It’s that time of year when warmer weather, the end of the school year, and more hours of daylight have us ready to hit the road and explore the country. As the pandemic days slip further behind in our rearview mirrors, travelers are seeking new experiences.
Among those novel experiences is a new boom for the travel industry and a way for farmers and landowners to bring in extra funds – agritourism. Agritourism, which involves traveling to rural areas to experience farming, ranching, food production, wineries, and rural culture, has become increasingly popular in recent years.
In 2022, the agritourism industry was valued at $58.8 Billion; it’s expected to surpass $100 Billion by 20281. With people looking for unique, off-the-beaten-path experiences, there are several forms of agritourism that can help landowners generate additional income. Here are the top agritourism trends to watch out for in 2023.
Sustainable and Regenerative Tourism
In 2023, travelers will be more conscious of their environmental impact and seek sustainable and regenerative tourism experiences. Agritourism, with its focus on farming, food production, and nature, is an ideal sector to embrace sustainable tourism practices. Farms and rural communities can reduce their carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources, reducing waste, and promoting eco-friendly practices. Regenerative tourism, which goes beyond sustainability by actively restoring ecosystems and communities, is also gaining traction. Agritourism can help restore ecosystems and biodiversity by supporting regenerative agriculture practices, which aim to improve soil health and increase biodiversity.
Example: Willow-Witt Ranch, Ashland, Oregon
Wellness and Health Tourism
Current trends for health and wellness have also spilled over to the travel industry. Agritourism provides a unique opportunity to connect with nature and promote physical and mental well-being. Farms and rural communities can offer a range of wellness experiences, such as yoga retreats, meditation workshops, and farm-to-table dining experiences. The health benefits of spending time in nature are well-documented, and agritourism can provide travelers with the opportunity to disconnect from the stress of modern life and connect with the natural world.
Example: Hidden Villa, Los Altos Hills, California
2023 will see a continued shift towards experiential travel, where travelers seek authentic and immersive experiences. Agritourism provides a unique opportunity to connect with local communities and experience their way of life. Farm stays, where travelers can stay on a working farm and experience daily farm life, are becoming increasingly popular. In addition, culinary tourism, which involves experiencing local food and drink, is a growing trend in agritourism. Farmers markets, food festivals, and farm-to-table dining experiences are all ways to immerse yourself in local food culture.
"Agritourism is beneficial to landowners and local communities alike as it connects the consumer to the resource. Many folks have never stepped foot on a farm or have seen where their food comes from," says land broker and RLI member Jeremiah Thompson. "Agritourism creates the opportunity for the public to get a first-hand look at how their food is grown and gets to their table. Many small farms offer the opportunity to pick your own produce and have it prepared on-site, offering a true farm-to-table experience."
Example: Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee
In 2023, community-based tourism will continue to grow in popularity. Community-based tourism involves working with local communities to create tourism experiences that benefit everyone involved. Agritourism provides an opportunity for farmers and rural communities to work together to create unique and authentic experiences that showcase their way of life. Community-based tourism can also help to promote cultural exchange and understanding, as travelers learn about local traditions and customs.
For owners looking to keep their lands as ranches and farms, generate income, and help the community and public connect to the land, there are many resources available. Agritourism is popular enough that state tourism and agriculture offices offer guides on how to launch a successful agritourism business such as these handbooks from Kansas and Oregon.
Agritourism is poised for growth in 2023. As travelers seek more authentic and immersive experiences, agritourism destinations that offer a range of activities and opportunities to connect with the land and local culture will continue to thrive. By staying on top of emerging trends and investing in the needs and desires of their guests, agritourism businesses can build a loyal following and contribute to a more sustainable and vibrant future for the industry.
If you're looking to invest in land, find a land professional, such as a member of the REALTORS® Land Institute, with the expertise to guide you in making the best buying decisions.