Organic agriculture is regarded as one important approach to agriculture and food production that is environmentally sustainable and can generate several positive impacts to rural society. However, organic agriculture development is still limited in Taiwan and the major reason is lack of economic incentives to farmers. Hence, one approach to link organic agriculture with agro-ecotourism is proposed in this study to maximize the economic benefit of organic agriculture.
Chrshang Township in Taiwan was selected as an example to develop such eco-organic tourism based on organic agriculture. First, five appropriate activities were designed according to the fundamental principles for guiding the development of eco-organic tourism. In addition, the maximum willingness to pay (WTP) method was employed to estimate potential revenues from eco-organic tourism and then the economic value could be compared with that of other economic activities. Under a conservative scenario, the total annual revenue from eco-organic tourism is about NT$421,293,559, which is about 20 times that of the rice production in the study area.
In addition to the direct economic revenues, the following additional benefits can also be found: (1) the linkage can create additional value of organic agriculture; (2) organic agriculture can contribute to service economy and experience economy; (3) people can increase their confidence in organic products through better understanding; (4) a one-step relationship between organic producer and consumer can be established; and (5) local food supply will be connected with demands in the tourism industry. In summary, under a symbiotic relationship, organic agriculture is not only commodities and goods production, it can become one important service economy and even create experience economy within the tourism industry.