Api-Tourism as added-value : the case of La Ruta de la Miel in Chile
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95% of all honey produced in Chile is exported as a bulk commodity. This means that more than 10,000 individual beekeepers from around the country are combining together their product, homogenizing it, irradiating it, and selling it to middlemen who sell it at a fluctuating world price. At the same time a terroir culture is developing around honey, meaning that increasingly consumers place value on the individual flavors and characteristics that make honey such a place-based olfactory experience. To investigate the theme of added-value in honeys, I use the case study of the O’Higgins region of central Chile. My qualitative methods complimented an ongoing project to quantify and certify the specific properties of the region’s honeys. Specifically, I examined the possibility for api-tourism; a tourist route based on different honey types and consumer interactions with artisanal beekeepers in the rural countryside. I found that there is a strong possibility for success based on existing natural and cultural resources and stakeholder interest. The end result was a proposal for further action, including an interactive map and marketing concept for a regional honey brand.