A recently released study of Tennessee’s agritourism industry by researchers with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture says the economic impact of agritourism in the state more than doubled between 2006 and 2012. Visitors to Tennessee agritourism operations in 2012 spent more than $34.4 million directly and more than $54.2 million total when multiplier effects are included.
Researchers with the UT Agri-Industry and Modeling Group of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the Center for Profitable Agriculture have created a new profile of the Tennessee agritourism industry based on survey responses from 171 Tennessee agritourism farms.
Read the study at A Snapshot of Tennessee Agritourism 2013 Update.
“The results of this study are incredibly exciting and insightful and will be of great use to existing agritourism operators, farmers interested in agritourism and industry partners,” said Megan Bruch, marketing specialist with the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture.
Because the numbers are based on 2007 Census of Agriculture estimates of 510 agritourism enterprises, Bruch said the study will be re-estimated when 2012 Census data are available. “We expect to see an increase in the number of agritourism operations in the state represented in the 2012 Census, so the economic impact of agritourism in Tennessee very well could be higher than these figures.”
The 110 agritourism operators who reported visitor numbers on the survey estimated they hosted more than 1.75 million people on their farms in 2012. The most common types of activities and attractions at agritourism enterprises who participated in the study were on-farm retail markets, school field trips and tours, event hosting, pick-your-own product operations, wagon rides and other farm tours.
Agritourism operations seem to be part of diversified farming operations. The average number of acres per operation responding was 250 with about 42 of those acres used for agritourism. The average percent of acres owned used for agritourism was 16.8 percent.
Investments by industry partners have garnered results for these enterprises. Nearly 80 percent of operators surveyed used promotional services associated with Pick Tennessee Products, the Tennessee Vacation Guide or Tennessee Farm Fresh. On average, operations reported a 9.3 percent increase in sales in 2012 due to these services. The estimated sales impact for 2012 from these programs for agritourism operators is an increase of more than $5.4 million.
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