Study explores what helps agritourism grow

09/05/2024 | 2 mins

Location, authenticity, interaction and learning are important factors to enhance agritourism experiences, according to researchers from The University of Western Australia.

The study, by Associate Professor Kirsten Martinus, Director of the Future Regions Lab from UWA’s School of Social Sciences, Associate Professor Bryan Boruff, from UWA's School of Agriculture and Environment, and Dr Adriana Nunez Picado from UWA’s School of Social Sciences, was published in the Journal of Rural Studies.

“Agritourism is important to agricultural regions as it attracts many visitors in search of new experiences and provides alternative incomes to rural areas,” Associate Professor Martinus said.

“However, there is limited knowledge about what contributes directly and indirectly to enhancing the agritourism experience, particularly the role of visitor-provider interaction and emotional connection to place.”

The study examined a survey of providers and in-depth interviews to explore agritourism in the south-west region of Western Australia and included a range of experiences on and off farms, and authentic and staged experiences directly or indirectly related to agriculture.

The agritourism providers offered a range of products from truffle hunts to beekeeping classes as well as farm stays and u-pick experiences.

“We found that agritourism comprised four key areas of experiential importance: location, authenticity, interaction and learning,” Associate Professor Boruff said.

“Importantly, tourists who could interact or participate in farming lifestyles or agricultural processes found an experience authentic regardless of whether it was on or off-farm, immersive or staged.”

The findings provide guidance for policymakers, regional development agencies and agritourism providers to developing agritourism “products” that meet market demands.

“Agritourism has evolved beyond the sale of products on the farm to a range of experiences which include authenticity and storytelling in a range of farm and non-farm settings,” Associate Professor Martinus said.

“Our insights could help to increase visitor numbers and sales, improve regional development outcomes and enhance understandings of rural areas.”

Media references

Annelies Gartner (UWA PR & Media Adviser) 6488 6876     

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