Funding for growing agritourism sector.
A programme to drive the economic growth of the agritourism sector in Scotland is set to receive more than £442,000.
The programme will see the recruitment of four farms across Scotland, with the involvement of a wider circle of eight rural businesses around each farm.
At least 400 further individual rural businesses will also participate via meetings and seminars.
The diverse sector includes retail sales of food and drink, accommodation, event spaces and on-farm experiences.
A recent study by tourism body VisitScotland found the retail value of agritourism has increased by almost £50 million in the past year, rising from £62 million to over £110 million.
The industry is also promoting the role of women in agriculture, with slightly more women than men who are directors of agritourism and farm retail businesses according to the VisitScotland report.
Announcing the funding at the Scottish Agritourism Conference in Perth, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:
“This is an exciting and diverse business area that is enjoying significant growth.
“It has become an important contributor to our rural economies, offering diversification opportunities, providing jobs and supporting family farms across Scotland.
“In addition, it allows consumers to engage directly with producers and learn first-hand how their food is made.
“A key part of agritourism is producing the high quality food and drink Scotland is famous for, but it also delivers fantastic on-farm experiences and exceptional accommodation offerings that provide attractive alternatives for visitors too.
“I look forward to seeing how this project provides real progress in ensuring Scotland is a world-leader in the agritourism sector.”
The announcement comes ahead of the first meeting of Scotland’s Agritourism Implementation Board which will lead the implementation of Scotland’s Agritourism Strategy this week.