An assessment of the usefulness of spatial agricultural land resource digital data for agritourism and ecotourism
The study broadly assesses the usefulness of available digital spatial land resource data as a source for agritourism and ecotourism information by comparing the inventory of available spatial data sets for South Africa and the SADC region, with the needs for spatial data as derived from a literature study of travel motivations and demand determinants. Spatial land resource data have been collected, processed and stored for agricultural planning purposes, like land suitability assessment, agricultural production and infrastructural planning. Given a) the growth in agritourism and ecotourism, b) the more detailed information required by tourists to aid them during decision making processes like destination selection and c) the progress in information technology rendering access of information via the internet easier; the question arose whether the available land resource digital data can be processed to provide relevant tourism information on internet websites. Four tasks had to be done, namely: a) identifying tourists’ needs by means of a literature study on travel motivations and demand determinants; b) identifying the land resource data sets that could be processed into information to meet these identified needs; c) determining the accessibility of spatial information on internet tourism websites to potential agritourists and ecotourists, and d) exploring opportunities for adding value by looking at what information existing websites are offering in comparison with what can be obtained from repackaging the land resource data. Common ground was found between the spatial tourist information needs and the available spatial land resource data. This, coupled with the ability of combining meteorological and other humanmade environmental data in GIS modelling, suggests that repackaging land resource data seems to have the potential to offer useful tourism information in correspondence with confirmed tourist information needs.