Annual agritourism survey launched

Farm house in hills
Lisa Paton

Scotland’s farms and crofts urged to take part in important survey.

The size and scale of Scotland’s agritourism sector is to be measured for first time in a new annual census of farms, crofts and estates across the country.

Launched in partnership between VisitScotland and Scottish Agritourism, the growth tracker aims to show the impact that the sector has on the Scottish economy, the role it plays to sustain businesses and rural communities and its propensity for growth.

It will involve collecting data on the number of businesses in the sector, visitor numbers and the amount of businesses who are considering agritourism.

The results, which will be revealed at the Scottish Agritourism annual conference in November, will be used to help shape future policy and support for the sector.

Agritourism has become a growing consumer trend in Scotland with an increasing number of farming enterprises looking to diversify their operations. Popular experiences include farm stays, farm tours as well as food and drink activities.

VisitScotland and Scottish Agritourism are now inviting relevant businesses to take part in the survey, which launched on Friday 11 June and closes on Friday 2 July 2021.

Tourism Minister Ivan McKee said:

“This project will be a very important bit of research to contribute to the development of the agritourism growth strategy. Agritourism is a thriving new sector within the wider tourism industry and it has the potential to be extremely popular, especially just now as people want to spend more time enjoying Scotland’s great outdoors. We are committed to helping Scotland’s tourism industry recover from the pandemic and supporting new and emerging sectors such as Agritourism is key to this.”

Vicki Miller, VisitScotland Director of Marketing and Digital, said:

“This is a hugely important piece of research that will help place a value on what has become one of tourism’s most exciting new sectors. Agritourism is a fantastic way to enjoy the best of rural Scotland and has become a growing trend in recent years. By having its performance measured year on year, we will gain a better understanding of how to support and grow the sector in the future, particularly as it recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. VisitScotland is focused on the recovery of the industry, building a destination and visitor experience which allows tourism and events to flourish now and in the future. We’ll continue to work with, and support, businesses to ensure we rebuild this vital part of Scotland’s economy.”

Caroline Millar, Sector Lead, Scottish Agritourism, said:

“Agritourism globally places a vital role in ensuring family farms are sustainable for future generations. With annualised data about the contribution agritourism makes to tourism, agriculture and food and drink in Scotland we can measure success and demonstrate the impact that this sector makes to farming businesses and to the rural economy. We would encourage as many farmers and crofters to take part in the survey, whether you are currently undertaking farm retail, or a tourism or leisure activity on farm, or whether you are considering this in the next five to ten years. This information will be used to work with government and industry bodies such as VisitScotland to shape future policies and support for the sector.”