Agritourism, as it is defined most broadly, involves any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch. Agritourism has different definitions in different parts of the world, and sometimes refers specifically to farm stays, as in Italy. Elsewhere, agritourism includes a wide variety of activities, including buying produce direct from a farm stand, navigating a corn maze, picking fruit, feeding animals, or staying at a B&B on a farm.
Agritourism is a form of niche tourism that is considered a growth industry in many parts of the world, including Australia, Canada, the United States, and the Philippines. Other terms associated with agritourism are "agritainment", "value added products", "farm direct marketing" and "sustainable agriculture".
Agritourism in the United States
Agritourism is widespread in the United States. Agritourists can choose from a wide range of activities that include picking fruits and vegetables, riding horses, tasting honey, learning about wine and cheesemaking, or shopping in farm gift shops and farm stands for local and regional produce or hand-crafted gifts.
According the USDA Cooperative State, Education and Extension Service, "Tourism is becoming increasingly important to the U.S. economy. A conservative estimate from the Federal Reserve Board in Kansas, based on 2000 data, shows that basic travel and tourism industries accounted for 3.6 percent of all U.S. employment. Even more telling, data from the Travel Industry Association of America indicate that 1 out of every 18 people in the U.S. has a job directly resulting from travel expenditures".
Through the Small Farm Center at the University of California, "Agricultural tourism or agritourism, is one alternative for improving the incomes and potential economic viability of small farms and rural communities. Some forms of agritourism enterprises are well developed in California, including fairs and festivals. Other possibilities still offer potential for development". The UC Small Farm Center has developed a California Agritourism Database that "provides visitors and potential entrepreneurs with information about existing agritourism locations throughout the state".
In Western North Carolina, the organization HandMade in America is using agritourism to develop their local economy and craft trades, and to educate visitors about agriculture practices. On the web site, Hand Made in America, they look at agritourism as a "... niche market [that] not only assists communities with solutions to help diversify their economic base, but it also helps our regional urban centers and increasingly suburban populations to understand the important role that farming and rural life plays in our history, by highlighting the need for it in our contemporary society. Agri-tourism projects reinforce the need to support local growers and sources and allow the visitor to experience what it is to be part of the land...".
The publication Promoting Tourism in Rural America explains the need for planning and marketing a rural community and weighing the pros and cons of tourism. According to the publication, local citizen participation is helpful and should be included in starting any kind of a tourism program. Citizen participation in planning tourism can contribute to building a successful program that enhances the community.
Additional websites that promote and publicize agritourism in the United States include Rural Bounty, founded by agritourism consultant Jane Eckert, Farm Stay U.S., a nationwide directory of farm stays, and The Farm Stay Project, a blog that profiles farm stays and tracks agritourism news.
People have become more interested in how their food is produced. They want to meet farmers and processors and talk with them about what goes into food production. For many people who visit farms, especially children, the visit marks the first time they see the source of their food, be it a dairy cow, an ear of corn growing in a field, or an apple they can pick right off a tree.
Farmers and ranchers use this interest to develop traffic at their farm or ranch, and interest in the quality of their products, as well as awareness of their products
Dude (or guest) ranches offer tourists the chance to work on cattle ranches, and sometimes participate in cattle drives. The fact sheet, Promoting the Farm and Ranch Recreation Business, gives farmers and ranchers information on marketing and developing strategies to win tourism dollars. Dude ranches are common in the United States and Australian Outback.
- Biuso, Emily (November 23, 2007). "Down on the Farm With Your Sleeves Rolled Up". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-04. "Though most agritourists simply spend an afternoon visiting farm stands, picking fruit, or feeding animals, others might stay on a farm for several days. Depending on the farm, they might have the opportunity to help with farm or ranch chores, contributing to tasks ranging from planting crops to building greenhouses."
- The Hollow Log Country Retreat. "Accommodation, Tours, Farmstay, B&B Options in Regional Australia". Agritourism Australia. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
- "Opportunities for Diversifying our Farms". Growing Forward and Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives. Manitoba Agritourism. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- Michelle Nowak. "The Farm Stay Project". Farmstays.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
- Wesvarrdec (2010-02-18). "Leading innovations in R&D for 2011-2016: Negros agri-tourism booms in 2009". Wesvarrdec.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
- "Find a farm, orchard, ranch, winery, csa, & family fun". Rural Bounty. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
- "Rural Tourism February 2008". USDA Cooperative State, Education and Extension Service. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
- Wilkerson, Chad (2003). "Travel and Tourism: An Overlooked Industry in the U.S. and Tenth District Economic Review, Third Quarter 2003 Federal Reserve Board in Kansas" (PDF). Kc.frb.org. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
- "Economic Research: Economic Impact of Travel and Tourism" (2004). Travel Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 30, 2008
- "Agritourism Davis, California: University of California, Small Farm Center". December 30, 2008.
- "California Agritourism Database Davis, California: University of California, Small Farm Center". Retrieved December 30, 2008.
- "Tourism and Travel: Agri-tourism Asheville, NC HandMade in America". Retrieved December 30, 2008.
- John, Patricia LaCaille (2008). "Promoting Tourism in Rural America National Agricultural Library". Rural Information Center. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
- "Farm Stay US". Farm Stay US. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food". USDA. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- Brachfeld, Aaron. "USDA February 2012 Agrotourism to cultivate new direct sales". The Meadowlark Herald | Volume 3 Issue 8. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
- Daniels Barb Jeff Powell and Susan Rottman (December 2001). "Agricultural Tourism: Promoting the Farm and Ranch Recreation Business University of Wyoming, College of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. Bulletin #B-1125-2" (PDF). Retrieved December 30, 2008.[dead link]
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Agritourism.|
- "Agritourism: Cultivating Tourists on the Farm" Washington State University publication # EB2020
- Local Harvest, Farmers markets, You-pick farms, agritourism guide and resources
- "Rural Tourism Resources." (December, 2012). National Agricultural Library, Rural Information Center.
- Rural evolution: Experience the changing landscape of agriculture in the Valley from Canadian Geographic
- AgroTourNet - A project supported by the European Commission for the development of e-learning tools and methodologies for vocational training in the sector.
- Agritourism Resources Agritourism: Worksite Walkthrough, Policies and Procedures Checklist, Health and Safety Guidelines for Children. Retrieved July 6, 2009
- South-East Asian Tourism Organisation A new South-east Asian based organisation looking at ways to use agritourism and other initiatives to spread the benefits of tourism more widely.
- Hawaii Agritourism Association