With the challenging events of 2020, diversification has become an increasingly important part of any tourism business model.
Adapting and tailoring experiences to appeal to new and potential visitors, while adhering to government restrictions, has been a tough balancing act.
One sector to have already made impressive headway in this area, having put diversification at the heart of their plans for several years, is agritourism.
Thursday 12 November marks the first virtual Scottish Agritourism Conference. Formed officially three months ago as a sector body sitting within the umbrella of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, the conference unites a strong and motivated network with a shared goal of growing agritourism in Scotland.
What is agritourism?
Agritourism combines agriculture and tourism and takes place on a real working farm.
It has a farm producing food at its very core, either rearing livestock or growing crops, and visitors have the opportunity to buy farm produce directly from a farmer, visit for a farm experience or enjoy a short break or longer stay. All sizes of farming enterprises are involved in agritourism, from Scotland’s crofts to family farms and larger estates.
Agritourism is a leisure as well as a tourism experience, attracting locals to nearby farms on a regular basis. It also attracts domestic, wider UK and international visitors who take in a Scottish farming experience as part of a holiday.
Popular agritourism experiences include farm stays, farm tours, farm shops which sell locally grown and sourced produce and events such as pumpkin-picking or lambing sessions.
There's a strong drive in Scotland to increase the number of farms offering a unique “agri” experience, with the opportunity to learn about Scottish food and drink, as well as the chance to purchase and taste the produce.
Examples of agritourism experiences
The following, conducted on a working farm, can be classed as agritourism:
- Conducting farm tours and offering ‘Farmer for the Day’ experiences
- All types of accommodation such as traditional farmhouse B&B, glamping, camping, lodges, cottages, houses, castles on farms
- The sale of own produce and other Scottish produce
- Offering food and drink experiences in farm cafes, restaurants, pop up food and drink
- Offering experiences or play opportunities aimed at children – these could be play parks, crop mazes, tractor rides within the farm setting
- Offering space, weddings and conferences within the farm setting
- Creating farm trails
- Organising and managing events and experiences aimed at the general public, such as pumpkin-picking and lambing
- Offering adventure sports and watersports
What help and support is available?
If you have an agritourism business and are looking for advice, our team of regional based Industry Relationship Managers (IRMs) are the first port of call for Scottish tourism businesses looking for personalised guidance and support. They can answer a variety of questions, from all things Quality Assurance related to how to use digital to your advantage – and everything in between.
For further industry support
Go Rural is the consumer facing brand of Scottish Agritourism and is used to demonstrate to visitors that they are visiting a real working farm. To find out more and to connect to other agritourism businesses visit https://scottishtourismalliance.co.uk/agritourism. If you have any questions about Scottish Agritourism membership please email Caroline Millar firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01382 320 707.