Agritourism can take on many different forms but who signs up for a weekend of touring a farm or picking crops? Once you get past the idea that agritourism is more than just city dwellers paying to try their hand at farm work, it gets a lot easier to understand.
Just like an art museum or historic landmark, agritourism tends to offer visitors an educational experience. But instead of providing insight into art or history, the educational material deals with farming methods and rural farming culture. Additionally, just as sightseers and ecotourists seek out natural wonders and beauty, so too do agritourists seek out a chance to discover where some of their favorite foods come from or see people living off the land.
Agritourism often attracts urban and suburban baby boomers and senior citizens who may feel nostalgic about local farm life. And if they can trace their family tree back to agricultural activities, many even feel that they're learning something about their own past. Additionally, tourists visiting foreign destinations are often more interested in the country or region's agricultural history than its mainstream tourist destinations. One example of this is that, despite all of the beachfront glamour of Hawaii, the state's agritourism offerings reportedly generated $38.8 million in 2006 [source: Pacific Business News].
As more families move away from typical one or two week vacations toward shorter weekend trips, local or nearby agritourism destinations often offer a good value. According to a recent survey by the Travel Industry Association of America, outdoor activities ranked third for American vacation destinations, just behind shopping and family events [source: Agricultural Marketing Resource Center].
More Great Links
- Blacka, Aaron, et al. "Agri-Tourism." Virginia Cooperative Extension. November 2001. http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/agritour/310-003/310-003.html
- Che, Deborah, Ann Veeck and Gregory Veeck. "Demographic Characteristics and Motivations of Michigan Agritourists." USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station. 2006. http://nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/gtr/gtr_nrs-p-14/13-che-p-14.pdf
- "Community Supported Agriculture (And Other Farm Subscriptions)." Local Harvest. http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
- Geisler, Malinda. "Agritourism Profile." Agricultural Marketing Research Center. March, 2008. http://www.agmrc.org/agmrc/commodity/agritourism/agritourism/agritourismprofile.htm
- "Hawaii's ag-tourism worth $38.8M in '06" Pacific Business News. Jan. 30. 2008. http://washington.bizjournals.com/pacific/stories/2008/01/28/daily35.html
- Humann, M.J. and Lee, B.C. "Agritourism Health and Safety Guidelines for Children." Marshfield, WI. Marshfield Clinic. 2007. http://agmarketing.extension.psu.edu/Retail/PDFs/agri_child_guide.pdf
- Nelson, Wes. "Agritourism boosts income of 52,000 farmers." Capital Press. Jan. 25, 2008. http://www.capitalpress.info/main.asp?SectionID=67&SubSectionID=619&ArticleID=38728&TM=35395.52
- Talbot, Matthew. "Rural Evolution: Experience the changing landscape of agriculture in the valley." Canadian Geographic. 2005. http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/magazine/SO05/indepth/rural.asp