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New research has revealed the unparalleled and wide-ranging benefits of agritourism to Scotland.
The Scottish Agritourism Growth Tracker 2021*, undertaken by VisitScotland on behalf of Scottish Agritourism measured, for the first time, the potential of the country’s agritourism industry.
It found that as well as the opportunity for strong economic growth, the industry played an important role in sustaining and creating rural jobs, supporting vital family employment and providing equal and inclusive roles for men and woman across various ages and skill levels.
Key highlights suggest:
Agritourism in Scotland is defined as tourism or leisure on a farm or croft that produces food or offers holiday experiences.
In recent years, particularly during the pandemic, it has become a growing travel trend with visitors seeking out authentic rural experiences that connect them to the countryside and Scotland’s natural larder.
An increasing number of farms, crofts and estates have developed their operations to attract visitors. A growing interest in connecting to nature and an awareness food and drink journeys have also created new opportunities, while offering seasonal events, like lambing sessions and pumpkin festivals have helped inspire visitors to visit and find out about life on a working farm.
The inaugural Scottish Agritourism Tracker was undertaken to gain a better understanding of the sector’s value and potential. It identified potential growth areas within the sector around accommodation, food and drink and event spaces.
A new industry strategy designed to galvanise the country’s agriculture and tourism sectors was launched by Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon at the Scottish Agritourism Conference in November last year.
Scottish Agritourism 2030 - The Strategy for Sustainable Growth aims to sustainably develop the rural economy, protect family farms for future generations, build consumer awareness and loyalty towards local produce and celebrate the history and heritage of these important Scottish communities.
Findings from the Scottish Agritourism tracker suggest that if the strategy targets are achieved the combined value of agritourism and farm retail in 2030 would be around a quarter of a billion pounds (£250m) and support almost 10,000 full time jobs.Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:“The development of the Growth Tracker highlights that agritourism can play an important part in building resilience within rural Scotland. It is very encouraging to see the promising results of this baseline survey, particularly as the survey returns provide some very positive indications of growth potential and the extent to which farm, croft businesses and estates can exploit the opportunities available to them. This will enable the sector to measure progress towards achievement of the aims and objectives of the Strategy for Sustainable Growth and contribute towards growth in the rural and wider economy.”Rob Dickson, VisitScotland Director of Industry and Destination Development, said:“From fruit picking to farm stays, adventure sports to lambing experiences, we know that agritourism is a trend that is here to stay. VisitScotland is committed to working with the sector to showcase its exciting offering to audiences across the globe and position Scotland as a leading destination for agritourism.”Caroline Millar, Sector Lead, Scottish Agritourism, said
For more information visit: www.visitscotland.org and http://www.scottishagritourism.co.uk”>www.scottishagritourism.co.uk
Research shows wide-ranging benefits of Scottish agritourism