‘Promising perspectives’ for on-farm tourism business

An agri-tourism conference took place in the Shearwater Hotel, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, on Monday, October 15.

The aim of the event was to highlight opportunities for farm families in developing an on-farm tourism business.

Agri-tourism 2018 was organised by Teagasc, together with Galway County Council (CoCo) and Failte Ireland, in association with Galway European Region of Gastronomy.

The aim of the conference was to help guide rural dwellers on diversification opportunities in agri-tourism.

Setting up on-farm holiday accommodation, in the form of bed and breakfast or self-catering cottages, was said to be a popular choice for diversification.

Speakers at the conference noted the many other choices of accommodation such as glamping, pods, shepherd’s huts and yurts.

The opportunities for farmers to coincide with existing accommodation providers by developing complementary activity businesses such as: kayaking; fishing boats; gillie services; cycling; heritage talks; walking tours; artisan food shops; and others were also mentioned at the event.

Speaking at the conference, Teagasc’s rural development specialist, Barry Caslin, said: “Agri-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, attractions and our specialist farm food producers who all make a very compelling case to venture out of the city boundaries.

Acting director of services at Galway CoCo, Alan Farrell said: “Agriculture, food and tourism are key drivers of rural economies and are often underdeveloped in rural Ireland.

“Tourists want to experience locally loved places off the beaten path, to hear the stories, to meet the locals and to enjoy quality local sustainable food produced in the region.”

Sinead Hennessy from Failte Ireland said: “For some regions, tourism is a fundamental part of the local economy.

In this digital age tourists are looking for something tangible which they can latch onto and share digitally on social media.

“This event provided a comprehensive guide on developing the concept of agri-tourism in business planning and marketing,” she concluded.