What is Agritourism?
Definition: Agritourism is a type of experiential travel which connects people to product or produce, delivered on farming land through a direct “on farm” experience.
Agritourism 2030 was launched at the Inaugural National Agritourism conference on 13 October 2022 in Ballarat by Australian Regional Tourism and is part of a wider project of Agritourism initiatives made possible by a federal government Building Better Regions Fund grant and a partnership with Airbnb, and builds on previous work done in the sector in 2018.
Agritourism 2030 Strategy
For many years Australian Regional Tourism has championed Agritourism as a critical opportunity for the agriculture and tourism industries in Australia. This partnership of two significant industries is vital for the future with a natural relationship and synergy of wide-open spaces, quality produce and friendly people. Australian farming culture is intrinsically linked to regional Australia and the natural curiosity of both telling and listening to stories about our land and farms has long been sought after.
The challenges faced by farmers as they diversify is the low awareness of tourism as a farm business option, land use regulation red tape with running tourism on farms and the skills shortages facing farmers as they lean into increased production post pandemic. Therefore having a national strategic approach and providing farmers with ways to diversify may help some families stay on the land. There are many benefits of Agritourism to farmers include new income streams, broadened social contact and new skills and jobs for expanding families.
In developing the plan, ART were guided by the need for both the Agriculture and Tourism sectors to support the future roadmap for Agritourism. Across the project, we engaged with and have endorsement from regulatory and government stakeholders, consultants to the agriculture sector, State and Territory tourism entities, local government representatives, First Nations representatives and many others interested in a future thriving Agritourism sector.
Following consultation with nearly 200 stakeholders nationally, Australian Regional Tourism’s project steps out six strategic priorities that underpin growth to 2030:
1. Sustainable & inclusive farm diversification
2. Community capability and capacity building with a focus on regional employment
3. Develop new, high quality, distinctly Australian agritourism experiences
4. Promote the sector responsibly, with an alignment to food and drink
5. Encourage genuine collaboration and enduring partnerships, and
6. Provide leadership to support growth.
Over the last few months, momentum has been growing across the States and Territories for Agritourism as a deeper and richer expression of food, drink, community and passions. This National Strategy Framework is designed to unify an emerging sector under one voice in two ways:
- Support a sustainable approach to growth, reflective of the holistic benefits of Agritourism to regional communities, land, culture and business.
- Consider how a unified national framework with an eye to Agritourism’s export potential and how the sum of our States and Territories enhance our tourism and nation brands international reputations into the future.
Agritourism Action Plan
ART will provide leadership on enabling the Strategy via an action plan. This provides coordinated support for the six priorities and recommendations.
1. Support sustainable & Inclusive Farm Diversification: Engaging new and varied farmers to diversify, making it easier to build sustainable, profitable businesses and increasing Indigenous engagement in the sector.
2. Support community capacity building with a focus on regional employment: Supports skills and jobs development for farm families and the broader community. It acknowledges the increased resourcing required to diversify and the change of skills needed to expand from farming into consumer facing tourism.
3. Develop high quality, distinctly Australian agritourism experiences: Beyond farmers diversifying into tourism, experience development & improvement is required to deliver to our vision of attracting higher yielding visitors to regional areas.
4. Promote the sector responsibly, with an alignment to food and drink: Agritourism leans heavily into Australia’s reputation for food and drink, both in agriculture and hospitality. Generating demand with a focus on quality not quantity, sharing the story of people, place craft & produce.
5. Encourage genuine collaboration & enduring partnerships: Leverages the experiences of others to support broader thinking, knowledge sharing and strengthen the sector’s timeliness to market.
6. Provide sector leadership to support inclusive growth: Australian Regional Tourism will support leadership of the sector as it evolves and matures, bringing the stakeholders on the growth journey
Enabling Agritourism – A Guide for Farmers Planning to Diversify
This guide has been created primarily for farmers with an interest in diversifying their farm to include a tourism business and is produce and destination neutral. It summarises the feedback and experiences of more than 200 existing farmers and Agritourism stakeholders to provide insights to those beginning the Agritourism journey. It’s not a how to guide designed to guarantee success. Each producer, farm, local council region and tourism destination is unique, but the journey from farmer to tourism operator was striking in its similarity across the country. This guide is intended to be complementary to the wealth of small business resources available in each State and Territory and build on the catalogue of work that exists for Agritourism operators globally.
Enabling Agritourism – Paving the Way for Successful Development Applications
This guide has been created primarily for local government with an interest in supporting agritourism growth for their region, and is produce and destination neutral. From the first trigger diversifying their existing business to development and launch of an agritourism product can take up to 5 years. Almost all farmers interviewed during this strategy development had at least one touchpoint with their local council on their journey to Agritourism. For this reason, local councils play a unique role in the future development of Agritourism experiences.
Australian Regional Tourism will take the Agritourism 2030 recommendations to the Federal Tourism and Agriculture ministers seeking support for a series of initiatives focused on making it easier for farmers to diversify into tourism. Agritourism provides an opportunity for farms to be sustainable during marginal times, support communities and engage farmers of scale, artisan producers and First Nations Australians as we bring agriculture and tourism together.
All toolkits and resources can be found here
About the Agritourism Project:
Made possible through a Federal Government Building Better Regions Fund grant and a partnership with Airbnb.