Tourism is an important part of this demonstration project of Agro-Tourism. B&B, Self Catering, Gites or Chambre d’ Hotel, recreation, education and artistic content can be expected to be an integral part of the project and could be an area requiring much thought and discussion. The effect use of the countryside for all is not easy objective as to please one group could antagonism another.
There is an over supply of B&B and self catering facilities in most European countries. Originally these facilities provided accommodation at reasonable prices. International hotel chains have build two star hotels that provide a more than adequate overnight services to the travelers at low prices. To remain competitive in the overnight and short stay market services have increased to include evening meals and recreational facilities and B&B prices have risen. Many are now boutique hotels rather than simplicity B&Bs. Self catering have added comfortable furnishings and a wide range of recreational facilities, some are catered.
There are questions to be answered, and you are invited to write and discuss this subject. What is the best way to use the countryside for the benefit of everyone, what are the land owners rights, how to farmers fit into the picture, are areas of natural beauty sustainable and what land show be taken for new housing?
The Swiss Furka-Bergstreche Steam Railway pictured left, uses a track disused since the building of a tunnel that allows the railway to run year long for commercial purposes. Tourist travel on the steam railway enjoy the countryside passively and are unlikely to cause offense or damage to the pristine beauty of the area but not everyone wants to enjoy the countryside passively. What of these people? Is this the ideal tourist?
Areas of England are so popular and extensively used that in one forest recently visited every centimeter of the carpet was like a hard path and there was no undergrowth. This forest allows unrestricted use by walkers, cyclists, horse, motorbikes, 4x4s and just about everything else. Is this a good direction to follow?
The Lake district in England is so popular that it can no longer handle the throughput of traffic at certain times of the year resulting in entry restrictions. The tranquility of the lakes have been shattered by power boats resulting in further restrictions. The Malvern Hills in Worcestershire is another very heavily used area and the conservators have been black topping the paths to slow erosion. Should walkers be confined to walkways?
Walking paths, originally these paths were used by farm workers to walk to church on Sundays, are now rights of way crossing farms, woodlands, moors and so on. Is the unrestricted use of the paths, moors, meadows justified when there is a 1,000 fold increase in use from that originally intended? Should farmers have the right to relocate these paths when their use disrupts the daily work? Should the breeding grounds of birds be protected? If protected should this only occur when the object is nature conservation and not for recreational use such as shooting? How does the protection of pretty animals such a foxes upset the balance of nature when less attractive animals are exterminated?
Another area of concern is historic buildings. The photograph is of Little Morton Hall, Cheshire (National Trust). How should these be owned and developed? What recreational role do they play? Does the state contribute to their maintenance? Should only the building be retained and art and antiques moved to locations where a greater number of people can visit, see and enjoy?
Some country estates have been developed into amusement parks, safari parks and upscale residences. Are such developments appropriate? Do these developments enhance or detract from the enjoyment of the core properties?
Perhaps this is entirely off-track. Are there other and more important considerations? If so, what are they?
Tourism is very important and future development of the countryside for this purpose must receive very careful consideration and integrated with farming. It is an essential part of the Agri-Tourism project. Help get this right for visitor, farmer and environmentalist. We really would like to hear from readers as to their thoughts. Your input is needed and essential to the development of meaningful plan as to what direction this project should take. The best e-mails will be published on this site.