When we say agritourism is a “growing” market, we’re not just planting puns. Lately, agritourism has proven to be one of the most quickly emerging segments of the travel industry.
“What is it?” you ask? Simple answer. Agriculture + Tourism = Agritourism. Whether a working farm, ranch or winery, it’s where the two meet. Agritourism presents plenty of fun possibilities for travelers—and huge dividends for destinations that embrace it.
All about agritourism.
The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC) at Iowa State University defines agritourism as “the act of visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural or agribusiness operation to enjoy, be educated or be involved in activities.”
Examples of common agritourism activities are as abundant as they are pleasing. According to AgMRC and the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, they include:
• On-farm, direct-to-consumer sales of agricultural products – pick-your-own fruits, vegetables and flowers, pumpkin patches, U-cut Christmas trees, on-farm markets, nursery and dairy products
• Educational tourism – school tours, day camps, winery tours and tastings, hands-on farm and ranch chores and experiences
• Entertainment – hay and sleigh rides, corn mazes, petting zoos, haunted barns
• Accommodations – weddings, birthday parties, picnicking, overnight stays in bed and breakfasts
• Outdoor adventures – nature-based tourism and recreation, like horseback riding, hunting, fishing, hiking, bird watching, exploring parks and simply viewing and photographing the scenery, plant and animal wildlife
• Dining and shopping
Tourists adore it.
The U.S. Travel Association confirms several trends that back stats showing an increase in agritourism. Tourists are traveling by car more often, taking shorter, last-minute trips and seeking to spend quality time with loved ones. All of these factors sync up—agritourism destinations are ideal for speedy, local daytrips where visitors can enjoy new experiences together.
Tourists are making more thoughtful choices about travel and also about food. People are more concerned than ever with learning where and how their food is sourced. At a farm, ranch or vineyard, adults and kids can see the process firsthand, in a hands-on way. They appreciate the fresh air, the wholesome relaxation and, perhaps most importantly, the enduring memories they make while touring the heartland.
Billions in tourism dollars annually.
An agritourism enterprise yields a number of obstacles, so it’s not for everyone. But while daunting, the rewards are outstanding. These businesses can earn enough to fully finance operations and break a profit. Thanks to agritourism, numerous small farms and ranches have been rescued from closing and, in many cases, are now flourishing.
Besides being a natural way to supplement income, agritourism provides agricultural producers with a unique opportunity to teach visitors about farming. And the more, the merrier. Rural regions of the United States are already favorite destinations for travelers. When non-competing agritourism locations sprout up in the same area, they benefit each other, boosting visitor traffic and giving them more attractions to hit.
To market, to market.
If you’ve decided to start an agritourism business—or you’re the proud proprietor of one already in full swing—then an important next step is developing a marketing plan.
As with any hospitality business, smart agritourism marketing strategies are crucial in ensuring travelers discover your destination and are enticed enough to stop by. From roadside signs on through to your website and social media efforts, your marketing campaign should be calculated and far-reaching, in order to achieve maximum impact (and revenue!).
Ideas ripe for the picking.
Successful agritourism marketing depends on a number of critical, but challenging, dynamics. At Dana, we’re experts, and we look forward to serving such meaningful endeavors. Email Bob Prewitt at email@example.com.
Share our passion for this Red Hot Topic? Be sure to check our blog next week to read more about Dana’s exciting agritourism marketing work on behalf of clients.