Countrysides and rural areas can be the last hold out against cola, jeans, Toyotas and Chelsea as cities homogenize cultures and people, and every other destination looks similar.
So, if you want to celebrate the fantastic differences among 7 plus billion people fitting into the world, target rural tourism and the country side.
My husband and I had a wonderful 5-day drive in the rural Gascon Region of France and chose to go through and visit small villages instead of big cities.
We had wonderful discoveries as we happen to see the old river docks that used to play significant roles in transport and the strategic role rivers played in development.
It was a joy to encounter people who truly represent their owm localities and are proud of these. Also, to be able to see many of the produce we often just see in our own supermarkets. Seeing bananas grow where they are truly native and having a taste of these fruits straight from the tree was quite an experience.
Last spring, we went to Assisi and I saw many signs for agro-tourism which ten years ago were not there.
Rural tourism is a growth industry but it also protects some of the ways of life that one can hardly find in cities. It is not just farm stays. That's different. For a more authentic experience, do it now.
7 Benefits of Rural Tourism
1. Generates employment and income for the residents of remote villages. This is most especially beneficial to women who often have no new opportunities to earn income away from home.
2. Creates a market and appreciation for local products and services...and keeps them alive.
3. Encourages conservation and care of natural resources such as the rivers, forests, mountains as well as local fauna and flora, birds, fish and almost extinct animals. When these are valued as living assets to attract income, they are usually cared for.
4. Provides incentives to preserve some of the old customs and traditions, crafts, traditional festivals, architecture, food and other practices unique to certain cultures.
5. Given that services are often provided by residents of the village, rural tourism benefits the village in that there is greater cooperation among villagers as they operate the local enterprise of providing for the tourists.
6. Provides opportunities for mutual sharing of cultures. Hopefully, these encounters will result in greater understanding among peoples and closer ties to the global family.
7. Helps slow urban drift as it gives a better economic future for families in rural areas.
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Have you been on rural tourism? Share with us your experience.