Agritourism 2023 - 'agritourism for sustainable agriculture'
Teagasc Rural Development together with the Irish Self Catering Federation hosted an Agritourism conference at Teagasc, Ashtown today, Monday, 22 May to highlight opportunities for farm families in developing an on-farm tourism business.
Setting up-on farm holiday accommodation, in the form of bed and breakfast or self-catering cottages is a popular choice for diversification. There are now many other choices of accommodation such as glamping, pods, shepherds huts and yurts. There are opportunities for farmers to complement existing accommodation providers by developing complementary activity businesses such as kayaking, fishing boats, gillie services, cycling, heritage talks, walking tours, artisan food shops etc. This conference called Agritourism 2023 provided a guide to rural dwellers on diversification opportunities in agri-tourism.
Minister Pippa Hackett said at the conference that: “Agritourism can play an important part in building resilience within rural Ireland. Agritourism has a long-term sustainable future in Ireland that delivers a high-quality, authentic visitor experience and also helps support the future of family farms and the wider rural economy. The Agritourism 2023 conference is an excellent networking event, which will help rural entrepreneurs on their journey towards developing an agritourism project in our iconic landscape which will help in bringing together urban and rural communities.”
At the conference Barry Caslin, Teagasc Rural Development Specialist, said: “Rural tourism is a perfect way to stimulate real impetus into encouraging footfall out of the towns and cities. There is such diversity in rural Ireland’s visitor activities and attractions, as well as in our specialist farm food producers, all of which make a very compelling case to venture out of the city boundaries.
"Over the past few years, fantastic diversified farm and rural businesses have opened up to visitors. There is a genuine focus on providing a great experience and developing unique local features and skills. This conference provides important guidance which complements the resurgent interest in Irish food, heritage and holidays.”
Máire Ní Mhurchú, Chair of Irish Self Catering Federation added: “A holiday is quite an expense for people so they want, and demand, better than they have at home. Tourists are looking for locally-loved places off the beaten path. They want the personal experience of living in close proximity to the family farm and being a part of the experience. For some regions, tourism is a fundamental part of the local economy. Today’s visitor demands high-end fixtures and fittings and luxuries ranging from hot tubs to pizza ovens, but they are willing to dig deep for that experience.”
Photo caption: Pictured from (L to R): Máire Ní Mhurchú, Chair of Irish Self Catering Federation; Barry Caslin, Rural Development Specialist, Teagasc; and Minister Pippa Hackett, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.