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Agri Tourism India on the move

May 30, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Agri Tourism, the latest growing sector highlighting Indian traditions and culture pursued by the countryside population reached a significant milestone with the 10th UNWTO World Agri-Tourism Day celebrations in Mumbai on 16 May. The event coincided with UNWTO International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and Visit Maharashtra Year 2017.

Pandurang Taware, Managing Director, Agri Tourism Development Company (ATDC), said: “750 farmers across the state of Maharashtra have adopted this new source of income in the last ten years and are serving domestic and international guests with their traditional hospitality. We’re thankful for the support being extended by the state government.”

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Maharashtra Tourism sponsored the tenth World Agri Tourism Day Celebrations initiated by Agri Tourism Development Company. 280 delegates attended the event organised at prestigious Y B Chavan Auditorium in Mumbai.  Maharashtra is the first state in India to recognise the sector as a significant segment of tourism.

Jaykumar Rawal, Tourism Minister, Government of Maharashtra said: “We’ll organise regular meets on Agri Tourism to encourage farmers to practice Agri Tourism at their farms. That’ll help in cashing on the opportunity where the reverse trend is happening with more and more city dwellers showing interest in having rural experience. The segment needs marketing and the government is ready to assist in providing publicity. Soon we’ll discuss and pass a resolution in the assembly to attract worldwide tourists to this niche segment. We understand that hygiene, nutrition and sensitivity are key and we’ll scientifically create awareness to boost the sector.”

Homely holidays that were once accessible to only those who had their roots in villages, are definitely an exciting new option for tourists looking for cultural getaways in natural environs.

Co-ordination between relevant ministries with the presence of Pandurang Fundkar, Minister of Agriculture & Horticulture and Mahadev Jankar, Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development & Fisheries, both from the Government of Maharashtra fortified the support for the segment.

Agri Tourism directory release at 10 World Agro Tourism Day celebrations in Mumbai

 Each agri tourism unit, run on farms ranging from 2 acres to 125 acres, is unique with different crops and activities as evident from the narrations by successful Agri Tourism centre owners. Ek Mokla Shwas (A Clean Breath), is on a 9 acre farm near Tadoba Forest and has goats, fishery, fruit and vegetable farming. Activities here include bullock cart ride, rain dance, mud bath, and jungle safari.

Hemant Chhabra, proprietor, Hideout, said: “We are just 2 hour drive away from Mumbai and have bamboo houses and tents on 9.5 acres organic plantations. Our aim is to introduce people to a lifestyle that is organic, wholesome and binds mind, body and soul together in a happy union. June is a good time for Mango loving guests to come and enjoy juicy king of fruits naturally ripened in the trees.”  Some of the accommodation units have air-conditioners.

Ramakrishna Nallapati, a progressive farmer from Hampapuram village of Anantapuram District in Andhra Pradesh has 125 acre flourishing organic farm with variety agriculture, horticulture, sericulture, dairy and animal husbandry. His Aadarana farm is already catering to some guests who are inquisitive to learn about farming activities. He was at the event to learn more about agri-tourism to expand tourism capacity to entertain more guests at his vast farm.

Govardhan Eco-Village run by ISKON foundation at Wada, 100 kilometers from Mumbai is a model Eco-Tourism and Rural Development project that received an award at the annual United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism this year. The 100 acre non-commercial venture with green infrastructure has entertained 12,000 tourists from across the world in 2016. An ayurvedic spa, yoga classes, biodiversity nature trails and organic farming demos are some of the activities at Govardhan.

 

Young entrepreneurs of Agri Tourism being felicitated

Magnanimous traditional hospitality with freshly prepared meals forms the common factor with all.  The sector is also opening up historic monuments that lay unexposed due to lack of accommodation in their vicinity. A total of 2.1 million tourists have visited agri tourism centers in Maharashtra so far.

Mr Taware said:”Next annual event will go international with the 11th World Agro Tourism Day meet planned to be held in Cambodia. Maharashtra state government has agreed to support the event again next year.”

Written by Anand & Madhura Katti

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