Australian Regional Tourism has been successful in securing $120,000 in funding to support a National agritourism development program for all of regional Australia.The funding is being delivered via a successful grant application to the Building Better Regions Funding Round Five. This funding supports new or expanded local events, strategic regional plans or leadership and capability strengthening activities that provide economic and social benefits to regional and remote areas.
Agritourism, defined as connecting people to product, or produce, and delivered on farming land provides benefits to farmers such as income diversification, social connections and job opportunities for non-farming family members.
“Agritourism is a key growth market with development of the sector a National regional tourism priority. We are thrilled to have been successful in receiving this funding, enabling us to now take the next steps in progressing the agritourism project” said Coralie Bell, Chair at Australian Regional Tourism.
Agritourism experiences provide visitors another reason to visit regional towns, stay longer and spend more. It creates more opportunities in the regions and is a critical component in strengthening the regional visitor economy.
“We are hearing many stories from farmers reporting that offering tourism experiences and opening new income streams has been a life saver in tough times, such as the prolonged drought, while also creating new opportunities for non-farming family members wanting to stay on the farm” said Ms Bell.
“There is a real misconception in the farming community that people aren’t interested in the work of a farmer, which just isn’t true” she said.
The agritourism sector is worth approximately $16billion. In 2019, pre-covid, there were over 800,000 visits to farms from the international market alone” she said.
In 2018, ART released its discussion paper “Boosting regional Australia through the development of agritourism” which highlights there is still a lot of red tape needing to be addressed to develop the sector.
“The importance of Agritourism along with progress required to overcome the barriers for sector development is consistent with the overwhelming support ART has received to continue it’s work in this area.” said Ms Bell.
The application to BBRF received support from Tourism Australia, all State Tourism Office’s, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Airbnb and the agricultural sector.