; Assessing your Agritourism Potential – Tools for Making a Great (and Lasting) First Impression | Conferences | AgRisk Library

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Conference Name Assessing your Agritourism Potential – Tools for Making a Great (and Lasting) First Impression

Doolarie Singh-Knights

Summary

Local foods and direct marketing systems have become a national trend because of growing consumers’ interest in local, natural, direct-marketed foods with distinctive characteristics. Agricultural producers are capitalizing on agritourism as a direct marketing agribusiness opportunity because of its income-diversification and cash-flow potential. More importantly, producers and visitors alike are increasingly embracing agritourism because it affords social, recreational and educational experiences that connects people to the environment, their community, and the role of agriculture in their lives.
The addition of agritourism to an existing farming operation requires some preliminary self-assessments that go beyond the ‘build it and they will come’ philosophy. Customers are the life-blood of an agritourism business and attracting visitors to an operation should not be left to chance. Purposefully attracting customers require that operators consider the needs, wants and expectations of customers and work to best meet these requirements.
This presentation walks participants through an agritourism assessment tool that offers a way to make a preliminary assessment about the ‘magnetism’ of the operator’s region and property – the extent to which they can attract visitors because of their attributes. It is based on the premise that the attributes of the region and the agritourism property are the ‘foundation stones’ for agritourism activities; the more magnetic the region and property are, the more likely it is to attract visitors and the more likely the operator is to develop a successful agritourism business.
This tool can help evaluate agritourism potential by answering pertinent questions - which regional and farm/property characteristics are important for a successful agritourism operation; how does my ‘magnetism’ compliment those of my peers; what types of agritourism development strategy will work best for me, given my farm and regional characteristics? Overall, this tool will help users understand an operator’s strengths and weaknesses relative to the opportunities posed by growing consumer demand for authentic agritourism experiences. Using the tools presented here can help agritourism operations and state entities generate risk management and market development strategies to differentiate their destinations through "localness" and place-based regional identity.

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