; Cluster Development and Collaboration in the Agritourism Supply Chain – The Mountain State Maple Days | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Cluster Development and Collaboration in the Agritourism Supply Chain – The Mountain State Maple Days

Doolarie Singh-Knights, Cindy Martel, and Mike Rechlin


Changes in traditional agriculture combined with evolving tourism demands ('staycations', creating family memories, culinary and heritage tourism, experiential travel, and the ‘good food movement’) have led agripreneurs to pursue agritourism to help diversify farm-income and improve cash-flows. Farms have the raw ingredients necessary to create authentic experiences to effectively capitalize on new tourism niches, however many face challenges to entrepreneurship, limiting their full agritourism potential - remote locations, small farms/limited offerings, inadequate infrastructure, and fragmented agriculture and tourism sectors.

This presentation illustrates how WV agripreneurs overcame entrepreneurial challenges and effectively responded to travelers’ needs for multi-destination visits that maximize travelers’ overall utility, provide heterogeneity of preferences, and minimize uncertainty and diversify travel risks.

We highlight the Mountain State Maple Days (MSMD) as a model of agritourism cluster-networks - a new model of agritourism innovation and collaboration to enhance destination viability. Results from 2016-2018 show the MSMDs as a vehicle for microeconomic competitiveness - improving profitability through strategic partnerships to meet customers’ needs while mitigating agritourism risks, through a simultaneous model of complementarity and competitiveness.

We present best practices that simultaneously foster cluster development and mitigate risks in agritourism - understanding spatial travel patterns and related motivations; linkages between attractions to determine complementarity in meeting travelers’ needs; ‘5-star’ product/service offerings, and general standards in hospitality and agritourism management. We recommend innovative and collaborative marketing strategies to help educators, agritourism operators and state entities generate risk management and market development strategies to reduce agritourism risks, enhance agritourism profitability and build destination viability.