A Research on Agritourism Development

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Starting from the current situation and following the forecasts made, it was found that the forecast situation is satisfactory, the area being one with high tourist potential. Consequently, the premise of this scientific paper, in the sense that the people have become aware of the existence of great tourist potential, is supported by the statement that the total accommodation capacity of the Apuseni Mountains area is about 74% of accommodation capacity at national level, with good expectations in the future. Given the fact that the area confronts many disparities, described in Table 4, it can be stated that agritourism activity has the potential for development, being a particularly valuable one, which somewhat supports the sustainability of this field of activity for rural area of Apuseni Mountains, through many benefits [49,50]:

It ensures unaltered preservation of rural structures and the ways of living, customs and traditions, in a word of a traditional culture made available to tourists. This form of tourism is a multifunctional activity, representing more than just a stay at a peasant guesthouse. In general, the interest in natural and rational nutrition represents a factor of attraction that is increasingly manifested by tourists from developed countries. Due to the relatively small size of the companies involved (most of them family business), agritourism is able to satisfy the demands of tourists for quality, intimacy and originality, and the flexibility of purchased services ensures their adaptability to individual needs.

Diversification and, in conclusion, a certain stabilization of the local economy, with the possibility of creating some business opportunities [51,52] and through them the emergence of new jobs.

the superior capitalization of the natural and anthropic valences of rural settlements from the area studied through agritourism, the accent being placed on maintaining attractive traditional components at the same time with the increasing the requirements of modern, competitive tourism; co-participation and co-hosting of tourist-host and host-receptor, which are defining elements.

Positive evolutions among tourists-that come in contact with other mentalities, customs, with another way of organizing life, as well as among hosts who might learn about a series of characteristics of the environment and the places from where tourists come from. Thus, through the exchange of information, the rural world comes out of isolation, and it protects its cultural dimension, viability and stability through tourism.

Nowadays, the growth of global tourism has caused a significant interest in research focused on the impact of the tourism on environment and community, specifically on agritourism structures. [53,54] The development of agritourism [55,56], in the studied area, will lead to a sustainable economic development of rural localities. From the forecasts, we can gather that there will be positive influences on the environment, agriculture, transport, construction, processing and food-processing industries, and services from various fields. The development of rural entrepreneurship, in the agritourism field, based on managerial knowledge and non-polluting technologies, in harmony with the principles of sustainable development, can certainly become a profitable activity for the inhabitants of the Apuseni Mountains, ensuring them a decent living and a job.

Therefore, entrepreneurs from the area can, through agritourism activity, develop a successful model in order to capitalize the tourist potential of the area, and to supplement the income from agricultural holdings through the opportunity of adding a modest income from tourism activities. Such a proposal aims at an approach focused on that area, which capitalizes the advantages of the region: agriculture, tourism and recreational activities.


The reason for choosing the Apuseni Mountains area derives from the fact that it has high agritourism potential, so the desire to highlight this area is justified. We support the above affirmation by the fact that the area takes part of the rural areas with special tourist potential, at the European level, which can offer to tourists a variety of tourism products.

This paper has as its purpose to highlight some aspects regarding the importance of the necessity of implementing the sustainability of the agritourism field, with benefits for rural settlements, taking as an area of study the mountainous rural environment of the Apuseni Mountains. During the study, we drew some conclusions that have been demonstrated in the paper:

At present, the combination between sustainable rural development and tourism facilities represent a “must have”, so a particular importance is given to agritourism, both in the specialized literature and in practice. The rural settlements where agritourism will be practiced will become places where all elements of local sustainable development will be assembled, and become a possible alternative to the problems of agriculture and the “health” of the rural environment, the development of agritourism, related to the evolution of agriculture, takes many forms and brings many benefits also for tourists that are willing to practice this activity if some principles are respected, these aspects are underlined in Figure 1, Figure 2, Table 1, Table 2.

In order to underline the evolution of the current situation of Romanian agritourism guesthouses and to make future forecasts, a logistic model, according to Table 2, was used. We can conclude that, regarding this purpose at the Romanian level, there are 2556 agritourism accommodation structures (see Table 3-current situation) with 44,499 accommodation places in year 2017, concentrated in different geographic areas of the country and using a logistic model; the result is that in 2030 these structures will be NATE2030 = 7113 agritourism guesthouses (see Table 3-future forecasts).

One of the sub-purposes was to achieve a concrete study on the Apuseni Mountains by using a questionnaire so it can highlight the aspects related to: information about the characteristics of respondents; the surface of the farm and the existence of specialized training; the development and capitalization of households in the area analyzed through agritourism; the motivation of tourists to practice agritourism in the area under analysis; and the identification of the desire to collaborate in order to improve the agritourism product from the owners of agritourism structures. Therefore, we can conclude that, regarding the capitalization of the products from the farm through agritourism, a favorable trend is registered (Table 8). Regarding the capitalization of craft activities through tourism with the involvement of tourists, this registered a positive trend mostly at the level of Cluj and Salaj counties, but also a negative one at the level of Alba, Bihor, Arad, Hunedoara counties (Table 8). The owners of tourist locations have entrepreneurial skills, in general, and less specialized knowledge in tourism and management fields (Table 7). From the experience of agritourism farm owners, the tourists are attracted by the boarding house/area, due to the exceptional tourist resources and the quality-price report (Table 9). The research shows that the owners of agritourism guesthouses identify as future actions the increase of agritourism product quality/branding and, secondly, that it is necessary to create tourism programs that focus on the life of the farm. (Table 10).

For the Apuseni Mountains area, some future forecasts were made by using a logistic model, and it was found that the forecast situation is a positive and satisfactory one; so the first indicator analyzed, NATE, will increase to 261 agritourism guesthouses in 2030, the second indicator, IAA, will also have a satisfactory evolution to 18.6% in 2013, and the third indicator POA, will also rise to 540 persons occupied in agritourism in 2030, according to the results from Table 12.
The time series for 2010–2017 indicate a significant increase regarding the indicators studied (IAA, NATE, POA). This aspect is largely due to the European/national support and funding programs that have been intensively carried out during this period, but also to a tendency to change the opinions of the population, especially young people. This is also evidenced by the increase in employment (IAA), which is noticeably higher in the Apuseni Mountains compared to Romania (Romania’s IAA shows an increase of 26.61% in the period 2010–2017 while at the level of the Apuseni Mountains, the IAA shows an increase of 52.94%). This difference was observed against the background of a relatively similar growth in the number of units: NATE increased by 88.77% at the level of the whole country and at the level of the Apuseni Mountains only by 61.68%, but also a significant increase. Also the growth rate of the occupied population (POA) is higher in the Apuseni Mountains, the increase observed in this period being 25.18%, while in Romania the growth was 13.86%. These details clearly show the sustainability of an improved attitude of the population in terms of options regarding such non-tourist activities, which does not exhaust resources and preserves the environment. Moreover, the local population growth trend in these areas (POA) indicates with great certainty the possibility of professional reconversion of people who not long ago were undertaking other activities in the sense of being able to carry out activities that support and induce sustainability.

From the previous points in the paper, we have concluded that, regarding the specific peculiarities of agritourism activity from the Apuseni Mountains area, during recent years it developed great tourism potential, which has gradually begun to be used through agritourism structures to attract tourists throughout the year. Given the fact that the area is confronted with many disparities, described in Table 4, the statement that agritourism supports the sustainability of this mountainous rural area through many benefits, expressed in the text, is real. The transformations that need to take place in the rural area to support the connection between sustainable development and agritourism, in our opinion, are:

raising the level of civilization and comfort of the boarding houses, in accordance with their originality and diversity.

change of mentality, by giving up a way of thinking synthesized by the phrase “this is fine, too”, and understanding the exigencies and necessity of professionalism and performance in carrying out agritourism activities. As generous as the supply of certain components is, it does not necessarily prove to be profitable unless it manifests itself in a system that integrates all the factors that define the agritourism product (accommodation, tourist movement, animation, various activities, services, courtesy, exemplary cleanliness, attention to detail, etc.).

the development of entrepreneurial spirit among the “natives”. Agritourism can only be developed under conditions of risk assumption, by those from rural households with the development of human health and the “health” of the environment, and through this achieve the main desideratum—the sustainability of the rural environment.

Obviously, it is not easy for transformations to take place in the studied area, especially because of the large territorial extension, but in the long term agritourism can support the emergence of horizons in the sustainable development of rural settlements, at least for the analyzed area.


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