This spring while visiting small towns throughout the southern part of the United States, I was told numerous times that the term, “rural tourism” is not held in high regard among residents of rural communities.
Although rural tourism is a vital component of rural economic development in developed nations worldwide, the phrase may be too closely associated with other terms like “developing nations,” and “villages” and “primitive.”
How do US rural communities deal with the unpalatable reality that rural tourism is perhaps the last best opportunity to prosper? They change the name.
Rural Tourism becomes Agritourism, or Eco-tourism or Wine Tourism or Geo-Tourism.
Let’s get over it and get on with it!
Rural tourism can save your town from extinction whatever you want to call it! Let me redirect your attention to a post I wrote over a year ago. “First Step to Rural Tourism Success: Check Your Innovation Mindset.”
In this post, I use a presentation by economic development expert, Kathi Jaworksi to help rural areas rethink what they need to do to launch their rural tourism (yep that’s what it is) turnaround.
It doesn’t matter what you call the type of tourism you need. It doesn’t require a grant to get started.
It just requires a change in attitude about the fact that there are really interesting things do in your locale, and understanding that there is actually a market out there for what you have to offer.
Back to Agritourism
In my Google Alerts box daily, the number of posts, articles, presentations and websites talking about agritourism has tripled in the past year. Go agritourism!!
Put on your innovation mindset and think about how to use this agritourism trend to help your town.
Check out and download these agritourism resources
There are university extension services ready to help.
On the Hawaii Agritourism website there is a link to a pdf, “Is Your Farm Ready for AgriTourism?” that can help any potential agritourism business make an informed decision about what to do.
And I have one more great post from the past to refer you to on the Circle Farm Tourism in British Columbia. “Would a Farm Tour Help Your Rural Community?”
Click through to the Circle Farm Tour website.
At the bottom of the right sidebar is regular sized print, you’ll see “Order our legacy document.” This is pure gold – the step-by-step instructions for creating your own farm tour for your rural region.
The message for rural communities?
Whatever you want to call it, the opportunity exists for you to turn your town around using the activities and attractions you already have.