According to the book “Cultivating Agritourism: Tools and Techniques for Building Success” Agri-Tourism is “travel that combines agricultural or rural settings with products of agricultural operations – all within a tourism experience that is paid for by visitors”.
Agri-Tourism could be something as simple as offering Bird watching and wildlife viewing in your field or pasture (bush) or having visitors visit or stay on your land overnight to enjoy the night sky, sitting in a combine (moving or stationary), or even offering farm or ranch work experience. These can all be done using your existing resources and can be done with relatively low input costs.
Agri-Tourism could be a little more dynamic and can include things such as Rock Climbing, Tee Pee Building, Wagon rides, offering a children’s camp or a Petting Zoo.
Of course, there are community “staples” and although they are agri-tourism venues, we often to not associate with agri-tourism: festivals, agricultural fairs, rodeos, U-Pick operations and farmers’ markets.
I recently heard on one television that one area of growth is women wanting a ‘girls night/weekend out’. Would there not be an opportunity to capitalize on this devoting a package focused on women. This could maybe include a project oriented weekend, with an opportunity to do some in-house shopping, perhaps offering a “spa” package in your rental units, your lodge or your hotel/motel.
Earlier this season, I had the opportunity to visit different areas that are involved with agri-tourism. I was intrigued by a business that grew flowers and offered a flower U-Pick. So, for example Moms or Dads could bring their children out, they could pick and put together a bouquet and give that bouquet to someone special. Wouldn’t that be neat to combine this kind of business with something like a Photography or Flower arranging workshop at your Bed and Breakfast?
I also saw how one farmer converted his dairy barn/farm that was no longer used as such. This family has a small shop, an area for group gatherings, a section for toy tractor mazes, an educational room, a maze for children and adults in their loft, wagon rides and even a zipliner (Given the zipliner is just a few feet off the ground – to me it looked similar to a closeline, just a little higher.)
We, in Manitoba, are very fortunate to have the space that we do. Many seek refuge, a nice getaway to see the sights and sounds of what our communities have to offer, and to visit with other visitors and local community people as well is a real experience.