Do People Buy Agritourism?

I remember how the excitement happily bubbled up within me. We were on a train, clouded in mist, climbing up the verdant hills of Sri Lanka on our way to Ella. A small town in the midst of Sri Lanka's tea plantations. In my head I expected to find the Stellenbosch or Franschoek of tea when I stepped off the train. An immersive, tastebud tickling tea-tasting experience topped off with exciting pairings, and the chance to pick and package my very own tea.

My disappointment could not have been greater.

Instead of being greeted by the colourful and flavour-filled Sri Lankan culture, I stepped off the train to come face-to-face with a tourist town full of curio shops, and restaurants offering hamburgers, pasta and pizza. Okay I thought, not quite what I had expected but I came here for the tea-experience so off I went to find a tea farm. The breathtakingly beauty of the lush green leaves cloaked in clouds of mist renewed my sense of excitement. But all that was dashed when the experience on offer turned out to be a rather perfunctory factory tour of the tea making process with not a whiff of immersive engagement. When questioned if we could taste the selection of teas produced, we were summarily sent off the farm to a street stall where we were served a random pot of black tea.

Why am I telling you this story?

Because it so encapsulates the vast chasm that often exists in tourism. Technically the product that I experienced ticked all the academic boxes of agritourism which is defined "as a form of commercial enterprise that links agricultural production and/or processing with tourism in order to attract visitors onto a farm, ranch, or other agricultural business for the purposes of entertaining and/or educating the visitors and generating income for the farm, ranch, or business owner."

So where did it all fall flat?

I, as a tourist, was not buying agritourism. I was buying an experience that I hoped would entice me, excite me, entrance me and enthral me.

Don't get me wrong I am not saying that I do not believe in agritourism. In fact quite the opposite.

I believe that agritourism should be more of a priority because of the extensive opportunities it creates to:

  • draw people into rural areas,

  • generate additional revenue for farmers (protected areas and government),

  • protect traditional ways of life,

  • increase investment flows into agricultural areas,

  • establish additional livelihood opportunities for agriculture dependent communities,

  • forge better agriculture value chains.

However, in order to fully unlock these impacts agritourism products need to be designed as immersive and compelling experiences that people will rave about to their family and friends. This is pertinent more than ever in this covid era, because people are actively looking for experiences outside of the popular tourism hotspots. The market is there. What is missing is the product to service this market.

How can you capture this market?

Do not try sell them agritourism, sell them experiences that they will love.

3 powerful ways you can do this is by:

  • Creating a customer journey,

  • Developing it as a sensory experience,

  • Accompanied by a compelling story told in a way that matters.

Want to know more? Reach out to us and let us know how we can help you unlock your potential.