Mumbai, May, 2021; May 16th is celebrated as ‘World Agri-Tourism Day’. On this occasion, the ‘International Agri-Tourism Conference 2021’ was organized by Agri-Tourism Development Corporation Baramati with the support of Directorate of Tourism, Maharashtra Government on 15th -16th May’2021. The theme of this year’s conference is “Agri-Tourism – Women Farmer Entrepreneurship Development”. The conference was inaugurated on 15th May by Hon. Mr. Aditya Thackeray, Minister for Tourism and Environment, Government of Maharashtra; Mr. Dadasaheb Bhuse, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Maharashtra, Ms. Aditi Sunil Tatkare, Minister of State for Tourism, Government of Maharashtra; and Ms. Valsa Nair, Principal Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Government of Maharashtra.
Other dignitaries who attended the Opening Ceremony included Dr. Dhananjay Sawalkar, Director, Directorate of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra, Mr. Pandurang Taware, Founder, Agri Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC), Dr. Mira Gabor, Ex Principal Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Philippines; Dr. Harsh Verma, Ex Technical Director, UNWTO, Spain; Mr. Ashutosh Salil (IAS), Managing Director, MTDC; Dr. P Chandra Shekara, Director General, National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management, and Shri. D Venketesan, Regional Director, Western and South Region, Ministry of Tourism.
Minister of Tourism and Environment, Hon. Aditya Thackeray specially congratulated Mr. Pandurang Taware on organizing this conference. He said, “I am really proud that our State has taken the lead in Agri-tourism. The concept of 30% Krishi Yojana proposed by the Agriculture Minister Dadasaheb Bhuse for women farmers is highly commendable. More than 60% of the country’s population engage in Agriculture and it is crucial to link Agriculture to Tourism. Agri tourism is instrumental for employment generation and economic improvement especially in these pandemic times when people have lost jobs, livelihoods etc. Agri-tourism has given us the opportunity to bring together the two major sectors – tourism and agriculture. The current pandemic offers an opportunity for Agri-Tourism to grow as one of the fastest growing sectors in India. One of the safest ways to enjoy travel right now is to visit rural areas, experience rural life and enjoy clean environment. “
On this occasion, Ms. Aditi Tatkare, Minister of Tourism, State Government informed that they have received positive feedback from the farmers about the benefits they received from agri-tourism. She said, “Agri-tourism can get the State out of the financial crisis. Such sustainable tourism ventures are especially appealing to the younger generation. Maharashtra is a leading State in the country in the field of tourism. Because of this, we, as a State, are doing well even in these times of crisis. With the help and participation of all stakeholders, we can make Agri-tourism sector reach new heights of success.”
Ms. Valsa Nair, Principal Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Govt. of Maharashtra, said, “The conference will provide a platform for experts to share their experience and present examples on successful agri-tourism practices from various countries. Training will be key in agri-tourism. Through the Experts who are attending the Conference, we will be able to impart knowledge and training in the fields of hospitality, marketing, etc., especially to women farmers.”
This year’s International Agri-Tourism Conference has invited farmers, researchers, and tourism specialists from Oregon, Vermont, Italy, Uganda, South Africa, the Philippines, Scotland, Spain, and Thailand. One can watch the Conference through Facebook Live.