as the diversity of practice has grown and new values have emerged—the range of farmers’ motivations has become much broader. Some of these motivations include not only economic issues but also social, environmental and cultural ones, while addressing a more comprehensive idea of community-based and sustainable development. Case studies from South Carolina (USA), from Italian mountain regions, from Santa Catarina State in Brazil and from France are illustrated in which different innovation perspectives are highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agritourism in Mountain Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Cultivating Women’s Empowerment through Agritourism: Evidence from Andean Communities
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3058; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113058
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 21 May 2019 / Accepted: 25 May 2019 / Published: 30 May 2019
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Abstract
Tourism has the potential to empower women, particularly in rural areas. However, little is known about whether it can have the same effect in Andean communities, mainly because the traditional social and cultural structures of those communities have limited women’s ability to empower [...] Read more.
Tourism has the potential to empower women, particularly in rural areas. However, little is known about whether it can have the same effect in Andean communities, mainly because the traditional social and cultural structures of those communities have limited women’s ability to empower themselves through traditional economic activities. Through interviews with residents participating in agritourism development in seven communities across the Cusco and Puno regions (Peru, South America), this study examined the role of agritourism development in the empowerment of women in those communities as well as the ways in which it has changed traditional gender roles. Study findings revealed that agritourism contributes to four areas of empowerment for women: psychological, social, political, and economic. However, the culture of the Andean communities still has considerable influence on gender dynamics and may prevent women from garnering all the benefits of tourism development. Agritourism development in those communities should incorporate gender-related cultural considerations to navigate and overcome barriers, thereby allowing the maximization of empowerment benefits for women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agritourism in Mountain Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Different Forms of Accommodation in Agritourism: The Role of Decoupled Farmer-Based Accommodation in the Ötztal Valley (Austria)
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2841; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102841
Received: 30 March 2019 / Revised: 11 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 18 May 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1982 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The general decline of mountain farming all over Europe suggests encouraging farmers to adapt their farm management and to diversify their activities into tourism. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate the impact of different types of farmer-based provision of accommodation on the preservation [...] Read more.
The general decline of mountain farming all over Europe suggests encouraging farmers to adapt their farm management and to diversify their activities into tourism. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate the impact of different types of farmer-based provision of accommodation on the preservation of the farm and the identification of farmers with farming activities. For our investigation in the case study area of Ötztal valley, Tyrol, Austria, we applied a mixed method approach. First, we developed a heuristic concept for categorizing the types of farms that offer farmer-based accommodation. The term ‘farmer-based’ refers to entities who are active in accommodation services and farming. We collected quantitative data in an online survey and carried out a qualitative focus group. Results reveal the importance of farmer-based accommodation even if decoupled from farm activities within the case study area. This type also supports, next to the ‘authentic’ form of farm-based tourism, the existing agricultural structure and contributes to the positive impact of mountain farming such as for the maintenance of multifunctional cultural landscapes, the provision of ecosystem services, and the viability of rural communities. Therefore, we suggest considering decoupled forms of farmer-based accommodation as agritourism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agritourism in Mountain Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding the Impact of Environmental Education on Tourists’ Future Visit Intentions to Leisure Farms in Mountain Regions
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1567; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061567
Received: 10 February 2019 / Revised: 4 March 2019 / Accepted: 12 March 2019 / Published: 14 March 2019
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1162 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The research problem of this study is to understand whether people with higher level of EE are more likely to choose farm stays for their vacation. The main aim of this study is to investigate the causal relationship between an individual’s environmental education [...] Read more.
The research problem of this study is to understand whether people with higher level of EE are more likely to choose farm stays for their vacation. The main aim of this study is to investigate the causal relationship between an individual’s environmental education (EE) and their theory of planned behavior (TPB) decision-making process that leads to future visit intention. A convenient sampling method was used to survey visitors of Toucheng Leisure Farm in the mountain region of Taiwan; and a total of 600 responses were collected. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to analyze the data. The results showed that five of the six hypotheses were supported. This finding suggests that environmental education makes an individual more pro-environmental and susceptible to the social norms about environmental protection. Environmental education, however, does not affect the inconvenience or extra cost incurred by purchasing green products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agritourism in Mountain Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Perceptions of Agritourism and Cooperation: Comparisons between an Island and a Mountain Region in Greece
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 680; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030680
Received: 17 December 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 19 January 2019 / Published: 28 January 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1463 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The lack of understanding and definitional inconsistencies regarding agritourism and the importance of cooperation in sustaining this kind of tourism are underlined in the literature. This study analyzes the perceptions of agritourism and cooperation from actors in the sector using a plurality of [...] Read more.
The lack of understanding and definitional inconsistencies regarding agritourism and the importance of cooperation in sustaining this kind of tourism are underlined in the literature. This study analyzes the perceptions of agritourism and cooperation from actors in the sector using a plurality of methods, including unsupervised (a) text mining and (b) sentiment analysis with the use of a lexical database, as well as (c) supervised qualitative data analysis. Based on the assumption that destinations with different geographic characteristics have different features and products, two different destinations as for its accessibility and tourism recognition were selected for comparison: (a) an island—Lesvos in the North Aegean Sea, and (b) a continental mountain region—Plastiras Lake, in Greece. The data were collected from personal in-depth interviews and with the use of semi-structured questionnaires. From a methodological perspective, all three methods provided unique insights on the study’s themes, and the overall image of agritourism and cooperation was positive. A common understanding seems important for cooperation and networking; however, training is needed not only for effective promotion of agritourism, but also for cooperation techniques, benefits, trust-building mechanisms and best practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agritourism in Mountain Regions)
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