Cape Town - Agri-tourism is the perfect escape for city slickers with dreams of a farm life, and although this niche market hasn't yet taken off in South Africa, Farm to Fork wants to develop this niche tourism to give tourists a truly unique experience.
Farm to Fork forecasts the potential for a thriving tourism offshoot that targets South Africans opting for 'staycations' rather than spending money on far-flung holidays.
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This is a brainchild of the Sustainable Tourism Partnership Programme (STPP) which focuses on rural development affiliated with tourism. Their tours combine food, agricultural, adventure and nature tourism into one big package that focuses on giving travellers the experience to farm their own food.
It feeds into the idea of the share economy and experiential tourism, which must be a mix of many activities, astonish travellers, make memories and be unique.
"We want people to enjoy what the earth gives them, instead of lying at a resort doing nothing," says Caroline Ungersbock from STPP at the World Travel Market (WTM). She also believes this type of tourism is great for families as many city kids have no idea what food outside of a supermarket looks like.
"We want to move away from 'greenwashing' and focus on real experiences."
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The tours will run in Hermanus in Western Cape; Magaliesburg, Hartebeespoortdam, Soweto in Gauteng and the Midlands Meander in KZN, the first starting in September this year.
The tours include hands-on farm experience, outdoor culinary art classes, leisure adventures and farm to fork meals.
The mission is to allow tourists to incorporate farm visits into their holidays and develop a relationship with the farmers.
Some of the farm activities include fruit farming, herb growing and cheese making, and the food will be cooked along 'slow food' principles of being good, clean and fair. All meat also has to be grass fed and free range.
This model allows money from tourism to filter down to small-scale farmers.
Leisure activities around Hartebeestpoort Dam will include balloon safari, horseback, cave exploration, mountain biking and aerial cableway, fine dining, gin tasting, township art and food experience and even a 50s street party.
WTM Africa is taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from 18 April to 20 April 2018.