Tourism Minister CT Ravi recently held a meeting with his Cabinet colleagues – Agriculture Minister BC Patil and Horticulture Minister KC Narayana Gowda – to come out with an agri-tourism plan.
“Our intention is to promote agriculture to urban dwellers who may have never seen a farm. It will be an experiential as well as educative tour,’’ Ravi said.
This theme-based tourism is said to have been inspired by farm tours in California. Farm visits during the weekends are huge in California where people from the Silicon Valley visit orchards to get fresh fruits and Farm visits during the weekends are huge in California where people from the Silicon Valley visit orchards to get fresh fruits and vegetables besides experiencing the farm life. Farm tours in California are divided into special tours with visits to farms growing
With corporate agriculture on the cards in the coming months after the State amends the Land Reforms Act, there is a huge scope for farm visits like in the USA.
Ravi said that agri-tourism will bring in investments directly and indirectly to the farmers. “It will be a source of income for farmers as one can charge per visitor per trip while at the same time it will generate income for tour operators as well as promote local businesses,’’ the Minister said.
The Minister said that the idea was still in the nascent stages and there are plans to organise trips around Agriculture University farms and wineries.
Being an MLA from Chikmagaluru, Ravi is also considering visits to coffee estates. “It can be categorised into different sections – trips during the flowering season, during harvest, to make tourists understand and experience the process from bean to coffee cup.
It can also be a trekking experience in coffee estates,’’ he said. He said that the plan will be introduced on an experimental basis and then extend across the state, and that the tourism department would play the role of a facilitator and promoter. “We want private people to operate it bringing their best professional skills. We don’t want to run it,’’ he said.