Policy Setting for Improved Linkages between Agriculture, Trade and Tourism: Strengthening the Local Agrifood Sector and Promoting healthy Food in Agritourism
Promoting linkages between agriculture and tourism-related markets for improved food and nutrition security Tourism is the lifeblood of many Pacific economies and agritourism provides a promising avenue for diversification and trade growth. High quality, nutritious and healthy food, available every day of the year, is critical to hotels, lodges and resorts. Often the food purchasing bill of a tourism site is large in comparison to the size of the local economy, yet surprisingly little of this is spent locally, even when supplies are available from farmers, fishermen and small-scale agribusinesses. The challenges of shifting food-sourcing to local suppliers are considerable – achieving this in a way that meets commercial needs and customer preferences and meets food and safety requirements would be one way in which tourism operations can significantly increase their contribution to local economic development.
Tourism has the potential to stimulate demand in the agriculture sector, promote healthy and nutritious food and strengthen the use of local products, so it is important to create linkages between the two, and to develop a policy on agritourism. In addition to the strong economic value of developing a sustainable tourism sector, enhancing the linkages between tourism and agriculture represents an important potential mechanism to stimulate and strengthen traditional local producers and processors and to improve the distribution of benefits along the chain as well as generate investment incentives for local production. The trade policy environment should be more favourable to the private sector and investment, while supporting local entrepreneurs and SMEs through appropriate measures that address import substitution, notably in the form of tariff and non tariff barriers.
Linkages between agriculture, health and tourism not only potentially increase opportunities fordomestic agriculture earnings, new markets and product development and therefore sustainable economic growth, but also offer opportunities to help develop visitor attractions and distinctive tourism destination brands through the creative use and marketing of local produce and production techniques, and use of local landscapes. In order to acquire these benefits, the tourism industry needs to be proactive in utilizing local, high quality, healthy and niche agricultural products in touristic sites and events.
Vanuatu has the natural and cultural potential to develop a point of difference in its tourism policy and diversifying its economic sectors can increase resilience of food systems and incomes for rural communities. A policy on agritourism will also develop linkages with the health sector ensuring that it supports national campaigns towards nutritious and healthy food (embedded in the concept of quality food referred above).