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Agri‐tourism and rural development: the Low‐Valdelsa case, Italy

Caterina Contini (University of Florence, Firenze, Italy)
Paola Scarpellini (University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy)
Roberto Polidori (University of Florence, Firenze, Italy)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 23 October 2009




The purpose of this paper is to analyze the demand of tourists who stay in agri‐tourist facilities and assess the impact of agri‐tourism on local development in terms of income and employment. The study was conducted in Tuscany, a region which is pre‐eminent in terms of the Italian agri‐tourist supply and which has a strong attraction for tourists seeking natural resources, the countryside and the local culture.


The methodology called for the use of the input output model based on a regional accounting matrix which was appropriately modified, according to data obtained from a direct investigation. Tourist spending was ascertained by means of a questionnaire submitted to tourists who stayed in agri‐tourist facilities. Main weaknesses of the tourist system were highlighted by means of personal interviews which were conducted with key informants.


The results emphasize a lack of coordination between the suppliers of products and services provided in the territory which limits local product visibility. An improved coordination would imply strengthening of individual actions and enhancing the value of products by linking them to the specific resources of the local system and cultural identity. This would determine a higher impact of agri‐tourism on the development of the area.

Practical implications

The research gains a better understanding of the community's interest in promoting agri‐tourism and provides insights for the drafting of local development strategies.


The paper intervenes in the debate on the role of rural tourism in local development with a case study in which agri‐tourist demand was analyzed, its impact on local income and employment was assessed and existing constraints in achieving socio‐economic development were identified and discussed.



Contini, C., Scarpellini, P. and Polidori, R. (2009), "Agri‐tourism and rural development: the Low‐Valdelsa case, Italy", Tourism Review, Vol. 64 No. 4, pp. 27-36.



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