As Western Australia grapples with its economic recovery post COVID-19 and residents start to look intrastate for their annual holidays, a growing opportunity presents to use agritourism as key industry recovery engine.
Agritourism can broadly be defined as the intersection of agriculture and tourism - an opportunity for visitors to learn about, and experience, regional produce or lifestyle.
The hugely diverse geography of Western Australia provides an abundance of diverse agritourism activities – from visiting wineries or farm stays, to truffle hunting, oyster farm tours or regional food festivals.
The latest FACTBase Bulletin released by the Committee for Perth shines a light on how important spending in this sector is to our State’s economic recovery post COVID.
In fact, agritourism provides a critical means of introducing money back into the WA economy.
Economic multipliers show an injection of $1 million into the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry will generate almost three additional jobs in other sectors.
Injecting $1 million into the Retail Trade and the Accommodation and Food Services industries will respectively generate an employment multiplier effect of 8.54 and 8.88 across the economy.
Agritourism spans both of these sectors and has the potential to create more jobs per dollar spent than many other industries in our economy – including mining.
Businesses and local communities have as much to gain from visitors as visitors do from agritourism in WA.
Working together, agritourism providers can enhance regional economies through collective branding of agritourism experiences and local offerings – for example, the power of the Margaret River brand.
Spending in agritourism also has important flow-on effects to Perth businesses, including a diverse range of Perth-based logistics, construction, real estate and manufacturing businesses that service regional WA.
In the context of continued restrictions on domestic and international travel, and a sharpened interest in local products and holidaying at home, policy makers should seize the opportunity to invest in, and support, this important sector.
Put simply - greater support and development of alternative WA agritourism offerings would provide opportunities for further economic growth and provide an important pathway forward as we navigate our new normal.
You can read our FACTBase Bulletin 69 - Agritourism in Western Australia: better than going abroad post COVID on our website.