Agritourism activities in the Mopani District Municipality, Limpopo Province, South Africa: perceptions and opportunities29 January 2014
Farms in South Africa have to compete in a very hostile agricultural economic environment and it has become imperative for farmers to find new ways of generating additional income. Research undertaken in the Mopani District Municipality (MDM) in the Limpopo Province of South Africa identified agritourism as a potential means to this end. The main aim of this primarily qualitative study was to gain a better understanding of the perceptions and opportunities for agritourism in the study area. Data were mainly collected through interviews and questionnaires. Participants consisted of farmers and tourists, as well as owners of existing agritourism farms within the MDM. Five current active agritourism establishments were identified. Key findings revealed that agritourism is not being utilised to its full potential. Although perceptions of respondents towards agritourism are positive, marketing around it is insufficient and not all farmers are willing to host agritourism activities on their farms for various reasons. However, the MDM is a tourist hub with many visitors passing through the area en route to the Kruger National Park. Therefore, the potential already exists to host agritourism activities that will benefit farmers in various ways. By developing farm trails, scheduling daily farm activities, using information brochures, forming networks with existing tourist establishments, encouraging the use of local and fresh produce and providing good roadside signage, farmers can gain increased exposure and recognition for what they do and opportunities for growth and development may be realised.