Agritourism, a funny blend of the words ‘agriculture’ and ‘tourism,’ originated from the Italian term ‘agriturismo’ in 1985. It was designed to combat rural flight, providing travelers with unique experiences on the farm. This concept has been embraced globally, encompassing farm-based activities like tours, shops, restaurants, and lodgings.
In the U.S agritourism is increasingly of interest, both for farmers and travelers, though its definition varies widely from state to state and farm to farm. While some farmers and regulatory bodies are hesitant and question whether on-farm experiences should be labeled as tourism, there is a noteworthy development: the USDA is mulling over appointing an agritourism coordinator, signaling a heightened acknowledgment of agritourism’s role in strengthening rural economies and connecting consumers with farms.
Studies both in the U.S. and internationally highlight the growth of agritourism and its positive financial impact on local communities, the broader travel industry, and the sustainability of farms. Fortune Business Insights reports that the global agritourism market was valued at USD 69.24 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 117.37 billion by 2027, with a 7.42% annual growth rate.
Farmstay X Global Agritourism Network
Small farms worldwide face operational challenges, underscoring the significance of agritourism. The newly formed Global Agritourism Network (GAN), comprising farmers, academics, tourism experts, officials, and more, is rapidly expanding, with 445 members from 77 countries. GAN aims to exchange best practices, regulatory solutions, diverse agritourism experiences, and studies to inform future planning and support strategies for farmers globally.
The concerns of unsustainable livelihoods and urban disconnection from farming are not confined to the U.S.; they are global issues. Agritourism presents a bridge between urban and rural communities, offering a unique pathway for understanding, appreciation, and mutual benefit for generations to come. Farmstay, as a member of GAN’s steering committee and the current representative for North America, proudly supports this initiative. Farm stays are only one facet of agritourism but what better way to know your farmer and wake up to the rooster’s crow.