Agritourism grows in farming industry

A national study funded by the Australian Government has shown opportunities for farmers to expand their income through agritourism and the food tourism industry.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) – Bureau of Rural Sciences’ (ABARE–BRS) study found that around 20 per cent of the 300 respondents surveyed earned more than 90 per cent of their income from agritourism.

Deputy Executive Director Paul Morris of ABARE–BRS said it was encouraging for farmers that agritourism and food tourism were proving to be an important source of income.

“There are many good case studies of farmers transitioning into agritourism, as well as people from other professions moving to rural areas to set up successful agritourism and food tourism operations,” Mr Morris said.

“These operations also showcase quality Australian food and give consumers an understanding of how their food is produced.”

The study found that local and regional support are critical factors for expanding the industry and that the industry offered some unique opportunities for women, Indigenous Australians and young people in rural communities to become involved in agriculture.

In many cases, agritourism allowed farmers to diversify their income by selling directly at the farm-gate or in local markets.

The report found that successful agritourism and food tourism is underpinned by improved research and marketing, tourism skills and strengthened coordination at regional and local levels.

Case studies of agritourism regions were conducted in the Tamar Valley in Tasmania, the Harvest Highway region in Western Australia, Orange and the Northern Rivers region in New South Wales, Tropical North Queensland and Eastern Gippsland in Victoria.

Respondents took part in the study through interviews, focus groups and a survey of business operators.

The project was funded under the Australian Government’s Australia’s Farming Future initiative.

The Drivers of Regional Agritourism and Food Tourism in Australia report is available online from the ABARE-BRS website or phone Publications on 02 6272 2010 for hard copies.

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