The decline in agricultural and other forms of rural employment in many countries has created a need for a diversified range of rural businesses. In most cases, agritourism has become an important element of the diverse activities in rural areas of Taiwan. However, there are a number of significant impacts from tourism activities that can be influenced by agritourism policy. Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a procedural tool to assess policies and can aid the development of more sustainable policy formulation. However, SEA aims to assess environmental impacts; the health issues are often overlooked. Hence, a Delphi-Indicator approach to SEA is proposed here to integrate Health Impact Assessment (HIA). This new approach is based on the impact indicator system, and then the Delphi method is employed to collect experts' opinions. After the evaluation system was established, the current agritourism policy and another alternative policy are assessed to examine this new method. Finally, various types of impacts from current agritourism policy in Taiwan are identified, and the significant impacts are as follows: resources usage (water, electricity, petroleum), pollution generation (waste, noise), and other landscape problems (mudflows and landslide, harmony of the rural landscape). In addition, several benefits are found from the alternative policy (agro-ecotourism) such as the amount of pesticides used per unit area, and environmental quality of local community since agro-ecotourism development is based on organic agriculture and combination with ecotourism to provide acceptable recreation opportunity without destroying natural rural environment. In summary, the impacts are less significant from agro-ecotourism than those from current agritourism policy, and these positive changes are not only in the environmental sector, but also within the economic, social, and health issues.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law