Agritourism, Farm Visits, Agro-Tourism - Oh My! Do Farmers, Residents, and Extension Faculty Speak the Same Language?
Agritourism is one of the many labels used to describe recreational activities offered on farms and in other types of agricultural settings. However, this label is often used interchangeably with many others, such as agricultural tourism, farm tourism, agritainment, and farm visits (Colton & Bissix, 2005). Likewise, agritourism and similar labels have been defined in a variety of ways. These varying definitions and labels cause problems for stakeholder groups. For example, farm visitors are often confused regarding the types of activities being offered; farmers are not reaching their target tourism markets, which may be hampering their ability to increase revenues; and extension faculty experience difficulty in communicating about and researching agricultural tourism (Colton & Bissix, 2005; Phillip et al., 2010). There is a need for a better understanding of what people mean when they say “agritourism,” so farmers can realize the full economic benefit of this activity. To that end, the authors conducted a study to discover the preferences of farmers, local residents (visitors or potential visitors), and extension faculty in North Carolina and Missouri with regard to labels for and definitions of agritourism, and to determine where common ground lies among these groups.