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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. The authors of this publication 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.
This publication discusses how residents of the North Carolina Triad area perceive the benefits of local wine tourism.
This publication discusses the perspectives of locals in the North Carolina Triad with regard to social relationships between wineries and the communities.
Agritourism, defined as activities offered on working farms and other agricultural settings for entertainment or educational purposes, has been increasing over the last ten years. Despite its growth, there is uncertainty about the benefits that agritourism brings to society, especially to rural communities. Understanding the benefits of agritourism is essential to further develop this recreational activity and to strengthen marketing efforts to attract more visitors to farms. To document perceptions of the socio-cultural, environmental, and economic benefits of agritourism, an online survey was conducted in 2010 among North Carolina agritourism providers (“farmers”) and a non-random panel of current and potential visitors (“residents”).
Agritourism–defined in this study as any activity or service provided on a working farm with the purpose of attracting visitors–has grown in popularity due to structural changes affecting farmers and communities across the nation and throughout North Carolina. According to the North Carolina Rural Center, the number of farms in North Carolina has dramatically declined in recent years to just 17% of the total number of farms present in the 1940s. The changing economy, fluctuations in agricultural income, and farmers’ desire to preserve land and resources have pressured North Carolina farmers to examine alternative economic opportunities.