NEW TOURISM VENTURES A STEP CLOSER FOR FARMERS

A group of North West primary producers are a step closer to unlocking their full business potential by expanding into farm-based tourism, thanks to an innovative NSW Government pilot program.

NSW Minister for Small Business Damien Tudehope today joined 10 farmers at a property in Premer for the last of six workshops under the Agritourism pilot program, which has been underway in the Liverpool Plains Shire Council area since March.

“This program is all about mentoring and up-skilling farmers so they can innovate and diversify, with a particular focus on tourism expansion,” Mr Tudehope said.

“The farmers here today are in the final stage of developing their chosen venture, which includes everything from farm stays, Indigenous cultural tours, roadside stalls, on farm camping and wedding receptions.”

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Mr Tudehope said farmers were doing it tough with the ongoing drought crippling the state, with those in the North West particularly hard hit.

“Initiatives such as the Agritourism pilot can help keep primary producers on the land while boosting regional jobs and economies. Agritourism is a growing sector. Between 2015 and 2018 an average of around four million tourists visited a farm in Australia each year – that’s an increase of more than 50 per cent in just over a decade.”

Minister for Jobs, Investment and Tourism Stuart Ayres said pilot programmes like these boost visitors and expenditure in regional communities when they need it most.

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“Regional tourism in NSW directly employs more than 90,000 people, and we are committed to continuing to help grow opportunities for those who have helped generate record numbers of visitors to NSW this year.”

The Agritourism pilot – a joint partnership between the NSW Small Business Commission and Service NSW – will soon expand to include the Wollondilly Shire Council and Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Local Government Areas.