Agrotourism market research report


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Agrotourism market research report

  1. 1. Agrotourism Market Research ReportStrengthening Of The Tourism Sector Through The Development OfLinkages With The Agricultural Sector In The Caribbean
  2. 2. AGROTOURISM MARKET RESEARCH REPORT Submitted by Roxanne Waithe Consultant November 2006 .. .. .. .. #94 Hibiscus House 4th Avenue Woodbourne Park St. Philip, Barbados (BB18047) Tel: 420-4019 Fax: 420-1728 Email:
  3. 3. TABLE OF CONTENTS PageExecutive Summary iiiIntroduction 1Section 1 3 1.1 Concepts/Definitions 3 1.2 Global Trends in Agrotourism 6 1.3 Market Research Process 9Section 2 11 2.1 Country Study: Barbados 11 2.2 Country Study: Commonwealth of Dominica 19 2.3 Country Study: Jamaica 27 2.4 Country Study: St. Kitts & Nevis 36 2.5 Country Study: Trinidad & Tobago 43Section 3 52 3.1 Discussion of Findings 52 3.2 Emerging Implications 54 3.3 Recommendations & Conclusion 56References 58 i
  4. 4. LIST OF TABLESTable Page1 Food & Agriculture Indicators: Barbados 122 Tourism Highlights 2004: Barbados 133 Tourism Highlights 2004: Dominica 204 Food & Agriculture Indicators: Dominica 215 Tourism Highlights 2004: Jamaica 296 Food & Agriculture Indicators: Jamaica 307 Tourism Highlights 2004: St. Kitts/Nevis 378 Land Use by Sector: St. Kitts/Nevis 389 Food & Agriculture Indicators: Trinidad & Tobago 4510 Stopover Tourist Arrivals to Trinidad & Tobago by Main Market 46LIST OF FIGURESFigure 1 Dimensions of Agro-Tourism 3 2 Linkages Required for Agrotourism Enterprise 54 3 SWOT Analysis: Caribbean Agrotourism Sector 55APPENDICESAppendix 1 Interview questions – Agrotourism Stakeholders 59 2 List of Persons Interviewed 62 ii
  5. 5. Executive SummaryCaribbean countries are at the crossroads of development and are challenged to diversifytheir economies to compete in the global market. Agrotourism is a burgeoning industryworldwide and has been identified as a viable alternative to sustainable development forthis region.The Caribbean islands, with their varied natural resources, are poised to take advantageof the growing tendency to revert to natural and agricultural based travel activities.However, it is first necessary to assess the demand for agrotourism products and servicesin the region and the capacity of key stakeholders to provide them at a level consistentwith international market standards.This situation has inspired the current research which aims to find out what the projecteddemand for agrotourism is for five specific countries and the propensity of each island toprovide related products and services. The final product of this exercise is a marketresearch report.The research was conducted using secondary resources such as recently compiled countryreports on agrotourism and in-depth interviews of key stakeholders from all fivecountries: • Barbados • Commonwealth of Dominica • Jamaica • St. Kitts & Nevis • Trinidad & TobagoThe major findings were: - there is a need to create awareness about agrotourism and its potential benefits to a wide cross section of persons involved in both the agricultural and tourism sector iii
  6. 6. - the countries polled have the resources and the propensity to operate successful agrotourism ventures but are in dire need of technical assistance, funding and supportive policies to facilitate them - opportunities exist for developing synergies in areas such as training, agro-trade and information networks amongst Caribbean countries - there is a need for more targeted research in agrotourism to identify each country’s strengths and capitalize on the resources that would generate a sustainable cache of products and services.Some recommendations were made for future endeavours: Development of a policy framework for creating formal and informal links between agriculture and tourism in each country Establishment of an agency dedicated towards developing and promoting agrotourism on a national level Creating nationwide and region wide campaigns to increase awareness about the potential for agrotourism to diversify the economy and revive interest in agricultureThis report only provides a snapshot of the agrotourism market in the Caribbean. Theresearch suggests that the there is global interest in this commodity, and that this regionhas the potential to provide it. Policy makers and stakeholders now need to act on theinformation available. iv
  7. 7. INTRODUCTIONAgrotourism is gaining worldwide attention as tourists increasingly demand unspoileddestinations and personalized services in a rich natural environment. The Caribbean withits varied exotic landscapes, colourful agricultural traditions, together with an extended‘summer’ period create the right mix for the development of agrotourism.Caribbean tourism policy planners have recognized the need to introduce new touristproducts and services that take advantage of global trends. As a result some attempts arebeing made to develop an agrotourism sector that can take advantage of the region’scompetitive advantages in this area.The major regional activity currently in progress is a three-year (2005-2008) OAS-fundedproject entitled ‘Strengthening of the Tourism Sector through the Development ofLinkages with the Agricultural Sector in the Caribbean’. As a preliminary measure it isnecessary to conduct an analysis of the product-market matching potential of agriculture-based tourism within the region. It is in this context that the following report has beenprepared.The objective of this research as defined in the Terms of Reference was to assess thedemand for agrotourism products and services among tour operators, hotels and otherconsumers in five Caribbean countries:1) Barbados2) Commonwealth of Dominica3) Jamaica4) St. Kitts & Nevis5) Trinidad & Tobago. 1
  8. 8. For each country key deliverables for this study included: i. Detailed information on the demand for specific agrotourism activities such as farm-based attractions, health and wellness tourism and culinary tourism ii. An assessment of the capacity of agrotourism operators to offer competitive products and services which comply with global standards.The results of the project are presented in this report which is divided into three sections.Section one provides an overview of the agrotourism industry, it explains key conceptsand definitions and describes global trends. The chapter ends with a description of themethods used to collect the data for this report and a discussion on the limitations of theresearch.Section two examines the demand for agrotourism products and services in the specifiedcountries. For each country, the research will highlight: 1. Country Overview 2. A sample of agrotourism initiatives 3. Stakeholders’ comments (based on interviews) 4. Critical issues affecting agrotourism enterprise and development 5. Best practice example for agrotourism (where applicable) 6. Key agencies involvedIn the last section of the report, the major findings are discussed from the point of view ofrecurring themes or similarities in the Caribbean market and distinct differences. Someemerging implications for regional agrotourism are also explored as they relate topotential opportunities for linkages between agriculture and tourism. The text concludeswith some recommendations for policy, programming and market research inagrotourism. 2
  9. 9. SECTION 1 1.1 CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONSIt is widely recognized that tourism operates as a system of interrelated components andneeds agricultural inputs for its continued existence. Similarly, agriculture sustains lifeand is connected to almost all aspects of tourism. Based on these observations, someexperts contend that agrotourism is a subset of a larger industry called rural tourism thatincludes rustic resorts, agricultural tours, and other leisure and hospitality businesses thatattract visitors to the countryside.However, prior research conducted by IICA 1 has identified specific dimensions ofagrotourism which relate to the Caribbean context. These are illustrated in Figure 1below.Figure 1: Dimensions of Agro-tourismBased on these classifications, the following is a proposed definition of agrotourism forthe purpose of the research:Agrotourism refers to any activity, enterprise or business that linksagriculture with products, services and experiences in tourism.1 Ena C. Harvey, Presentation at 7th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development“Keeping the Right Balance – Sustainable Tourism Through Diversity” April 28, 2005, Tobago 3
  10. 10. Considering that this research calls for detailed information with respect to specificagrotourism activities, it is necessary to clearly define the four main types of productsand services to be investigated. FARM BASED & AGRO-ECOFarm based tourism can be described as the act of TOURISMvisiting a working farm or any agricultural, Farm/garden tourshorticultural or agribusiness operation to enjoy, be Hands-on farming taskseducated or be involved in activities. Self-harvesting of produce Horse, pony or donkey rides Farm animal zoos and trails Overnight stays in a rural bed and breakfast Marine ecology (dive) toursHealth and Wellness Tourism can be described as the process of combining the goal tolook and feel better with travel, leisure and fun activities. HEALTH & WELLNESS TOURISM Spa treatment Specialty surgeries Alternative Medicines Herbal remedies Therapeutic Holidays CULINARY TOURISMCulinary tourism is a subset of Agro-tourism that focuses specifically on the Dinner and theatre package Culinary schools and workshopssearch for, and enjoyment of, prepared food Food festivalsand drink 2 . Tasting/buying packaged local products Farmer’s markets Tour a food/wine/beer factory2 Definition proposed by Erik Wolf, Oregon Culinary Tourism Task Force 2003 4
  11. 11. Agro-heritage tourism can be described as any measure that promotes the heritage,history and interpretation of early and contemporary agriculture. AGRO-HERITAGE TOURISM Sugar cane museums Plantation tours Craft making Indigenous Art showcases or workshop Agricultural festivalsWhile the agrotourism categories described above are not exhaustive and do not representthe entire scope of associated activities, they provide the basis for understanding thesector in a global context. 5
  12. 12. 1.2 GLOBAL TRENDS IN AGROTOURISMAgrotourism is an international growth sector. Many destinations are actively working atdeveloping their agrotourism products and activities and promoting them as a distinctvisitor experience. They incorporate a vast range of experiences from wineries andtraditional agricultural producers to custom built agro-entertainment complexes, smallfamily operations, tours and pick-your-own farms, workshops and learning vacations.Agrotourism appears to appeal to both domestic and international markets.In Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia agrotourism has emerged as agrowing component of both agriculture and tourism. Canada formed the Canadian Agri-Tourism Network in 1998 with the goal of making Canada the number one agrotourismdestination in the world. They are actively developing their agrotourism industry,investing in farm vacations and rural community based activities. For example Ontariohas a "Get Out of Town" Harvest Day, and Manitoba has developed an "Off The BeatenPath" tour guide promoting their agrotourism operations.Additionally, nature and agricultural based tourism has been identified as the fastestgrowing segment in travel in the US with a 30% increase in last decade. US travel trendsindicate that families are taking shorter vacations with interests that include historyand/or cultural experiences, eco-tourism, arts and crafts, “special experiences,” outdoorlife, and nostalgia that promotes searches for roots and the “time that was” (PurdueTourism and Hospitality Centre 2001).In some countries like Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland and South East Asia farm-basedtourism is reaping millions for farmers (Time Magazine, Oct. 2005). EuroGites, theEuropean Federation for Farm and Village Tourism, offers agrotourism experiences froma choice of among 24 countries of Europe. Through its structuring of 28 professionalassociations of rural tourism, EuroGites provides an exemplary range of attractions andactivities for the avid eco and heritage travellers. 6
  13. 13. The health and wellness/spa industry, a vital component of agrotourism, is currentlyestimated to be worth US $40 billion, and is considered to be still in its infancy. Industryexperts expect spas to expand promotion of travel concepts such as honeymoon spas,mind/body/spirit holidays and medical/spa travel. Men now generate 25% of total sparevenues. (Spa Finder, 2006)One of the key principles of health and wellness is holistic cuisine including the use ofindigenous foods, as well as organic vegetables, and dairy alternatives to provide healthy,holistic meals. However, there is a growing segment of travellers who go on vacation insearch of extraordinary culinary experiences. Culinary Tourism is the most recent nicheto emerge within the travel industry in years (International Culinary Tourism Association2002).The true extent of culinary tourism was measured in the UK by World Travel Market(2005), with research revealing that more than half (53%) of travellers surveyed rankedeating traditional dishes as a very important or important part of their holiday. Astaggering 86% of Brits quizzed said they enjoyed local foods when abroad. Sometourist offices are beginning to highlight food as a way of promoting their country toforeign visitors.Culinary tourists, referred to as ‘foodies’, seek unique and memorable food and drinkexperiences whether they be urban or rural. They go to restaurants, wineries, breweries,delis, road-side stands or food trucks. Some culinary tourists train with the chefs fromthe best restaurants, go to cooking schools and tour herbal gardens and farms that showwhere the food comes from.One of the top food trends for 2006 (as identified by Robin Uler, senior vice president offood & beverage, spas and retail services, and Brad Nelson, vice president of culinaryand corporate chef for Marriott International, Inc.) is that diners are looking for purity ofproduct: fresh, wholesome and locally grown. Many chefs are utilizing their localfarmers, purchasing product grown practically in their own back yards. 7
  14. 14. Closely related to the pursuit of indigenous foods is heritage tourism. Cultural heritagetours emphasize authenticity and hands-on participation, with itineraries that includinghistoric homes such as plantation houses, art galleries, theatres, and museums; culturalevents, festivals and fairs; ethnic and regional foods and music; ethnic communities;architectural and archaeological treasures; and national parks.A study from the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) and SmithsonianMagazine (2003) revealed growing interest in travellers desire to experience cultural,arts, historic and heritage activities. Heritage travellers claimed that they prefer to visitdestinations that have some historical significance (38%). A select group (mostly maturetourists) felt that a leisure or vacation trip away from home is not complete withoutvisiting a museum, historic site or landmark (26%) or attending a cultural event or artsperformance (17%).The significant growth in global agrotourism has not only been triggered by today’scompetitive marketplace, the industry has valuable merits for: a) Diversification of the farm operation. Adding a new enterprise such as farmer’s market or an herbal garden tour will add another source of income to a farm, and diversification is an ideal risk management strategy b) Attracting customers to farms. Adding a seating area (benches), and a canteen to an existing farm operation, or having open days, will not only draw international visitors but domestic tourists c) Contributing to the stability of the agriculture industry of the country d) It is an excellent means of supporting rural communities and businesses. Tourists bring in dollars to local businesses that keep farming communities alive and prosperous e) It is an opportunity to increase agricultural awareness and education among the public, and promote agricultural products. 8
  15. 15. 1.3 THE MARKET RESEARCH PROCESSThe market research on agrotourism applied qualitative methods of data collection andthe two techniques used were as follows:1. Reports compiled from previous country studies, regional and internationaljournal articles were examined to identify global trends, practices, concepts anddefinitions of agrotourism2. Interviews and footage recorded on agrotourism operators and stakeholders in thefive specified countries were transcribed for analysisThe video footage was acquired from another aspect of the ‘Strengthening of theTourism Sector through the Development of Linkages with the Agricultural Sector inthe Caribbean’ project. It comprised of over forty hours of unedited video originallyintended to document success stories and best practices in agrotourism in sevenCaribbean countries.However, the quality of the interviews which were in-depth and open ended, and theprofiles of the interviewees are directly related to the current research. The informalquestionnaire designed to find out about the agrotourism entities is affixed in Appendix 1.A third technique which includes the use of quantitative measures in the form of visitormotivation surveys for the selected destinations was not possible due to time limitations.Therein lies a significant shortcoming in the research methodology used for this study. Inorder to efficiently assess the demand for agrotourism products and services, one of thekey targets must be the tourists.Crucial data regarding interest in agrotourism by tourist origin country, market segmentand other demographics have not been compiled. Additionally, in order to truly 9
  16. 16. understand the demand, a survey instrument must be designed to capture other statisticssuch as:∗ Nature-based or agro-ecotourism activities sought and patronized∗ Cultural and heritage activities sought and patronized∗ Health & Wellness activities sought and patronized∗ Local dining experiences sought and patronized∗ Sources of information consulted to plan vacationsNevertheless, the data gathered using the designated methods has the distinct advantageof focusing on the tourism and agricultural stakeholders’ capacity in each country toprovide competitive agrotourism products and services. A comprehensive list of personsinterviewed by country is provided in Appendix 2. The findings and analysis arepresented in the following chapters. 10
  17. 17. SECTION 2 2.1 COUNTRY STUDY: BARBADOSCountry OverviewBest known for its sunshine, beachesand cricket, Barbados has seen tourismovertake the production and export ofsugar as the islands main revenueearner.This has given the island a higher livingstandard than many of its Caribbeanneighbours, but it also means that it isvulnerable to world downturns intourism.Tourism is the principal source of foreign exchange, economic activity and employment;the USA, UK, Continental Europe and Canada being the four main tourist markets. Themajor elements of the tourism product are Barbados solid historical and cultural legacy,varied entertainment and natural physical attributes, including the weather.On the other hand, agriculture in Barbados has decreased over the past two decadesprimarily through the demand for land for residential settlements and for tourismdevelopment, such as hotels and golf courses. Sugarcane has long been considered themajor agricultural crop, accounting for about 75% of the arable land, but has continued todecline because of reduced sugar prices, labour shortages and inefficient management ofplantations. 11
  18. 18. As a result, there has been in increasing tendency towards agricultural cropdiversification in order to reduce the dependency on sugar and to satisfy local demandsfor fresh vegetables and root crops.Table 1 below, apart from presenting a snapshot of agriculture in Barbados, shows howsugar has significantly declined over the years. 12
  19. 19. Table 2 presents Barbados’ tourism highlights for 2004 as released by the BarbadosStatistical Service in 2005.Source CTO 2004 StatisticsAs the table shows, Barbados boasts a thriving long stay and cruise tourism industry.The United Kingdom is the largest source market for tourists to Barbados, accounting forsome 38.8 percent of total arrivals in 2004. The United States, the second largest market,contributed 23.5 percent of the total tourist arrivals. 13
  20. 20. Sample Agrotourism InitiativesBarbados offers a wide range of products, services and experiences in that link tourismwith agriculture. Although they may not be branded or recognized as agrotourismactivities, their product/service mix meet the criteria outlined in the proposed definition.For instance, there are two working sheepfarms that offer tours on the island. TheBarbados Blackbelly is an indigenous breedto Barbados. It descends from sheep broughtto the islands from West Africa during theslave era.Additionally, during the month of February, the Barbados Agricultural Society hosts anevent themed ‘Agrofest’. This event provides an opportunity for all commodity groups,large, small and medium sized farmers and entrepreneurs to showcase their products, by-products and services. It offers a variety of entertainment for the whole family whilebeing educational and is staged at the historic Queens Park, Barbados. The agriculturalfestival attracted a total of 28,000 patrons in 2005 and this was surpassed in 2006 by anadditional 5,000 visitors who were mostly locals.In rural Surinam, St. Joseph an eco-lodgewith a restaurant, spa and other facilities onsite have been constructed. Lush LifeNature Resort offers an alternative approachto the sun, sea, sand vacation and haspositioned its package along the lines of ahealth and wellness theme. The woodencottages are situated against a backdrop ofvirgin forests which provide ampleopportunity for nature based activities. 14
  21. 21. The Taste of Barbados culinary festival, organisedby the Culinary Alliance of Barbados is one venturethat has been distinctly labelled as an agrotourisminitiative. The inaugural event took place inOctober 2006 and featured exotic cuisine producedusing locally grown produce. The beverage menuincluded fresh local juices such as tamarind, goldenapple and soursop and a selection of sorrel, guavaand carambola wines provided by local agro-processors such as the ones on the right. Farmers were afforded the opportunity to showcase a variety of locally grown foods such as sweet potatoes, breadfruit, plantains, green bananas and other Barbadian favorites at the Best Big Bajan BBQ event at Hilton Old Fort. Participating master chefs also competed to prepare original dishes using the local produce and were given a mystery basket with all Bajan fruits and vegetables to create their side dishes at the BBQ.An interview with the chairman of the Culinary Alliance revealed that The Taste ofBarbados event has initiated long-term strategic partnerships amongst farmers, agro-processors, chefs and hotel/restaurant purchasing agents. 15
  22. 22. Stakeholders’ CommentsThe stakeholders involved in agriculture and tourism related activities in Barbadosexpressed varied views based on their experiences. Some of these encounters arecaptured in the dialogue box below. “The Caribbean in general has a deep heritage that is steeped in agriculture. Along with agriculture came the crafts people who provided implements used in the household. I would like to think that we craftsmen still fulfill that role to a large degree. We allow visitors to see and feel how the pottery is made so when they purchase a piece they connect with it.” Craftsman (pottery) ON: What role do you see yourself playing in agrotourism? “Our business cannot thrive without tourism. We provide services for hotels throughout the island, but the foundation of this business will always be the locals. We used to get more business from cruise ships for instance but then they started wanting more and more for less and less.” Horticulturalist ON: Who are your main customers? “We got the interest of farmers, the general public AND government interest when we did exhibits at the Green Expo and Agrofest. We now have farmers starting their own fish farming projects and the government has dedicated resources to help develop this industry.” “In terms of agrotourism we want to get people involved through education with two model farms.” Tilapia Farmer ON: (i) What are people’s reactions to what you are doing here? (ii) What role do you see yourself playing in agrotourism? 16
  23. 23. Critical Issues Affecting Agrotourism Enterprise and DevelopmentFeedback from existing stakeholders and potential investors in Barbadian agrotourismoutline the following issues as potential drawbacks to the development of the sector:$ Hotels and restaurants appear to import large quantities of fish, meat and vegetables for their main course menus and extra-regionally sourced fruit for breakfast menus instead of utilizing local or regional fares$ Basic infrastructures such as seating, bathroom facilities, and concession stands at potential and existing farm-based sites are needed to allow visitors to fully experience Barbados’ natural assets$ Local farmers are not accustomed to organizing leisure activities for visitors as a complementary source of income. They lack business training and practical skills in tour guiding operations$ There is no identifiable Health & Wellness tourism industry in Barbados$ There Barbados Black Belly Sheep is not yet promoted or branded as a heritage breed livestock$ The supply chain for the local agro-trade sector is largely unstructured. There are no industrial arrangements for the marketing and supply of Barbadian made agricultural products and services to the tourism sector 17
  24. 24. Best Practice Example for AgrotourismThe Oistins Fish Festival celebrates the contribution made to Barbadosby those persons involved in the local fishing industry. The festivaltakes place around Easter and is a unique attraction that offers fun andentertainment for both locals and visitors alike. However, each Fridayand Saturday night hundreds of locals and visitors flock to Oistins forthe Fish-Fry, an opportunity to enjoy the local food - fried and grilledfish, fish cakes, sweet potato, breadfruit salad or chips, macaroni pie,and other Bajan cuisine.The success of this weekly event is based on the entrepreneurship ofthe village fishermen who partner with local cooks to create anenjoyable experience in a relaxed atmosphere on their own turf.Oistins fishing village has its own appeal as an attraction. Add to thatthe food, music, and the continued community support from localpatrons who routinely make the weekend pilgrimage for 100% Bajancuisine, and the result is a sustainable community-based agrotourismattraction that visitors flock to experience. Key Agencies Involved in Agrotourism in Barbados Barbados Ministry of Tourism Barbados Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development & Planning Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. Barbados Agricultural Society Barbados Agricultural Development Culinary Alliance of Barbados Management Corporation Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Association of Women in Agriculture Agriculture Barbados Tourism Authority 18
  25. 25. 2.2 COUNTRY STUDY: COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICACountry OverviewDominica has become known as theNature Island of the Caribbean. It doesnot have the beaches that otherCaribbean islands are known for;therefore it was a late entrant to thehighly developed Caribbean tourismbusiness.The sharp growth of nature tourism andeco tourism worldwide over the pastdecade helped to establish Dominica inthe tourism business. Dominica’s touristattractions are largely nature based and consist of towering mountains, majestic scenery,waterfalls, the largest boiling lake in the world, bird watching, hiking trails, nationalparks one of which is a World Heritage site, spectacular diving, (rated by Skin Divermagazine as one of the top ten places for diving world wide and one of the top five in theCaribbean for the quality of its reefs), whale watching and the increasingly popular eventattraction of the World Creole Music Festival. The island is also home to the descendantsof the original Caribs who gave the Caribbean its name.In 2003, Dominicas economy experienced a 0.3% growth rate after two consecutiveyears of economic contractions. This marginal increase was largely due to an estimated5% expansion of the tourism industry, a 4.6% expansion of the manufacturing sector anda 4.6% contraction of real output from the agricultural sector in 2003.The islands agricultural sector first became vulnerable after tropical storms devastated aquarter of the 1994 crop. Since then, the Dominican economy has been stimulated bygrowth in tourism, construction, wholesale and retail and manufacturing industries. The 19
  26. 26. island of Dominica currently depends on agriculture (17.6% GDP), government services(22.3%), financial services (15.7%), and transport & communication (14.3%) as the maindrivers behind its economy 3 .Dominicas tourism industry is expanding gradually with government support. However,development of tourism has been slow compared with that on neighbouring islands, butDominica expects to benefit from the growth of ecotourism.The Government of Dominica, in partnership with the European Union, is currentlyimplementing a three year Eco-Tourism Development Programme at a cost of EC$16million. The objective of the Programme is to strengthen Governments national policyof diversification of the economy by focusing on sustainable eco-tourism development asa source of income, jobs and other socio-economic benefits for the country.Source CTO 2004 Statistics3 Caribbean Development Bank Annual Economic Review 2003, p. 48 20
  27. 27. Tourism highlights for Dominica are presented in Table 3 above. In 2004, Dominicawelcomed 80,000 tourists. The Caribbean market has always been the main source oftourists to Dominica. The other major source of tourists is the United States. In 2004,cruise passenger arrivals to Dominica more than doubled the 177,000 of 2003. Some383.6 thousand arrived at the destination an increase of 116.7 percent.Table 4 recounts the decline in banana production in Dominica over the years. 21
  28. 28. Sample Agrotourism InitiativesResearch indicates that Dominica Foreign Exchange Leakage is about 45 percent 4 . Thismeans that from every tourism dollar generated 45 cents ventures out of the country inthe form of payments for foreign beverages, fruits and vegetables, arts and crafts, meatsand fishes, et cetera.Given the resilient agricultural foundation that exists in Dominica, this statistic is adisturbing one and hails for the development of industrious linkages between tourism andagriculture.There are however, some endeavours thatpromote inter-sectoral linkages on the island.For instance, the Giraudel Flower GrowersGroup began as a Woman in Agriculture groupin 1984 promoting flower growing, and otherhorticultural activities. The group comprised 10women with average individual farm sizes of1.5 acres.This group of horticulturalists have now created a 2-acre Botanical Centre as a touristattraction and cruise ship stop point. Four women have been trained and certified as TourGuides and are employed in the tourist sector. The group held a Giraudel Flower Showin 2004, they have expanded their greenhouses to include fruits and vegetables and theyengage in community tourism offering home and garden tours.Another agrotourism initiative in Dominica is the Three Rivers Ecolodge. The ecolodgeis set on 6.5 acres of land and the cottages are surrounded by organic gardens. Most ofthe vegetables used for meal preparation are grown on the property and the owners have4 Sustainable tourism development in small island developing States Document E/CN.17/1996/20/Add.3 of29 February 1996 UNDP 22
  29. 29. taken the time to label their crops so that visitors can see the variety of foods availablelocally, and how they grow.Three Rivers offers a number ofcommunity based activities and showcaseenvironmentally sound practices, host freeschool visits and give guided tours andworkshops, explaining renewable energy,organic farming, and the sustainablelifestyle in general.Bonsai Demonstration Pilot Project, administered under the Young Farmers Programmeof the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and the Environment, is a horticulture basedbusiness built on the production of organic vegetables e.g. tomatoes, lettuce, sweetpeppers, cauliflower and broccoli; exotic plants and flowers and a specialty in theproduction of Bonsai. The official business name is ‘Success’.Young agri-entrepreneurs have created a vegetable and scenic flower garden in the heartof the city, Roseau where tours are given to groups, tourists, schools, and locals. Duringtours various unique plants not common to Dominica are showcased, Bonsai being one ofthe main highlights. In addition to the tours, the operators of the organic vegetable and flower garden supply over eighteen restaurants in the city including Garraway and Fort Young Hotel. The dependency upon Success by these business places forfresh produce everyday is an added plus for more production in quality and quantity. 23
  30. 30. Stakeholders’ CommentsDominica appears to have limitless resources for agrotourism which are yet untapped.Some agents are capitalizing on the natural assets of the island and have developedunique offerings. Some of their ideas are expressed in the dialogue box below. “…..Sugar Cane bagasse is used to cultivate wood eating mushrooms. Then lemongrass is added as a mulch to keep away insects. We grow things in the rainforest without disturbing the biodiversity and ecology. ” Farmer/Agrotourism Operator ON: “What goes on here? “….We encourage people to visit a Carib Indian home. Each home does a different activity: make bamboo fish traps, make wines from banana and passion fruit or they can learn to make cassava bread. “We have no intention of asking for outside funding because of the restrictions they place on how things need to be done. Access to funding for this kind of project is easy but not desirable.” Leader, Amerindian Cultural Village ON: (i) What goes on here?” and (ii) “Was financing this venture easy? “Agrotourism has many dimensions. Ecotourism for example has elements of agro and culture. There are so many opportunities but what we lack here in Dominica is entrepreneurial spirit and risk takers who would drive development.” Agro-tour Operator ON: “What can be done to improve the marketing of your country’s farm based & eco-tourism offerings? “What we need is a revolutionary approach to marketing Dominica. Marketing efforts should be directed to Germany, Switzerland and France, instead of America. We don’t need mass tourism. 80 – 90% of hotels in Dominica are locally owned AND consist of 30 rooms or less. Ours is a different product.” Hotel & Restaurant Owner/Garden Tour Operator ON: “What can be done to improve the marketing of your country’s farm based & eco-tourism offerings? 24
  31. 31. Critical Issues Affecting Agrotourism Enterprise and DevelopmentConsidering that Dominica’s tourism industry is considered to be still in its infancy, adiscussion on agrotourism as a sub sector of agriculture or tourism will be ineffectual.Instead, this section examines problems faced by government authorities and privateenterprise regarding agricultural diversification and tourism development. $ Limes, grapefruits and other citrus fruits are wasted whereas they can be exported to nearby countries such as Barbados. Dominican produce are not adequately marketed on a regional level $ Stakeholders in the tourism industry in Dominica need certification and licensing to raise standards in the tourism sector $ Dominica currently lies heavily on external funding for diversification but policy makers need to explore internal resources for sustainable solutions e.g. health (natural medicines) and horticultural ventures $ There are limited incentives and efforts to use avocados, mangoes, breadfruit, and flowers in agro-processing or to produce essential oils for the overseas market $ International demand cannot be met by the local production of bay oil. Dominica is one of the largest producers of bay oil by due to the scarcity of firewood production has significantly decreased $ Soil conservation and land use needs to be regulated for modified banana production and crop diversification 25
  32. 32. Best Practice Example for AgrotourismRainforest Mushrooms is an organic mushroom farm located in the rainforests of central Dominica, in the Morne Trois Piton World Heritage Site.The owner provides guided tours, showing the mushroom growing processfrom start to finish. There is a Mushroom Café on site which servesspecialty foods prepared using mushrooms, in addition to a medicinalreishi mushroom tea. Apart from mushrooms, the owner grows herbs andspices which he uses to produce and sell essential oils such as Bay,Patchouli, Jasmine, Roses, Bouquet fleur, Sandalwood, Citronelle,Coconut, Lime, Castor. His herbs including ginger root and leaves, locallygrown vanilla bean, and tumeric root are used to make indigenousmedicines. The site also has an art studio which features pieces inspiredby the rainforest. Rainforest Mushrooms exemplifies the potential forsuccessful farm-based tourism in the Caribbean. Key Agencies Involved in Agrotourism in Dominica Dominica Ministry of Tourism Dominica Ministry of Agriculture Dominica Banana Marketing Corporation Dominica Festivals Commission National Development Corporation Community Tourism Foundation Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture 26
  33. 33. 2.3 COUNTRY STUDY: JAMAICACountry OverviewThe Jamaican tourismindustry has beenmaking significantstrides in recent years.According to thePlanning InstitutesEconomic and SocialSurvey of Jamaica(2006), performance-based indicators suchas stop-over tourist arrivals, the number of cruise ship passengers, room nights sold andhotel room capacity have generally indicated a growing tourism industry.Jamaica is one of the Caribbeans leading tourism destinations, with a total of 2.6 millionvisitor arrivals in 2005, of whom approximately 1.5 million were stopover visitors. In thesame year, gross visitor expenditure was worth US$1.545 million (PIOJ, 2006).Several studies have shown, however, that despite a burgeoning tourism industry, the netgains from the industry are far below gross receipts. A recent study carried out byDiaram Ramjee Singh (2003), an economist in the Department of Management Studies,University of the West Indies, Mona, reveals that Jamaica experiences a 50 per cent rateof foreign exchange leakage, meaning that 50 cents out of every dollar earned by tourismexits the Jamaican economy 5 .5 Time to rethink agro-tourism link, Kevon Rhiney Ph. D. candidate, Department of Geography andGeology, University of the West Indies, Mona. 27
  34. 34. If Jamaica is to maximise its benefits from tourism development, ways must be found toincrease backward economic linkages, including utilising local food products in thetourism industry. In contrast to tourism, the Jamaican agricultural sector has beenexperiencing a decline in production over the last two decades. This is felt especially inthe export sub-sector.According to the Planning Institute of Jamaica (2006), production levels in the traditionalexport crops sub-sector fell by 32.1 per cent between 2003/4 and the 2004/5 crop yearsand export earnings declined by 54.7 per cent to US$25.7 million over the same period.Jamaica is now a net importer of food, importing US$602 million worth of food whileexporting only US$193 million worth in 2005.Most of the emphasis is still centred on the traditional export market leaving the domesticagricultural sector largely on its own. There is a need to diversify the agrarian sector andtap into not only new forms of cropping systems but new markets. The tourism industryprovides one such opportunity 6 .Given the staggering statistics presented for Jamaica so far (which were not available forother islands), it may hardly seem necessary to provide a glimpse of tourism performancein 2004. However for consistency in analysis, Table 5 illustrates tourism highlights inJamaica for 2004 while Table 6 reflects the trends towards importation of food to supplythe tourism industry.6 Time to rethink agro-tourism link, Kevon Rhiney Ph. D. candidate, Department of Geography andGeology, University of the West Indies, Mona. 28
  35. 35. Source CTO 2004 Statistics 29
  36. 36. 30
  37. 37. Sample Agrotourism InitiativesThe success of the Santoy FarmersCooperative in Jamaica has beenextensively documented andreferenced. However a Farmer toFarmer Program has been introducedto help farmers improveenvironmentally-friendly productionof vegetables in Jamaica andincreasing the marketability ofproducts targeted at high growth end-users such as hotels and supermarkets.The Farmer to Farmer Program targets high-value, non-traditional and specialty crops and products, working with small and medium producers, processors and others in the commodity chain. Farmer to Farmer is currently working with a cooperative in the community of Treasure Beach. The goals of the cooperative are: providing delicious organic vegetablesto the community of Treasure Beach and its visitors, gaining a market for organicallygrown produce, and achieving certified organic status on each of the associations farms.These goals all work towards the major long term objective of providing healthy, cleanfood to the people of the community while earning a profit and educating others on thebenefits of organic. 31
  38. 38. Walkers Wood is one of the most populartours for ‘foodies’ in Jamaica. It was thefirst company to export Jerk Seasoning fromJamaica and currently produces and exportsmore than 20 products including traditionalJerk Seasoning, Jerk Marinade, Dried Jerkand Jerk BBQ Sauce, as well as a selectionof traditional sauces and condiments.The company offers a tour of their factorywhich is located in the quaint village ofWalkers Wood, near Ocho Rios. The JerkCountry Tour is an informative but fun-filled journey into Jamaicas food heritage takingthe visitor “from the field to the table”. Visitors get a chance to see where some of theherbs and spices and grown, how they are used to prepare the food, and then they areinvited to sample the jerk cuisine.Croydon Plantation Tour embraces two agrotourism themes; agro-heritage and culinarytourism. This working coffee and pineapple plantation is located in the Catadupa mountains, and is also the birthplace of Samuel Sharpe, one of Jamaica’s National Heroes, who gave his life in the fight against slavery. Visitors are encouraged to taste the different varieties of pineapples and citrus, sample a piece of sweet juicy sugarcane or try exotic and delicious fruits drinks made from them. The tour includes a walk through coffee groves and the tour guide explains the secrets of coffee cultivation and processing. Lunch on the premises is served with world famous Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. 32
  39. 39. Stakeholders’ CommentsResponses from key stakeholders in Jamaica suggest that while some large operators arereaping benefits from agrotourism enterprise, the small businesses, especially the farmersare missing out on golden opportunities in this sector. Comments from representatives inagriculture and tourism agencies are captured in the dialogue box below. “The way we have tried to integrate agriculture and tourism here on our farm is to ask the question: when a hurricane comes and the crops blow down, what are the other things that we can offer as products?” “We decided to focus on sustainable agriculture, education and ecotourism to preserve our business and also the heritage of the farm.” Large Commercial Farmer ON: “What goes on here? “If you look around the island of Jamaica, there is a lot of waste that can be converted into exotic jams and jellies, candy and aroma-therapeutic lines. We are not fully utilizing our materials” “We have to try to convert our farmers to understand that no matter how small you are, you are in business. There are opportunities for small farms for instance to provide special products to hotels and restaurants who do not need large volumes but consistent supply of say items like beans and peas. The price of certain items makes their production, even in small quantities a viable business.” Government Official ON: “How can we link agriculture with tourism more efficiently?” “We don’t produce for export but other people buy our product to export overseas, so labeling and packaging is critical.” Agro-processor ON: “Do you export your product? 33
  40. 40. Critical Issues Affecting Agrotourism Enterprise and DevelopmentSome factors that prevent strategic partnerships between tourism and agriculture inJamaica as defined by stakeholders include: $ inconsistent supply of produce due to unavailable water supply $ inadequate storage and packing facilities $ inadequate land preparation equipment $ ineffective leadership, poor interpersonal relationships and lack of trust between members in farmers’ cooperatives $ lack of technical knowledge for improved production, post harvest management and marketing activities $ lack of financial management skills and low financial base on which to build $ the absence of policies linking the sectors $ improper business practices $ lack of understanding of the international markets and trade regimes $ lack of understanding of marketing and consumer behaviour in the tourism market place 34
  41. 41. Best Practice Example for AgrotourismTwickenham Industries began operations in 1994 producing bammies madefrom cassava with 2 workers. It now employs 22 persons. Initially 2cassava farmers were utilized for production, now the business provides amarket for in excess of 80 farmers who supply cassavas to the enterprise.Twickenham industries not only supplies bammies to the local market, itnow exports to North America and Europe having invested in more efficientmachinery and infrastructure. As the efficiency of the business improved,the owners used proceeds from the operation to develop additional value-added products from cassava, including the unique cassava pancake mix,cassava flour and methane gas from the treatment of cassava wastewater.Three fruit based (guava, otaheite apple and mango) pancake syrups arebeing manufactured to compliment the pancake mix. By its success,Twickenham industries has demonstrated that small agro-processingenterprises which utilize good manufacturing and management practicescan be profitable. Key Agencies Involved in Agrotourism in Jamaica Jamaica Promotions Limited Jamaica Business Development Centre Jamaica Organic Agriculture Movement Ministry of Agriclture Rural Agriculture Development Agency Ministry of Tourism Entertainment & Culture Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on The International Ecotourism Society Agriculture Tourism Product Development Company 35
  42. 42. 2.4 COUNTRY STUDY: ST KITTS & NEVISCountry OverviewSt. Kitts and Nevis, are 2 miles (3 km)apart at their closest point, and bothhave luxuriant mountain rain forests,uncrowded beaches, historic ruins,towering, long-dormant volcanoes,charming if slightly dilapidatedGeorgian capitals in Basseterre (St.Kitts) and Charlestown (Nevis), intactcultural heritage, and restored, 18th-century sugar plantation inns.The two islands, despite their superficialsimilarities, have taken increasingly different routes regarding tourism. Nevis received aneconomic boost from the Four Seasons, which helped establish it as an upscaledestination. St. Kitts, however, has yet to define its identity at a time when most islandshave found their tourism niche.The economy has been dominated by the production of sugar since its introduction in the17th century, but its importance has declined consistently since the 1980s. In 1960, Nevisstopped growing cane sugar, but it remained the dominant crop on the larger island of St.Kitts, providing jobs for 30-45% of the total workforce.This level of dependence on a single agricultural commodity made the country extremelyvulnerable. To this end, the government has successfully supported diversification intomanufacturing and tourism. The economy expanded by 6% on average per year during1985-1997 mainly because of increases in tourists’ arrivals and related construction and 36
  43. 43. service activities. GNP growth slowed down significantly in 1998-2000 as a result of thedevastating effects caused by three hurricanes.The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has since reported that economic activity in StKitts and Nevis improved in 2005 with a near five percent growth in the economy, drivenmainly by the rapid expansion of tourism and related services and a surge in construction.The agricultural sector declined in 2005 due mainly to adverse weather conditions(unusually heavy rainfall in the latter quarter of 2004 and drought conditions in early2005). Sugar cane production was lower in 2005 on account of the adverse weatherconditions, the late application of fertilizers and a reduction in the acreage planted.Non-sugar agricultural production (crop and livestock) was also lower despite improvedpest control and extension support services. CDB noted that the sugar industry, which hasbeen in existence in St. Kitts for over 300 years, was closed at the end of July 2005. 37
  44. 44. Table 7 shows some tourism highlights for St. Kitts and Nevis for 2004. The islandshave been experiencing encouraging arrivals in both long stay and cruise ship visitors.Food and agriculture indicators were not available for this twin island state; however,Table 8 shows how agricultural land has been utilized up to 2001. Land Use by Sector in St. Kitts/Nevis (Acres) 38
  45. 45. Sample Agrotourism InitiativesThe St. Kitts Scenic Railway is an agro-heritage enterprise that offers visitors a nostalgicway to tour the island and learn about Caribbean culture, history, and economy ofyesteryear. The St. Kitts Railway was built between 1912 and 1926 to deliver sugar canefrom the fields to the sugar mill in the capital city of Basseterre.The Scenic Railway Tour consists of 30-mile train ride and circles the island isapproximately 4 hours. The train passes by old sugar estates with abandoned windmillsand chimneys dating back to the 1700’s, as well as many of the most important villagesand towns on St. Kitts.The Nevis Growers Association, whichinvolves 25 rural families, has a longstanding arrangement with the FourSeasons Hotel since 1992. Orders fromthe hotel are sent to the marketing divisiontwice a week by fax, which washes,grades and labels the produce to thehotel’s specification. The hotel’s purchasing department then inspects and weighsproduce on arrival. The hotel pays the growers association which distributes payment tothe farmers every fortnight. The association is managed by an executive committee,which is headed by a female farmer, and is supported by the Cooperative Unit of theMinistry of Agriculture. 39
  46. 46. Stakeholders’ CommentsInterviews with persons involved in agrotourism activities in St. Kitts and Nevisproduced mixed opinions and detailed insight into what is happening in this arena. Someof the more outstanding expressions are captured in the dialogue box below. “St. Kitts & Nevis imports over EC$7.5 million worth of fish every year. This project sought to address this.” “The response so far has been phenomenal. We are still in the pilot phase and the local restaurants have ordered out all the tilapia we have. We are now ready for production phase.” Manager – Aquaculture (tilapia) Project ON: (i) What inspired you to become involved in this project? (ii) How have people reacted to your product/service? “Nevis is virtually untouched and we have so much to offer in terms of traditional medicine. Holistic living is a way of life here; the people, the sea, the land, and the environment…..We could train people how to harness this and use it in the tourism sector.” “Donor agencies can fund projects to bring traditional medicines to market. We could get into liquid and pill medicines.” Bush Doctor ON: (i) What role do you see yourself playing in agrotourism? (ii) How can local knowledge of indigenous plants and herbs be marketed profitably? “Before the Nevis Growers Association came into existence farmers produced items and ‘hoped’ to get their produce sold.” Government Representative ON: Existing links between agriculture and tourism in St. Kitts/Nevis 40
  47. 47. Critical Issues Affecting Agrotourism Enterprise and DevelopmentFactors affecting agrotourism development in St. Kitts and Nevis relate to: $ A need for training in agro-processing, computer literacy, agri-business, project writing and entrepreneurship $ Lack of funding for equipment and materials for irrigation and other technologies needed to improve production $ Absence of a firm policy for agrotourism that will facilitate its development and growth $ Gaps in training and certification to meet international standards for providing products and services $ Lack of information on agrotourism development and initiatives in other islands $ There is no system of zoning of areas for land use determination. A major challenge facing the authorities in St. Kitts is the allocation of 10,000 acres of sugar lands to alternative uses with an equivalent economic value $ Local hotels are not committed to purchase local produce $ Lack of infrastructure needed to accommodate farm tours: running water, bathroom facilities, seating 41
  48. 48. Key Agencies Involved in Agrotourism in St. Kitts and NevisSt. Kitts Tourism Authority Nevis Tourism AuthoritySt. Kitts/Nevis Ministry of Agriculture Department of Planning and Development (Nevis)Department of the Environment (St. Kitts) 42
  49. 49. 2.5 COUNTRY STUDY: TRINIDAD & TOBAGOCountry OverviewTrinidad and Tobago, an important oiland natural gas producing country, isfast moving forward towards the statusof an industrialised country. Trinidadis rather heavily industrialised,whereas Tobago depends more ontourism and agriculture. GDP growthin 2005 was a healthy 7% due to therise in energy prices.Trinidad and Tobago has earned areputation as an excellent investmentsite for international businesses.Tourism is a growing sector, although not proportionately as important as in many otherCaribbean islands. The home of carnival, steel bands, calypso and limbo dancing,Trinidad & Tobagos blend of different cultures gives them an air of cosmopolitanexcitement.Along the north of Trinidad runs the Northern Range of mountains, looming over thecountry’s capital, Port of Spain. On the north and east coasts lie beautiful beaches. SanFernando is the island’s second town and the main commercial centre in the south.Tobago is very different from her sister isle 32km (20 miles) away. The island isbeautiful and fertile with calm waters and a number of fine beaches.Tobago has a total land area of 30,044 hectares, one third of which is considered suitablefor cultivation. Most of the agricultural holdings (71%) are small averaging less than two(2) hectares. 43
  50. 50. Within the last two decades, there has been a significant decline in the level of outputfrom and interest in agriculture in Tobago. The last estimate indicate that the agriculturesector in Tobago contributes about $8.8 million of output or 1.02% to Tobago’s GDP(PRDI, 1998). The reasons cited for the decline in agriculture relates to the underutilization of state lands, praedial larceny, high labour costs and competition from thetourism sector which has become a major contributor to GDP.At present, agriculture production comprises mainly of vegetables, root crops andlivestock such as goat and pork. Tobago is endowed with a wide variety of marine lifeand this has for decades provided economic support for the coastal villages. A largeproportion of the fish caught is processed and marketed locally, regionally andinternationally by fish processing plants on the island.Trinidad’s major agricultural crops are coffee, cocoa and sugar. There are two distincttypes of agricultural operations—the large estate or plantation that is managed by aspecialist and employs large numbers of labourers, and the small farm cultivated by theowner (or tenant) and family. The large estates are interested mainly in commercialexport crops, although the small farmers also grow some export crops. Rice, citrus, corn,cassava, peanuts, and pigeon peas are now being grown to diversify agricultural output.Table 9 on the following page shows food and agriculture indicators for Trinidad &Tobago. 44
  51. 51. 45
  52. 52. Since 1995, there has been a constant growth in total stopover tourists to Trinidad andTobago, except for 2001 and 2002, which experienced a slight drop in arrivals, as a resultof the worldwide decline in travel and tourism following the September 11th attacks inthe United States. The last quarter of 2001 showed a decline of 13% when compared tothe same period in 2000. Tourist arrivals in Trinidad and Tobago rebounded with growthof approximately 7% in 2003, 8% in 2004 and 4% in 2005. Table 10 illustrates thegrowth in the tourism sector over the past decade. 46
  53. 53. Sample Agrotourism InitiativesThe Agricultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago, in collaboration with the Ministry ofAgriculture, Land and Marine Resources host a National Agriculture Exhibition and FoodFair at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. This five day annual exhibition is now in its fifth year and is geared towards highlighting the many aspects Trinidad and Tobago’s agricultural sector. The theme of the Trinidad and Tobago Exhibition is “Oui Food”. Each year special emphasis is placed on commodities that have been identified for development in terms of agro-processing and value added activities. Some of these commodities are rabbit, tilapia, hotpepper, pumpkin, paw-paw, sweet potato and cassava. Other attractions include a“Petting Zoo,” wildlife and livestock displays, local food and beverage samplings, afarmers’ market, solar cooking demonstration, a meal planning contest and nightlyentertainment with a bar.Trinidad and Tobago’s tourismindustry has recognized the valueand meaning of food to locals andvisitors alike. The Taste T&TFestival follows on the concept ofa tasting village where patronshave their pick of sophisticatedfood fusions, created by Trinidadand Tobago’s finest chefs, as wellas commonly-found localdelicacies. 47
  54. 54. Taste T&T 2006 was produced in collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Development Company Limited, whose objective for the event was to make it the destination’s premier culinary tourism attraction by showcasing Trinidad and Tobago’s diverse culinary offerings; highlighting the creativity of thenation’s chefs and promoting the country as the premiere culinary tourism destination inthe Caribbean.The festival is supposed to appeal not only to the palette, but also the eyes and ears ofpatrons. The Hasely Crawford Stadium is transformed into an imaginative space whichdepicts the essence of Caribbean, community living. Intermittent stages and performanceareas throughout the event host performances by popular local entertainers. 48
  55. 55. Stakeholders’ CommentsOne of the observations made by the researcher is that none of the respondentsinterviewed in Trinidad & Tobago started their operation as an agrotourism enterprise.Instead the existing agrotourism activities evolved from either a financial need or basedon market response to their product. Some stakeholders’ comments are presented in thedialogue box below. “I try to play my part to promote the local food and the use of the fresh herbs and vegetables that are in season. I plan my menus around them. But it is disheartening when you see prominent business people taking their international guests to Chinese and Italian restaurants to entertain them during lunch or dinner.” Restaurant Owner ON: “What role do you see yourself playing in the culinary tourism niche? “We recognize that agriculture alone cannot sustain the family, so the tourism type activities like the tours, weddings and the cottages help to run the business.” Farmer/Agrotourism Operator ON: “How did this project come into being? “Our clients are interested in responsible tourism. They come back because they know that the money they spend is used for conservation of the environment. We get a very high level of repeat business.” Nature Centre & Lodge Operator ON: “How do you differentiate yourself from other similar businesses? “Right now business is mostly local for both the tours and the plant shop but I plan to erect cabins, a restaurant and a conference centre because I realize that places like Asa Wright Nature Centre always fully booked.” Estate Owner, Agro-Tour Operator ON: “Any plans to expand? 49
  56. 56. Critical Issues Affecting Agrotourism Enterprise and DevelopmentThe development of agrotourism in Trinidad & Tobago is affected by the followingconditions: $ General lack of interest in tourism related activities $ Absence of a policy on agrotourism $ Lack of awareness by key stakeholders of potential links between agriculture and tourism $ There is no co-ordinating mechanism to facilitate links between farmers and hoteliers $ Potential issues with timely payments by hoteliers to farmers $ Seasonality of crops, some of which can possibly be cultivated out of season $ Small scale production translates into uncompetitive prices $ Low literacy rate among farmers, age demographic is also a concern 50
  57. 57. Best Practice Example for AgrotourismThe Toco Foundation has an agrotourism which has as its objectives: • To be a major producer of organic food • To be a sustainable Agro-Tourism Project • To revitalize agriculture on the Toco Coast • To provide accommodation and services for all and sundry.The Young Farmers Project which forms part of the foundation trainspeople of all ages in crop and poultry production; grow box construction,breeding wildlife, and other agricultural activities. The foundation alsoprovides ecotours, and has recently constructed an Agrotourism Centre atAnglais Road, Cumana, Toco. The nine acre property consists of a buildingwith eight bedrooms with private verandas, a campsite and conferencefacilities. Future plans for the facility include a centre for alternativemedicine, to employ more persons from the local community, to be a majorproducer of organic and indigenous food and to educate the communityand others on the wealth that Toco possesses. The Toco FoundationProject can be used as a model for agrotourism development in ruralcommunities throughout the Caribbean. Key Agencies Involved in Agrotourism in Trinidad & Tobago Tourism Development Company Limited Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources Ministry of Tourism Ministry of Trade and Industry Toco Foundation 51
  58. 58. SECTION 3 3.1 DISCUSSION OF FINDINGSThe research reveals that some links exist between the agriculture and tourism sectors inthe countries investigated. However these links are mostly informal and unstructured.The countries examined have similar historical foundations in agriculture and havelooked to tourism to diversify their economies to some extent.While Barbados and Jamaica have stable or mature tourism sectors, St. Kitts & Nevis andDominica are now positioning themselves as island destinations. The exception to bothsituations is Trinidad whose highly developed industrial sectors negate the need todepend heavily on tourism as an income earner.The resulting phenomenon is that prospects for agrotourism development may be moreattainable in some islands than in others. In terms of the findings from this study, thefollowing are the most significant: - there is a need to create awareness about agrotourism and its potential benefits to a wide cross section of persons involved in both the agricultural and tourism sector - the countries polled have the resources and the propensity to operate successful agrotourism ventures but are in dire need of technical assistance, funding and supportive policies to facilitate them - opportunities exist for developing synergies in areas such as training, agro-trade and information networks amongst Caribbean countries - fruits and vegetables that have can be used to create value added products such as chutneys, jams, essential oils, preserves, soaps, etc. are largely underutilized 52
  59. 59. - there is a need for more targeted research in agrotourism to identify each country’s strengths and capitalize on the resources that would generate a sustainable cache of related products and services. 53
  60. 60. 3.2 EMERGING IMPLICATIONSBased on an analysis of existing agrotourism initiatives in the countries investigated,some important linkages were observed that foster partnership between the agricultureand tourism sectors. These linkages are illustrated in Figure 2 below.Figure 2 – Linkages Required for Agrotourism Enterprise Farms & Agro- processors CBOs & Hotels Private Enterprise & Rest. Gov’t Agencies & Policy Local & Marketing overseas Agency tourists Funding AgenciesThe research also suggests that key areas for agrotourism development in the regioninclude: 1. Substitutions of imported produce to capitalize on locally grown fruits, vegetables and spices 2. Export of fruits and vegetables to neighbouring Caribbean countries 3. The proliferation of more farm to table programs which forge direct links between farmers and hotels or restaurants 4. The development of demonstration farms and farm tours 54
  61. 61. Best practices discovered by this study that can help to propel agrotourism in theCaribbean forward consist of: 1. Establishing formal contracts between farmers/farmers’ associations and hotels 2. Using best practices in management and marketing to improve cottage industries and to increase business 3. Developing the working farm as a tourism attraction so that visitors can actively engage in its daily operation 4. Pooling resources to organise a unique community-based attraction or enterprise that features agricultural and hospitality components 5. The use of festivals to promote agricultural activities and culinary diversityFigure 3 presents an overall picture (SWOT) of the agrotourism sector in the fivecountries studied.Figure 3 – SWOT Analysis Caribbean Agrotourism Sector STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES ∗ Exotic variety of Caribbean fruits and ∗ No policy framework for agrotourism vegetables ∗ Disconnect between agriculture and ∗ Agricultural history and potential tourism sectors ∗ Global awareness of Caribbean as tourist ∗ Limited infrastructure (especially on destination farms) to facilitate agrotourism ∗ Diverse culinary offerings ∗ Inadequate awareness about ∗ Accessible agrotourism resources: rivers, agrotourism and its potential for forests, farms, medicinal plants, food, diversification etc. OPPORTUNITIES THREATS ∗ Agrotourism is a global travel trend ∗ Public sector policy may not favor ∗ Plantations can be used to host agrotourism development as priority agricultural and tourism activities ∗ Historical tendency to import high ∗ Health & Wellness tourism using quantities of produce to supply tourism Caribbean herbs and plants industry ∗ Caribbean style farm tours ∗ Some agrotourism activities require ∗ Caribbean Culinary Festivals significant investment (for example insurance for farm tours, seating, etc) 55
  62. 62. 3.3 RECOMMENDATIONS & CONCLUSIONSThe following recommendations are based on the findings of the research: 1. Umbrella organisation for tourism in the Caribbean, CTO should sensitize key decision makers in agriculture and tourism as to the potential that agrotourism holds for income generation and diversification of these sectors 2. Ministries of Agriculture and Tourism in each country collaborate and develop a policy framework for strengthening the linkages between agriculture and tourism. 3. Conduct follow up research using tourist travel motivation surveys to find out what type of specific agrotourism ventures should be considered for each destination 4. Establish a national facilitating agency for agrotourism development consisting of resources trained in business law, financial management, certification issues, insurance and rural planning and development 5. Conduct an agrotourism awareness drive at the local level so that potential stakeholders can find out about income earning opportunities and requirements for entry into the sector 6. Invest in creating patents for Caribbean herbs and plants, indigenous medicines derived from them, and the production of essential oils. This investment can be used to catalyze the heath and wellness sector in the region. 56
  63. 63. CONCLUSIONConsidering that agrotourism is a novelty in the Caribbean, the existing initiatives areencouraging and in some cases quite impressive. As the level of awareness aboutagrotourism increases, the agencies/resources dedicated to its development will need toensure that the products and services are in keeping with international standards forquality, security and safety, diversity of offering and authenticity.One of the major challenges for agrotourism development in the region pertains to gettingthe major stakeholders in each sector, agriculture and tourism, to have a shared vision.Government agencies can be very protective of their domains and obligations, and thisapproach tends to be counterproductive to the notion of creating sustainable linkages.This further justifies the need for the establishment of a national agency to strategicallymanage agrotourism. The said organization needs to be involved at the public sector orpolicy making level and have the authority to promote agrotourism development in theprivate sector.The other complications associated with agrotourism in the Caribbean are not impossibleto overcome. All that is needed is a strategic approach to its development consisting ofcreative programmes or projects that are effectively managed.The results from this study indicate remarkable interest in and potential for agrotourismproducts and services in the Caribbean. Strategic investment, management and ingeniousprojects can take Caribbean agrotourism to global standards. 57
  64. 64. References CitedGunn, C. & Turgut, V. (2002). Tourism Planning: Basics, Concepts, Cases. FourthEdition New York: Routledge.Harvey, C. (2005). “Keeping the Right Balance – Sustainable Tourism ThroughDiversity”. Presentation at 7th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable TourismDevelopment, Tobago.Rhiney, K. (2006, October 29). Time to rethink agro-tourism link. Jamaica Gleaner , p 5.UNDP. (1996). Sustainable tourism development in small island developing StatesDocument E/CN.17/1996/20/Add.3 58
  65. 65. APPENDICES Appendix 1 Interview Questions – Agrotourism StakeholdersHerbal Gardens/Nature Tours1. How long have you been in operation?2. How did this project come into being?3. Describe briefly what you do here.4. How can local knowledge of indigenous plants and herbs be marketed profitably?5. Are there any linkages with university research projects, pharmaceutical companies?6. What role do you see yourself playing in the overall tourism product?7. Have you seen any changes in the trend of demands for your services?8. Do locals participate in the tours and patronize the business?9. Do you offer tours/packages for schools?10. If so, do schools utilize your services?11. What are people’s reactions/comments regarding the services you offer?Culinary Attractions1. How long have you been in operation?2. What are the challenges of obtaining local produce?3. What are the highlights of your menu?4. Have international standards (e.g ISO) been set?5. List some of the dishes used incorporating local produce.6. Are any recipes, menus available online? If so, give web address.7. Are there any plans for a cookbook?8. How do you market yourself?9. What role do you see yourself playing in the culinary tourism niche?10. Was financing easy? 59
  66. 66. 11. Are you happy with the Government’s marketing of your service within thetourism package?12. What are people’s reactions/comments regarding what you’re offering here?Ecolodges/Rural Bed & Breakfasts1. How long have you been in operation?2. Did you require funding for this project? If so, was it easy to access?3. What kinds of tours and activities do you offer?4. Are the majority of your visitors repeat guests?5. Do you get full participation in activities by guests?6. What are some of your major challenges?7. Does Government assist in any financial way with this project?8. Are you happy with the way tourism is marketed in your country?9. What are some of your visitors’ comments/reaction when they leave here?Agro-processors (with/without tours)1. How long have you been in operation?2. Describe briefly what you do here.3. Was funding required to start this project? If so, was it easy to access?4. Why did you decide to go into this facet of agro-tourism?5. Where do the majority of your visitors come from?6. Does Government subsidize any part of your operations?7. Do you export your product?8. If so, to where, what is the volume?9. Any plans to expand?10. What are people’s reaction/comments regarding what you’re offering here?Railway Corporation (St. Kitts):1. How long has it been in operation?2. What does a trip include?3. What has been the response from locals and tourists? 60
  67. 67. 4. How and why was the project conceptualized?5. What were the logistical challenges of this project?6. How is it maintained? Locally or overseas?7. Are there any plans to add further attractions to the railway?8. Has the route attracted other projects?9. What has been the response by locals and tourists?Farm based and Agro-Ecotours1. How long have you been in operation?2. What inspired /influenced you to get into eco-tourism? Or What made you decideto go into this type of attraction?3. Where do the majority of your clients come from? The Caribbean? NorthAmerica? Europe? Other?4. What do you grow here?5. Who are your main customers? (supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, export)6. Can you describe one of your tours briefly?7. Have the locals embraced your project?8. Was financing this venture easy?9. What are people’s reactions/comments regarding what you’re offering here?10. In your opinion, what else can be done to improve the marketing of yourcountry’s farm based & eco-tourism offerings? 61
  68. 68. Appendix 2 List of Persons InterviewedBarbados Name of Organisation Contact Name Background InformationBrighton Farmers Market Mr. Pile Agro-trade - fresh local produce New agro-trade project - Tilapia farmingChristina Adams Christina Adams for local use & exportEarthworks David Speiler Indigenous Art & Craft - potteryElegant Hotels Jennifer Harding Culinary tourism - interview with Chef Health & Wellness Tourism usingSandy Lane Spa Sharon Codner EarthMother Botanicals (locally made)Valenza Kellman Valenza Kellman Indigenous Art & Craft - skins Culinary tourism - Almond also has aAlmond Resorts Monty Cumberbatch special project Culinary tourism - their theme is ABCAtlantis Hotel & Restaurant Mr. Williams (All Bajan Cuisine) Culinary tourism - focus on use of localEdgewater Hotel Marjorie Riley, Anthony Maughn produceParks Plantation & Sheep Farm Dr. Williams Farm based tourism - sheep tourBoyces Tours Elaine Burton Plans for Herbal Garden TourIndigenous Potteries Hamilton Wiltshire Indigenous Art & Craft Indigenous Art & Craft - show how sheRoots & Grasses Ireka Jalani collects her materialsCaribbean Export Development Agency Aldwyn Indigenous Art & Craft -Basket WeaverWentworx Derek Went Herbal/Organic + Culinary ExploitsSunbury Plantation House Donna Simpson Agro-heritage/culinary tourismOistins Fish Fry N/A Community Tourism Use of local flora in hospitalityForever Flowers June Fielding industry Culinary Association with mixedCulinary Alliance of Barbados Ralph York membershipDominica Name of Organisation Contact Name Background InformationJungle Treking Adventure & Agro-heritage tour on a nineteenth centurySafaris Ms. Daria Eugene sugar cane plantation Agro-Eco Lodging with a Visit to an organic herb farm, discovering traditionalThree Rivers Eco Lodge Jem Winston herbal medicines & remedies Floriculture - propagates and protects delicate flowers and endangered plantGiraudel Flower Growers Group Elizabeth Alfred species. Offers a garden tour Farm & agro-eco site;herbal medicines,Rainforest Mushrooms Matthew,Christine Luke vegetarian restaurant Agro-heritage village which depictsKalinago Barana Aute Kevin Dangleben contemporary aspects of Carib life Agro-trade;exotic and common fruits andRoots Farm Karen & Roy vegetables:organic farmingEggleston Heritage Project Shirley Alexander Community tourism projectOld Market Plaza Vendors Indigenous art & crafts Agro-trade;exotic and common fruitsRoseau Market Vendors and vegetables 62