When promoting a tourism account through media and public relations outreach, too often the focus centers on the sustainable assets which already exist. Examples include famous parks, museums, spectator attractions such as sports stadiums and natural wonders. After awhile, the promotion of these tourism options can become…stale. A solution may lie in a deeper look, uncovering a tourism asset gone previously undiscovered to date. Yes, they’re out there.
There are many hidden gems that can be considered a tourism attraction, if promoted properly. While it may take some heady research to find the new tourism option, in most cases they do exist and they’re usually right under your nose.
Recently, one of our clients was tasked with just such a situation. While the client has many well-known tourism assets to offer its visitors, it was time to find additional opportunities to help lure the public. And it all occurred by researching a recent trending topic—agritourism. Agritourism is defined by the American Farm Bureau as “any enterprise at a working farm, ranch or agricultural plant conducted for the enjoyment of visitors, which generates value-added income for the owner.” The latest agricultural census indicated that there are over 25,000 working farms that met this definition in 2008, bringing in an additional $566 million in revenue. It doesn’t hurt to know that it is still common knowledge that the United States is an agrarian-based country. Part of our global strength has always come from our ability to feed other nations through food exports.
Because agritourism is not necessarily the first option that comes to mind when looking for a tourism option, it takes some careful promotion to draw in the public. However, when the opportunity is coupled with activities that people enjoy and the trending topic of healthy eating, agritourism becomes that offbeat tourism option. Media outreach efforts that reach the consumer’s consciousness become successful in small ways. To wit: do you have an interest in learning to drive a farm tractor? Would you like to make some honey instead of buying it from a grocery store? Could your family stand to eat healthier and fresher produce?
A quick and cursory search of our client’s territory yielded six such agritourism options, five farms and one winery. While each has their own opportunity and limited individual outreach efforts, they become a more viable option for the public when touted together under the banner of agritourism. It then becomes absolutely plausible that an entire family might seek out an opportunity to participate in activities on a working farm and leave with grocery bags full of some of the freshest and healthiest fruits and vegetables this side of a grocery store chain. Not to mention that the experience includes the lasting effects of the agritourism visit—visible on the dinner table for the foreseeable future.
If you’re looking for tips on how to create a new tourism opportunity in your area, you’re going to have to do your homework. Talk to locals and ask them about the subject. Inquire as to their opinion on the subject of “out-of-the-way” places and activities that could be promoted to a wider audience. Check “Trending Topics” on Twitter. If you happen to find a topic that integrates a tourism opportunity within your area, find a way to gain local cooperation and promote it.
How about your tourism clients? Have you researched an offbeat or alternative tourism option and had success in promoting it? Let us know about it!