Agritourism or agrotourism, 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, slopping hogs, picking fruit, feeding animals, or staying at a bed and breakfast (B&B) on a farm. Agritourism activities fall within at least one of the five categories of agritourism, and they may span multiple categories. The five categories are: direct-to-consumer sales (e.g., farmstands, u-pick), agricultural education (e.g., school visits to a farm), hospitality (overnight farm stays), recreation (e.g., hunting, horseback riding), and entertainment (e.g., hayrides, harvest dinners).
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".
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.
While revenue and education are often primary drivers for farmers to diversify and invite guests onto their property, safety isn't always a top priority. Accidents involving tractors, wagon rides, trips, falls, and traffic occur at agritourism operations on a regular basis. Data and specific cases of agrotourism-related injuries are tracked and stored by researchers and scientists. Some of this data is available at publicly accessible sites such as AgInjuryNews.org.
Agricultural tourism has become a necessary means for many small farms’ survival. By diversifying business operations, farm operators are able to ensure a more stable income. This is because agritourism activities can occur during times of the year that crops may not be in season, and by providing a completely separate stream of income. Some studies have found that agritourism operations often benefit their surrounding communities by drawing tourists to the area. The economic boost by the increase in traffic can be beneficial to rural areas in need of diversified streams of income.
Agrotourism in various countries
Agrotourism in Latvia is a popular international tourist destination with many farming tours available such as grain, vegetable, fruit, dairy, and livestock. The farms display the lifestyles and work of active farmers, farming processes, farm products, and the opportunities and positive aspects of a life in the countryside. Tourists can learn how food is made from the field to the final product whilst also engaging in harvesting if possible. Some tours focus on traditional local Latvian cuisine such as cottage cheese, buckwheat, seaberry buckthorn, caraway cheese, dark rye bread and cured meats. Brewing beer is also widely popular with plenty of breweries producing a wide array of beer types. In addition, farms are gaining popularity that promote and teaches the way Latvian's traditionally used to live and farm their produce.
The country-hotel scene has come on apace since 1960, when the Michelin guide to Italy listed not a single establishment in the Chianti area. But even after the boom in rural accommodation in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the choice was still limited, by and large, to basic agroturismo farm-holiday places or rather stuffy country-house hotels. The past few years have seen the arrival of a handful of stylish luxury spa resorts, and some mid-range options where guests benefit from a hands-on, personal approach.
Since 1985 agritourism in Italy is formally regulated by a state law, emended in 2006. The law states basic requirements to claim the title of "agriturismo", and delegates single regions to further regulate the matter.
Italian agritourism attract visitors from all around the globe. In particular, given the luxury nature of rural tourism, international flows are demand-driven.
In the province of Hatay, The village of Vakifli has a small eco and cultural tourism industry, as it is often touted as the last rural village in Turkey where Armenians live. The small village has a guest house where visitors can buy organic products and see the life of the village. There is potential for ecotourism in the Aegean area of Western Turkey as well, and is a growing industry there.
- Jucker Farm in Seegräben, a canton of Zürich
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 to 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".
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.
The UK has seen an increase in Agro tourism as farmers diversify their income streams. Attractions range from accommodation on farms to dedicated farm parks where visitors can interact with animals, attend talks and children can take part in farm based play. Farm parks are sometimes small petting zoos in cities whilst others are areas within working farms set aside as areas for the public. The UK has an industry group for Agro tourism called National Farm Attractions Network who issue best practice information and certification to members.
In the county of Cornwall there are many Agro tourism attractions including the petting zoo at Land's End, Dairy world in New quay and Healey's Cornish Cyder Farm near the capital Truro.
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". The 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.
- Chase, Lisa C.; Stewart, Mary; Schilling, Brian; Smith, Becky; Walk, Michelle (2018-04-02). "Agritourism: Toward a Conceptual Framework for Industry Analysis". Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. 8 (1): 13–19. doi:10.5304/jafscd.2018.081.016. ISSN 2152-0801.
- The Hollow Log Country Retreat. "Accommodation, Tours, Farmstay, B&B Options in Regional Australia". Agritourism Australia. Archived from the original on 2012-04-10. 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.
- "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.
- "Ag Injury News Clippings". www.aginjurynews.org. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
- Weichelt, Bryan; Gorucu, Serap (2018-02-17). "Supplemental surveillance: a review of 2015 and 2016 agricultural injury data from news reports on AgInjuryNews.org". Injury Prevention: injuryprev–2017–042671. doi:10.1136/injuryprev-2017-042671. ISSN 1353-8047. PMID 29386372.
- "Ag Injury News Clippings". www.aginjurynews.org. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
- Khanal, Aditya; Mishra, Ashok (2014). "Agritourism and off‐farm work: survival strategies for small farms". Agricultural Economics. 45 (S1) – via Wiley Online Library.
- Barbieri, Carla; Sotomayor, Sandra; Aguilar, Francisco (2017). "Perceived Benefits of Agricultural Lands Offering Agritourism". Tourism Planning and Development. 16 (1): 43–60.
- saeima, Zemnieku. "Agricultural Tourism Farms". agro.zemniekusaeima.lv. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
- Law N. 730, year 1985
- Law N. 96, year 2006
- "Find a farm, orchard, ranch, winery, csa, & family fun". Rural Bounty. Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. 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". Archived from the original on January 15, 2009. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
- John, Patricia LaCaille (2008). "Promoting Tourism in Rural America National Agricultural Library". Rural Information Center. Archived from the original on 2008-12-18. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
- "Farm Stay US". Farm Stay US. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- 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). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 16, 2009. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Agritourism.|Media related to Agrotourism at Wikimedia Commons
- "Agritourism Safety - Integrating Safety into Agritourism". Integrating Safety into Agritourism. Retrieved 2016-02-18., an online resource developed by the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety (NCCRAHS) in 2007.