Tempting Tourists: Rural Tourism in Poland details how Polish governmental organizations and regional associations support local agritourism operations. Here’s what I took away:
European agritourism has a long history with much to teach growing efforts in the United States. What this document shows is how microenterprise organizations, the European equivalent of SBDC’s, tourism marketing organizations and rural tourism trade associations are working with Polish farmers and rural communities with a high rural tourism potential.
The question I took away from this is, who helps the farmer navigate through all these opportunities and requirements? Who helps him or her to capture all the possible benefit and avoid all the possible mistakes?
As in the United States, Polish farmers are trying to “go it alone,” relying on families and friends to start their agritourism effort – up to 80% of the lodging options. Marketing is a significant problem. Development funds are available, but how does a farmer find about about those funds?
Perhaps the most valuable lesson from this booklet is that countries all over the world are grappling with the same problems. The step that is still missing, that is hinted at in this publication is having someone – a person – who has direct, personal, regular contact with farmers in areas with the most potential for agritourism, who can help them make it happen.
If you know about somewhere, where this is being done well, please shout it out! Farmers don’t have time to come into town and see 5 people behind 5 different desks in 5 different offices to get this information. It’s too important to rural economies and rural success to be left to chance.
And, we have to keep in mind that agritourism should be HELPING the farmer succeed, not supplanting farming as I noted in my past post: Is Agritourism Good for Small Family Farmers.
Visitors are ready and willing. The interest is clearly growing.
Photo of The Museum of the Mazovian Countryside in Sierpc, Poland on Flickr by Furya