Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Agritourism Initiatives in the Context of Continuous Out-Migration: Comparative Perspectives for the Alps and Chinese Mountain Regions

Version 1 : Received: 29 April 2019 / Approved: 30 April 2019 / Online: 30 April 2019 (11:25:21 CEST)

How to cite: Chen, Y.; Dax, T.; Zhang, D. Agritourism Initiatives in the Context of Continuous Out-Migration: Comparative Perspectives for the Alps and Chinese Mountain Regions. Preprints 2019, 2019040330 Chen, Y.; Dax, T.; Zhang, D. Agritourism Initiatives in the Context of Continuous Out-Migration: Comparative Perspectives for the Alps and Chinese Mountain Regions. Preprints 2019, 2019040330

Abstract

After World War II, the economic recovery of Western Europe implied a swift economic transition for all regions, including the area of the Alps, although affecting various parts at different pace and stages. The resulting out-migration led to population decline in some mountain valleys and regions already since the 1950s. A similar out-migration movement began in China after its rural reform started in the 1970s. The effect was in some cases even more significant than in the Alps, with the first village being deserted in the 1980s. Current estimations report of about 380,000 abandoned rural villages in China between 2000 and 2016, particularly in its mountain regions. While lower population densities might alleviate the pressures on ecology and contribute to environmental benefits, these movements aggravate a spiraling-down process of local economies and culture.  In the Alps many regions facing challenges of out-migration and economic changes elaborated agritourism schemes that provided both economic incentives and stability to involved mountain farmers, and continuation of local land management systems. In contrast, in China hardly any comparable trends of rural tourism developed. However, in recent years China's interest for tourism-oriented farm diversification increased and a range of rural tourism and agricultural tourism initiatives emerged. This paper focuses on the analysis of successful initiatives, problems and development prospects in the Alps and China's rural areas, redefining agritourism as a systematic integrated activity. Agritourism might therefore be assessed as a core element of the future sustainable development of the Alps and the Chinese countryside.

Subject Areas

definition of agritourism; comparative studies; rural development; sustainable tourism; mountain development; alpine regions, Chinese mountains

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