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Article published 16/05/2024

A growing travel trend with our visitors

To coincide with World Agritourism Day (16 May) we're highlighting the important role the sector is playing to enhance the country’s culinary reputation and reduce food miles.

Agritourism in Scotland is defined as tourism or leisure on a working farm, croft or estate which produces food.

In recent years, particularly during the pandemic, agritourism has become a growing travel trend with visitors seeking out authentic rural experiences that connect them to the countryside and Scotland’s natural larder.

Popular experiences include farm stays, farm tours, field to fork experiences and sheepdog demonstrations, as well as food and drink activities which support a growing trend towards buying locally and reducing food miles.

 

Scotland Visitor Survey 2023

Figures from our recent Scotland Visitor Survey 2023 revealed that more than a fifth (22%) of holidaymakers visit a farm shop or farmers’ market during a trip to Scotland.

The activity was particularly popular with visitors from Australasia with almost a third (30%) highlighting the experience.

This is an extensive piece of research which ran from March – October last year. Over 11,500 face to face interviews were conducted and a further 3,000 online surveys were submitted. 

The findings will help us build a better picture of what is particularly important to our visitors and inform and drive our activities as a tourism industry going forward.

Check out the findings so far

Image of highlands cows in a field and a person viewing them from a farm vehicle. Text on the image reads  "More than a 5th of holidaymakers visit a farm shop or farmers' market during a trip to Scotland. Taken from our Visitor Survey 2023.

Scottish Agritourism Growth Tracker 2022

We carried out the Scottish Agritourism Growth Tracker 2022, on behalf of Scottish Agritourism, which found that money generated by farm retail increased by almost £50 million during the first year of the pandemic, rising from £62 million to over £110 million.

This demonstrates the significant value and opportunity for Scotland’s farms, rural communities and visitor economy including a food and drink experience as part of Scotland’s agritourism offering, which is worth £170 million overall.

Over a third of agritourism businesses offer food and drink consumption on site. This can include farm produce enjoyed as part of a holiday on a farm, in a farm café or after a farm tour.

More than half of respondents said they sell their produce online (55%), in an on-farm shop (36%) or via an on-farm honesty box. (29%)

Food Tourism Industry Guide

Last week, in partnership with Scotland Food & Drink, we launched a new industry guide to help tourism businesses take a share of the lucrative food tourism market.

Packed with practical advice, key research and insights, resources and inspirational case studies, the guide is designed to help businesses develop, market and deliver a quality food tourism experience for visitors. 

Use our food tourism industry guide to discover how to create impactful experiences that exceed the expectations of visitors. 

Go to the guide

People sitting around a table eating outside on a farm

Visitors enjoying their experience with Wilson's Farm and Kitchen. Credit: Craig Stephen.

 

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