Department of Travel & Tourism
Agritourism Month Spotlights Growing Sector
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Agritourism is an increasingly important segment of the state’s farm sector, with more than half of the agritourism businesses responding to a recent state-wide survey saying they plan to add some new employees in 2010 or 2011.
With September marking Agritourism Month in Kentucky, state officials responsible for promoting agritourism are encouraged by the steady growth of new and unique attractions that join the Kentucky Farms Are Fun program each month.
About 350 agritourism operators across the state are registered with the program, which promotes the sector through a website listing events and attractions (www.kyfarmsarefun.com) and provides support for farmers who want to add a tourism element to their operations, said Whitney Meadows, director of agritourism for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet.
September is a high point in the agritourism business, with fruit and vegetable harvests, corn mazes, hay rides and cooler temperatures drawing thousands of visitors to Kentucky farms, but operators are becoming more adept at marketing their attractions year-round, Meadows said.
“As a visitor, you can get dirty, but you have a place to wash your hands now,” Meadows said. “Agritourism operators now offer things like restrooms, cafes and indoor activities. You can take classes to learn to bake pies, stitch, make Christmas ornaments and produce wine. Christmas tree farms are very popular family destinations. All these activities keep customers coming back throughout the year.”
Agritourism operators and those considering opening a farm destination can also turn to the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (www.kcard.info) in Elizabethtown, Ky. for help with product promotion, budgeting, accounting procedures and other skills.
For more information on Kentucky agritourism, visit www.kyfarmsarefun.com. The Kentucky Department of Travel & Tourism website, www.kytourism.com, also has an agritourism section under “Things to Do.”
The Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism is an agency within the Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet,which promotes the Commonwealth as a travel destination. Tourism in Kentucky has an economic impact of nearly $11 billion, employs more than 176,000 people and generates $1 billion in taxes.