Apitourism – A Fusion of Apiculture & Sustainable Travel Experience
Some people call it Natural. Others call it Green. Beekeepers call it Api (from the Latin apis which means bee).
Api travel experience can provide an opportunity to be intrigued by the mystic world of bees. Not only to learn about different bee products, a number of which enjoy medicinal applications, but to get as close to bees as you want. As a visitor on an api tour, beekeepers will invite you to enter a bee house, where you can listen to the relaxing buzz of the bees, which has been proven to have a positive effect on a person’s state of mind.
You can also reward yourself with bio honey massage or thermotherapy and enjoy api beneficent fragrance of the hives. In Slovenia for example, a country of unique apiculture and long beekeeping tradition, the beekeepers place beds within bee houses, thereby transforming the bee house into an apitherapeutic chamber. It is believed that pollen allergies can be cured through the regular and timely inhalation of air from beehives.
Travel as inspiration, education & enrichment
Apitourism is a new tourism discipline and very fresh approach to sustainability. It aims at raising awareness as to the importance of bees to mankind, enriching knowledge about the use and effects of bee products and apitherapy, and enhancing people’s well-being. Api tours create a new dimension of travel that raises awareness as to the importance of our natural world, together with such fundamental values as health, family, creativity, connection and harmony in life’s fulfilment. They combine country’s distinctive heritage and its rich beekeeping tradition with those travel trends that favour healthy and eco-friendly pursuits.
Api tours, excursions, workshops, trainings, camps – new Travel Experience
ApiRoutes (branded name for Api travel experiences in Slovenia) embraces tours and excursions, as well as education and training programs. Highlights include observations of beekeepers at their work, introductions to apiarian techniques focusing on biodynamic beekeeping which respects the colony’s natural integrity, demonstrations of various hive systems, presentations of bee pollen, royal jelly and propolis production, together with seminars on their beneficent effects on health and well-being. In addition to visits to beekeeping museums and typical Slovenian bee houses, which are architecturally unique and of extraordinary appeal, we provide opportunities to attend professional seminars, round tables and workshops addressing topics ranging from the manufacture of items from beeswax and beehive panel painting, to making and baking delicious honey dough dishes and sampling sparkling meads.
Api tours also provide insight into the nature, heritage, traditions, foods and hospitality of country’s diverse regions: in Slovenia visitors are welcome to delight in Lake Bled, one of Europe’s most beautiful Alpine resorts, visit Postojna, the most visited show cave in Europe and search for the olm, enjoy Maribor, which boasts the world’s oldest living vine, and pay homage to the memory of a father of modern apitherapy, Dr. Filip Tertsch, see the white Lipizzaner horses at Lipica, relax on the Adriatic coast, take a swim in the sea or just enjoy a walk along the promenade at Portorož, indulge yourself at one of Slovenia’s famous thermal spas and taste the smoked air-dried prosciutto ham and the terra-rossa Teran wine of Slovenia’s Karst.
Apitourism Certificate of Excellence
In an era when people are increasingly attracted by such appellations as locally produced, bio, organic, eco and healthy, the certification of tourist service providers and their products has become an established procedure under a number of this country’s green schemes. These not only extend to the tourist sector, but also apitourism. Slovenia is the first – and as yet the only – country to certify its apitourism service providers and assessment as to their specialisation and orientation is currently underway.
In most cases these providers encompass beekeepers who are target-oriented in their exploitation of opportunities in eco-apiculture, biodynamic apiculture, as well as beekeeping using various beehive systems. In addition, apitourism also embraces other institutions, artisans and service providers, including, queen bee breeders, beekeeping ethnography collections, open-air museums and beekeeping education routes, apitherapists, beehive front panel painters, honey confectioners, beeswax candle-makers, honey-bread and honey-pastry bakers, honey beverage producers, natural api-cosmetic and care product makers, bespoke and specialist gift makers as well as many others.
In their provision of local produce and innovative wellness packages, some also offer food and accommodation to tourists, as well as the possibility to engage in sport and recreational activities. One, two or three bees in a symbol indicate individual providers according to the quality and attraction of their services, their use of nature-friendly materials, specialisation, innovation, efficiency, experience and setting.
A new economic activity on a rise
Unique experience is what people search today. Apitourism, as a novel concept in travel and holidaying, has emerged and developed into an important component of the green economy.
ApiRoutes is demonstrative of the need of having a clear vision, an innovative product and brand, indigenous knowledge, defined markets as well as highly motivated and fully involved partners. In December 2013, ApiRoutes became Co-ordinator of the Apimondia Working Group: Apimondia and Apitourism which is taking a leading role in promoting and encouraging the development of apitourism worldwide.
Apitourism enjoys great potential as an additional opportunity to augment and consolidate the position of beekeepers in a niche tourism market. With its educational role, such tourism brings out the best in destinations and services, the best in people, the best in their perceptions and actions, and it transforms all this awareness and knowledge into an important value to take home, share and live by.