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Bet the Farm: Amadeus Sees Opportunity In AgritouristsFebruary 8, 2012 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
Agritourists want to get their hands dirty with experiential, bucolic adventures. Working on a farm might not sound like most people’s idea of “leisure,” but a growing group of travelers are passing up on beach vacations and city tours and seeking experiential adventures on farms instead, Amadeus reports.
These “agritourists” are milking cows, shearing sheep, making cheese, picking fruit and spinning wool for an authentic rural lifestyle experience, Amadeus notes.
Consumer interest in farm or rural vacations has grown 30 percent a year since 1987. Europe has a long tradition of agricultural tourism and the trend has been growing steadily in the U.S., with an estimated 60,000 farms open to day and overnight visitors, Amadeus says citing data from Forbes.com.
Amadeus says agents can learn more about this travel trend so they can help customers reap the rewards of a genuine farm experience—and give them the unique vacation they may be seeking.
Amadeus’ suggestions, including international options:
Getting their hands dirty at Liberty Hill Farm in the green mountains of Vermont, visitors sleep in sunny bedrooms in a white farmhouse. The 200-acre dairy operation has 100 Holsteins, which visitors help milk in an old red barn. They also collect eggs and pick sweet corn and wild blackberries in season.
Farmstead Lodging, a third-generation Amish family farm at Fredricksburg, Ohio, enlists visitors to raise hay and corn, milk the cows and care for the Belgian draft horses used in farm work. Local tour sightseeing opportunities include the quaint Amish towns of nearby Mount Hope and Kidron. In Slovenia, guests gather fruits and vegetables, learn to weave baskets and make soap. In Italy, farm visitors learn about country Italian cooking, tour the vineyards, mingle with locals and attend local harvest festivals.
Agricultural tours may be as short or long as travelers desire. Shepherd’s Cross offers a “woolly weekend” package. On the other end of the scale are farm-work trips in Norway, where farmers open their homes to people who want to stay for two to six months. During the week, guests harvest hay, feed animals and chop wood. On weekends, their hosts show them the ice-blue glaciers and other wonders of Norway.
Agritourism doesn’t have to include sweat and mud. During a relaxing stay on a farm, after enjoying the fruits (literally, in many cases) of their hosts’ labor, travelers can check out wine presses in California, macadamia and coffee plantations in Hawaii, working sheep stations in Australia and New Zealand, cheese-making facilities in Italy and more.
Amadeus notes that agents can use the Amadeus Selling Platform Connect to access agritourism trip options. Using the Amadeus Selling Platform Connect, agents can customize the specifics of the platform and integrate third-party content—such as agritourism directories—into the booking flow.