In my opinion: Nothing new about combining farming with tourism
Having read Martin Hesp's article, regarding the return visit by Dartmoor farmers to Switzerland and also his previous article on the visit to Widecombe Fair by Swiss farmers, I would like to raise issue with your banner headline; "Swiss farmers show how agri-tourism can work."
The concept of combining farming and the landscape with tourism is nothing new. Many years ago, Londoners used to go hop picking in Kent. Yes, it was work, but it was also their holidays and a chance to enjoy a rural life and scenery for a couple of weeks. The family of my late father-in-law farmed in Kent, although they were not hop growers. During the late summer many families came back year after year to help them with harvest and fruit picking in exchange for their keep, which of course was their holidays.
Closer to home in the 1920s and 1930s, my late grandmother would take in guests to stay at Sherberton, as time went on she also offered horse riding, so they were able to venture further afield and enjoy more of Dartmoor. This progressed after the war, when my mother and father developed this venture into a large pony trekking establishment. People would come for a week's riding on Dartmoor, with the accommodation provided at neighbouring farms for an all-in price. Many of the guests would enjoy helping with the farm tasks in the evenings. Now if this is not combining farming, tourism and the landscape what is?
This was a type of business that flourished in other parts of Dartmoor as well as in Wales and Scotland. Perhaps I should remind my good friend Andy Bradford, that his parents were one of the farms who provided the accommodation all those years ago. Over the years, we had many visitors from most countries of Europe, including Switzerland, so just maybe somebody took the idea home with them!
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So the Swiss may have invented a word to describe what they do, but not a concept, they just have a modern take on marketing.