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AGRI TOURISM FARM & FARM STAY

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Abstract

As an entrepreneur, if you decide to start an agri tourism farm, it is important to know about the types of agri tourism farms. Then you can decide the most suitable type depending on your capabilities and business requirements. If you want to convert an existing farm into an agri tourism farm also, you need to have an idea about the different types of agri tourism farms.The agri tourism farms try to make their production more extensive and ecologically/ environmentally clean because these meet the needs of the tourists/visitors. Visitors to agri tourism prefer ecologically and environmentally clean production. General farms try to introduce as much technical development as they can aim for higher production. However, these modern techniques used in farm production are not very attractive for agri tourists. The traditional and indigenous methods of agricultural production are of great importance for agri-tourism. They differ in different countries and even different regions. Agri tourism farms accept technical development only in the field of improving tourist service. The approach at which the agri tourism farms look at the market is also different. The market is very important and agri tourism farms consider tourists and visitors as their main market segment. If you want to establish and run agri tourism farm you have to fulfill some basic physical requirements in the first instance. What are these? First, you must have an idea about what a farm is.
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AGRI TOURISM FARM
&
FARM STAY
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AGRI TOURISM FARM
&
FARM STAY
Rohana P Mahaliyanaarachchi
M.Sc (Plovdiv), PhD (Peradeniya)
Senior Professor
Department of Agri Business Management
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka
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AGRI TOURISM FARM & FARM STAY
Copyright © 2015 R P Mahaliyanaarachchi
All rights reserved
First Edition
February 2015
ISBN: 978-955-644-047-8
Published By:
Department of Agri Business Management
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka
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CONTENTS
Preface I
Chapter One 01
Planning and Organization of Agri Tourism Farm 01
Types of Agri Tourism Farms 01
Agriculture Only Farms Vs Agri Tourism Farms 03
Main Features of An Agri Tourism Farm 03
Hospitality of An Agri Tourism Farm 07
Managing of An Agri Tourism Farm 09
The Standards Required For Agri Tourism Farm 10
Chapter Two 12
Farm Stay 12
What is a Farm Stay? 12
Farm B & B (Bed And Breakfast) 13
Elements of A Farm Stay 17
Capter Three 26
Setting Up A Farm Stay Business 26
Business Structure Options 26
Requirements To Start Up A Farm Stay 27
Planning The Business (Business Plan For The Farm Stay) 28
Capter Four 35
Marketing Of Farm Stay Business 35
Place 35
Product 36
Price 36
Promotion 36
People 37
Physical Evidence 37
Process 38
Bibliography 39
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PREFACE
Previous year also I was able to organise similar type of Conference on Development
and Promotion of Agritourism Education and Industry in Sri Lanka from 17th – 18th
Februray in Colombo with the sponsorship of Asian Productivity Organization in Tokyo,
Japan. It was a very successful event and we were able to promote agri tourism among
both state and private sectors. In 2014 I was given an opportunity by the National
Productivity Secretariat of Sri Lanka and Asian Productivity Organization to participate
in a training program in home stays and farm stays in Kedah, Malaysia. As a result of
my participation in the aforesaid training programme, Mr Joselito Bernardo, Director
of Department of Agriculture, APO agreed to provide nancial and necessary technical
assistance to organize a conference on Development of Home stays and Farm stays in
Sri Lanka.
The main purpose of writing this monograph is to compile the important areas of Agri
tourism farms, enabling interested persons to get a basic knowledge on farm stays as
a tourist accommodation facility, planning and developing farm stays and ways of
marketing and promoting them. This monograph is published to coincide with the
“National Conference on Development and Promotion of Homestay and Farmstay to
Increase Farm Household Incomes in Sri Lanka” to be held from 15th -16th September
2015 in Colombo, Sri Lanka jointly organised by The Department of Agri Business
Management of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the Sabaragamuwa University of
Sri Lanka and the National Productivity Secretariat of Sri Lanka with the sponsorship of
Asian Productivity Organization in Tokyo, Japan.
The main aim of the conference is to create greater awareness among policy makers,
economic planners and key stakeholders in the agriculture and tourism sectors on
the concept of Home stays and Farm stays as a strategy to create alternative income
opportunities for farming communities, develop the alternative tourism sector and as a
tool for revitalizing the rural economy. I hope this monograph will provide necessary
information to the participants of this conference and the rest of the interested persons
on agri tourism farms and farm stays .
I must thank Mr. Joselito Bernardo, Director of Agriculture of Asian Productivity
Organization for providing funds to publish this monograph, Dr M. Esham Senior
Lecturer of the Department of Agri Business Management for proof reading and giving
his valuable ideas, Mr. Anura Gunaratne for designing an attractive cover page and Mr
Prasad C. Iddamalgoda for computer page setting of this monograph.
Prof Rohana P Mahaliyanaarachchi
Senior Professor of Agri Business Management
01.09.2015
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CHAPTER ONE
Planning and Organization of Agri Tourism Farm
Types of Agri Tourism Farms
As an entrepreneur, if you decide to start an agri tourism farm, it is important to know
about the types of agri tourism farms. Then you can decide the most suitable type
depending on your capabilities and business requirements. If you want to convert an
existing farm into an agri tourism farm also, you need to have an idea about the different
types of agri tourism farms.
If you want to establish and run agri tourism farm you have to fulll some basic physical
requirements in the rst instance. What are these? First, you must have an idea about
what a farm is.
Farm
Agricultural farm is the basic production unit in agriculture. It consists of the land and
other requirements for cultivation and animal rearing such as buildings, machines,
tools, water resource, inner roads, canals, and energy sources. It has its own workforce.
All activities and production are managed by a farmer. The farm differs from other
production units because the land is the most important factor and it produces mainly
food for people and animals.
A farm which introduced a new section into its structure –agri-tourism – is called an agri
tourism farm. Agri tourism farm produces plant and animal products and offers service
in agri tourism. The both sections on an agri tourism farm- agriculture and tourism- is
dependent on the other. Often the farm production depends partly or fully on tourism and
vice versa, for example tourists consume food produced on the farm and the objective of
a tourist to visit a farm to experience quiet farm life. The amount of income from a given
section depends from one another and can be different.
On a pure agriculture farm 100% of income comes from plant and/or animal production
as well as food processing. On an agri-tourism farm part of the income comes from
tourism and the rest from the farm production. The ratio of agri-tourism income in total
income of the farm shows the meaning of agri-tourism for that farm. More the income
from agri-tourism, it is more benecial for the farm. In agri tourism farms a reasonable
amount of the land used for buildings, car-parks, lawns and ower-beds to make the area
more attractive. Water sources are used to create water features for recreation. The way
of managing agri tourist farms is sometimes different from other farms. For instance,
general farms try to specialize in the production of one product, while for the agri-
tourism farms diversication is better because this way it is more attractive for tourists.
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The agri tourism farms try to make their production more extensive and ecologically/
environmentally clean because these meet the needs of the tourists/visitors. Visitors to
agri tourism prefer ecologically and environmentally clean production. General farms
try to introduce as much technical development as they can aim for higher production.
However, these modern techniques used in farm production are not very attractive for
agri tourists. The traditional and indigenous methods of agricultural production are of
great importance for agri-tourism. They differ in different countries and even different
regions. Agri tourism farms accept technical development only in the eld of improving
tourist service. The approach at which the agri tourism farms look at the market is also
different. The market is very important and agri tourism farms consider tourists and
visitors as their main market segment.
Agri tourism farms can be classied according to the type of agri tourism operation.
• Farm Stays : Farm House (Farm Home stays) and Cabana
• Day Farms: Farm tours, Farm restaurants, U pick ups
Another type of classication is according to the type of agricultural operation.
• Mixed cropping farms: number of crops are planted in these farms (vegetables,
fruits, paddy, herbs, cereals, oilseeds, etc.)
• Horticultural Farms: Horticultural crops such as vegetables, owers and fruits are
grown on these farms
• Mono cropping farms: Tea, Cinnamon, Coffee, Banana
• Hybrid farms: both crops and livestock are in these farms
• Livestock farms
All these types of farms can be operated as Farm Stays and Day Farms.
Farm Stays
These are called as farm resorts too. These are farms that offer accommodation and
meals for the tourists. Tourists stay at the farm for the purpose of participating in or
enjoying interactive on farm activities and other services offered to enrich the farm life
experiences.
Farm stays also can be classied as farm home stays and farm B& B s. Farm home
stays offer accommodation right in the farm house where the farm family lives. Visitors
are guests of the farm family within the house. Farm B & B s are with accommodation
facilities in separate buildings within the farm premises. Some of them have converted
old farm buildings into wonderfully diverse guest houses. There may be newly built
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cabana type farm houses for farm tourists. Also, there may be accommodation in tree
houses or at a campsite in the farm premises and farm stays come in many different
patterns, shapes and sizes.
Saba Tea Garden in East Malaysia is a wonderful place with farm stays. They have two
types of farm stays; eld ofcers’ lodgings were converted into cabana type houses and
traditional Borneo island long houses which are constructed with bamboo wood.
This author experienced farm home stay in the Midlands of England in the summer
vacation in 2002. It was operated by a lady and her farm was located in village closer
to New Port. Two rooms of her house were allocated for visitors and vegetables, fruits,
herbs were cultivated in the farm. She had few milking cows and hens for eggs. Most of
the food served to guests is farm fresh and homemade. Cheese, Butter, Yogurt, Vine &
Sausages are homemade and fruits and vegetables are farmed fresh to the table. Even
bread was homemade. Visitors can go around the farm and pick vegetables and fruits
for buying at the departure. According to the owner her main business period is May to
September.
Most of the farm stays offer breakfast on the farm. Other meals are depending on how
the farm is operated. Generally farms which are located far from the cities provide all
three meals. Generally at the farm home stays, visitors are getting all the meals and
visitors are allowed to involve in cooking too if they preferred. Cabana type farm houses
which are located separately from the farmer’s house may have self cooking facilities.
If you are willing to operate cabana type farm stay it is convenient for visitors if there is
cooking facilities in the farm house. However, breakfast is a requirement for any type of
farm stay along with accommodation.
Agriculture only farms vs Agri Tourism farms
Agriculture only farms are highly specialized and prot oriented. Their goal is to produce
maximum out of the land available with minimum cost of production by practicing
intensive agricultural practices.
Main features of an Agri Tourism farm
In planning an agri tourism farm, it is compulsory to understand basic principles and
requirements of it. There are three agri-tourism basics: a) Have something for visitors
to see, b) something for them to do, and c) something for them to buy. In planning your
agri tourism farm you have to consider how much variety of things you are going to
offer visitors to see, what type of activities are available for visitors to involve and their
attractiveness and what are the unique things available in your farm for them to buy?
From rst two features, you cannot earn much income other than a reasonable entrance
fee. You can make a lot of money by organizing a variety of things to sell to visitors.
Research shows that tourists buy mainly food, beverages, and souvenirs. You can have a
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restaurant at the farm and a farm shop which sells fresh and processed food, beverages
and souvenirs.
Things to See
Farm Tours
Farm tours are organized as educational tours using cropping systems and patterns and
livestock as the main attraction. The aim of this farm tour is to make awareness to the
visitors about the different types of crops and cultivation practices, harvesting methods
and many more and different types of farm animals and animal husbandry methods as
well the plight of the family farmer and create a positive image of agriculture within the
visitors. Especially farm tours for school children can be organised as a concept of “re-
invent agriculture” where school children obtain knowledge on real farm life.
Historical Re-creations
Agri tourism attraction on your farm can be created by displaying real or models of
traditional agricultural implements, techniques and technologies. Some attractions
grow out of the owners’ hobby collections—old farm machinery and equipments, seeds
of traditional crop varieties, traditional and environmentally friendly farm buildings,
transportation modes, and photographs of old and traditional farming techniques and
systems.
Processing Demonstrations
Visitors like to see food processing on your farm such as milling (with traditional kurhan
gala), curd, yogurt and cheese production, homemade moju, pickles and sauce production.
You can make it more attractive by including processing methods and techniques with an
old timely avour that is healthier and environmentally friendly.
Crop art and Crop landscaping
Organise the farm with attractive landscaping with crops and design crop arts. Most crop
art consists of various designs of horticultural and grain crops (eg: maize, paddy) in a
eld and designs created by different coloured plantings. Such crop art is best viewed
from the air or from a raised structure. There have also been proposals for creating
mounds-like structures with outlined in edible native plants. Also a model home garden
can be prepared and it will be attracted by the both urban and suburban visitors. There
are professional crop artists / crop landscapers and it is wise to get consultancies from
such professional, in planning and building crop art in your farm.
An example of crop art is the “veggie salad” concept, a subspecies of crop art. With this
concept a section of the farm is designed as artful veggie salad and a eld is organised
to a circular arrangement of vegetable crops. Pie-shaped wedges of cucumbers, lettuce,
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tomatoes, and other crops that represent veggie salad ingredients are planted. This is
reportedly one of the fastest-growing types of crop art.
Models of urban agriculture, water features with water plants and sh, paths that are
covered with arches with various types vines (fruits, vegetables and herbs), model herbal
gardens are different types of crop arts that can attract visitors both adults and children .
Natural features
An outstanding natural feature on a farm may become a tourist attraction—a waterfall, a
jungle, a stream, or a spectacular view of mountains. Water is a popular natural attraction;
sometimes natural features of interest to a visitor may have been overlooked by the
farmer.
Petting zoos
One of the very best things you can organize in a farm for agri tourism promotion is
to have farm animals and pets of all different kinds. Especially petting zoo in a farm is
attracted by children. There are many animal friends you can have in the petting zoo,
including ponies, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, and many more.. Children
can feed the animals, too. They love that. The petting zoo is free for the children, but you
can have a sales outlet to sell feeds for the animals which will give you an income and
free food for your animals.
Things to Do
Educational activities
The educational activities offered on farms range from half day classes or short-term
workshops to full-scale, accredited courses of study. Farm schools accommodate interns
or apprentices, and charge tuition for the learning opportunity. Some farms offer classes in
cooking, arranging owers, or making herbal medicines. They depend on these activities
to help build a clientele for their main products. Farms have traditionally offered eld
days, sometimes sponsored by a farm organization or provincial government. Many farm
tours are also considered as an educational activity. Most of these farm tours are guided
by an expert in the farm and what they describe and explain is an education on the farm.
Children like to involve in various farming activities starting from nursery preparation
to harvesting.
U-Pick ups (Pick U own)
A U-pick or pick-your-own farm is a type of farm where visitors are allowed to harvest
their own produce. Generally, u pickups are practiced with vegetables, fruits and owers.
Visitors to do the milking at dairy farm are also considered as a type of u pickup. Since
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visitors are allowed to eat while picking, an entry fee usually covers any produce
customers may eat. Despite this, the produce at U-pick farms often cost lower since the
cost of hiring farmers to harvest the produce is precluded.
Pick-your-own (PYO) or U-pick operations are a type of direct marketing system where
visitors harvest fruits, vegetables, owers by themselves. U-pick is often preferred by
visitors who like to select fresher, higher quality, vine ripened produce at reasonable
prices. Also, many visitors enjoy picking produce themselves as a recreational event or
outing. U pickups also can serve as an additional selling method for producers who use
other direct and non-direct marketing alternatives.
If you allow PYOs in your farm you have to have a well organise farm with sign boards
to show the crops and information on cultivation and to show the directions, one or two
workers to guide the visitors and facilities to purchase the picked products.
Petting zoos/children’s enjoyments/pony back riding/hayrides
Ponies, rabbits, ducks, lambs, baby goats, calves, and piglets are certain attractions for
both city children and their parents. Pony and bullock cart rides are part of the mix.
BBQ by own
You can make available visitors to prepare their own BBQ at the farm under a tree or
close to a bush.
Therapy
If there is a stream or large pond is available in the farm you can organise sh therapy
and it will be a very good activity. Also you can organise paths where visitors can get foot
therapy. Apart from these different kinds of herbal medicinal therapy can be introduced.
Things to Buy
Food and Beverages
You can organise a restaurant in your farm where you can sell cooked food from farm
products and drinks. King coconuts and young coconuts are favours of visitors. Fresh
fruit drinks and herbal drinks both hot and cold are good options. However, don’t sell
factory made articial drinks. Fresh milk and milk products are preferred by both children
and their parents. Homemade ice cream and sweets, sandwiches, fresh fruit, barbecue,
and roasting sh are all possibilities for ready-to-eat food sales.
Gifts and souvenirs
You can have a gift and souvenir shop at the restaurant premises. It is important to have
your gift items represent your farm, something that is actually produced locally. Stick to
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a theme, something that truly represents the uniqueness of your farm and your region.
T-shirts, pens, mugs, caps and hats, processed food bottles, wood carvings, pottery, and
decorative items such as fresh and dried owers and hand loomed cloths are examples
of gift and souvenirs.
Fresh and processed food stuff
Visitors prefer to buy fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, milk and eggs from your farm. Also
you can organise to prepare processed food for sale. Homemade brinjal moju, lime
pickle, tomato sauce, mango chutney, ambrella chutney, butter, crude, yogurt, and cheese
are examples of processed food that can be sold at your farm shop.
Your agri tourism enterprise can attract two types of visitors. They are day visitors and
overnight stay visitors.
• Visitors connected with agriculture and day visitors– it is offered as a tourist
product directly connected with agricultural environment, agricultural products
(half a day seminar, eld visit, u pickups, open – air festivals, one day / half a day
product tour, local holidays, etc.).
• Tourist stays on the farm (farm tourism) – this form of tourism is tightly connected
with the place of stay and tasks that are done at the farm. The stay on the farm can
be connected with different interests (e.g.; Bird watching, sport shing, hiking,
pony riding, etc.)
The owner of the agri tourism farm, has to take into account the needs of potential
tourists ranging from these basic requirements something to see, something to do and
something to buy. These needs can be fullled by properly adjusting elements of agri
tourism to meet the needs. Among these elements organization of accommodation on
the proper level, attractions of the environment, accessibility of every-day facilities and
forms of spending the leisure time are very important. Hospitality is the most important
intangible asset required for your agri tourism business.
Hospitality of an Agri Tourism farm
Many factors inuence the development of agri tourism. Next to the attractiveness of
the farm environment, means of constant production, the social assets – people, their
personalities, their public relations, tendency to leading the agri tourism business, are
important factors for the success of the enterprise. A person or a farm family that leads
their own agricultural enterprise has to take into consideration all these aspects and as
a consequence create such style of life that will allow fullling the needs of potential
tourists. The agri tourism ensures its participants the silence, peacefulness, the active
form of rest in the natural environment, and rst and foremost the tight contact with the
local people in the pleasant atmosphere.
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The important factor of starting and developing of agri tourism is to build people’s
willingness and their competences to agriculture and related leisure activities. The
condition to develop agri tourism is creating of positive relationship between farming and
the tourists. The key element to the success of agri tourism enterprise is pleasant service
and kindness of hosts next to good standard of farm which is attractive to the tourists.
Often the high qualities of the region or place – the presence of numerous complexes
and of various services – can be insufcient, if the quality of service on the farm is poor.
In order to meet the expectance of tourists and to make them´ feel as at home, you as the
host should have the following features: independence, openness, kindness, tolerance,
ability to understand others expectations, punctuality, quickness, optimism and ability
of cooperation.
Table1.1: Ways of Managing Agri tourism farm
Type of managing Features of managing
Land Usage
Partial using for the agricultural production (crops and livestock),
And rest for tourism (cabanas, restaurant, car parks, farm shop,
therapy, etc.)
Structure of production Farming activities serves agri-tourism; crop and livestock
diversication; balanced development of the farm
Way of production Production of agriculture is not a totally commercial basis; even
enabling the tourists taking part in it
The level of production Extensive production and protection of the environment; preferably
organic farming; optimal usage of the agri-tourism area
The market for products Production inside farm for its own tourism purposes, over production
sold on the market
Source of income and
its meaning
Two sources of income: agricultural production and tourism, or
tourism alone; the meaning of tourism depends on its share
in total income
Socio cultural Need of using folk traditions, benets to the society
The host should guess the client´s needs and rst and foremost to deal so, that the client is
convinced, that there is nothing more important than them and their needs. These needs
result mostly from motives and aims of the journey. Owing to the above mentioned
features the stay of the tourist will be pleasent without unexpected and unnecessary
stresses disturbing the rest. The next feature which each owner should have is exibility
and willpower. These predispositions – next to stress resistance, learning from failures
and positive relationship towards people – bring the expected results in every enterprise.
However, this is the kindness of the host towards the client, which should be characteristic
for every host. In other words, there are internal and external factors that inuence the
success in Agri tourism and make tourists want to visit the given region. External factors
are: the attractiveness of the landscape of the given region and presence of numerous
sights. Internal factors include the standard of tourist base: the quality of agricultural
services, standard of rooms, and kindness of hosts. Estimating of the both kinds of these
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factors will allow indicating the potential possibilities of development of agricultural
services. Hospitality and kindness of hosts and the time they sacrice for tourists makes
the agri tourism exceptional and different form of spending free time.
Managing of an Agri Tourism farm
If you want to manage an agri tourism farm business, you have to know what the types
of managing an agri tourism farm in the rst instance.
In establishing an agri tourism farm (starting a new farm from beginning or converting
an existing farm) you have to bear three types of costs. They are establishing costs,
property costs and production costs.
Establishing costs
This is the cost incurred in purchasing a land, fencing, and construction of buildings,
water tanks, bans, electricity supply, inner roads, and other similar things.
Property costs
Property costs are the costs, which must be paid even if the farm does not produce goods.
It is obligatory to pay taxes and payments, paint the building or repair damages. Even
there is no farm production or agri tourism activity, owner has to bear some cost and this
is property cost.
Production costs
The costs connected with producing goods and services are production costs. This cost
includes both cost for agricultural production and agri tourism.
What is the type of Agri Tourism that ts into your farm?
You can operate agri tourism as a supplementary enterprise, complementary enterprise
or primary enterprise. You have to decide what the most suitable and appropriate type
for your farm is.
A supplementary enterprise: As a supplementary enterprise, agri-tourism could be a
minor activity that would support the other products on your farm. For instance, if your
primary enterprise is tea cultivation, you may decide to invite visitor groups to your farm
for day visits to learn about tea cultivation and if you have a tea processing factory too.
Occasionally hosting guests on your farm would make agri-tourism a supplementary
enterprise to your primary enterprise as long as the agri-tourism activities are a small
part of your farm income.
A complementary enterprise: As a complementary enterprise, agri-tourism activities
would have equal footing with other enterprises in your farm production. For example,
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you may have a fruit production unit on your farm. If you plan to sell half of your
fruits to a wholesaler and the remainder to pick-your-own guests on your farm, then the
two enterprises (the wholesale market and the direct market) would be complementary
enterprises.
The primary enterprise: As the primary enterprise, agri-tourism would be the dominant
activity on your farm. For instance, you may decide to open a restaurant and Farm B &
B on your farm and invite guests to spend the day or the weekend in your farm. You
may produce vegetables, fruits and meet in your farm but you use these produce mainly
to feed your guests. Therefore, agri-tourism is the main part of your farm production; it
becomes your primary enterprise.
It is important for you, as a farmer, to realize that agri-tourism has the potential to
become whatever you want it to be on your farm. Whether you use agri-tourism as
a supplementary, complementary, or primary enterprise, you must be ready to think
creatively and plan effectively in order for your new enterprise to be successful.
The standards required for Agri Tourism Farm
The following minimum standards are required for operation and running an agri tourism
farm.
a. Location: The farm shall be located at a generally accessible place to visitors. It
should be a safe and peaceful location.
b. Facilities/ Amenities: The farm shall have the following facilities/ amenities in
addition to required must facilities to operate an agri tourism farm.
• Reception counter (place) – Reception area is needed to welcome visitors / guests
and provide information about farm operations, farm tours offered, services and
other facilities to them
• Parking area: Vehicle parking area is needed. It shall be closer to the reception
area.
• Dining place: There shall be a dining place or area for the visitors. It can be
the restaurant of the farm. The dining area can be planned to attract visitors by
organizing recreational and activity area adjoining to the dining place.
• Farm guide: There shall be farm tour guides who accompany with the visitors
for a farm tour. They shall provide information on farm operations, processes,
products, and other unique features of the farm.
• Farm shop: There shall be farm shop where visitors can buy the farm produce
(fresh and processed) and souvenirs from the farm.
• Accommodation facilities: Accommodation facilities shall be provided
according to the required standards, if farm is operated as farm resort.
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c. Infrastructure: Support infrastructure facilities such as internal roads, walking
paths, electricity and lighting, clean water for drinking, cooking and washing
purposes and communication are needed.
d. Safety and Security: To ensure safety and security there must be following
facilities.
• Security Personnel: There should be a service of 24 hours on duty security
personnel to ensure the safety of guests
• Safety Signages: Appropriate safety signages must be displayed in the agri tourism
farm premises and at the reception. A notice shall be displayed informing about
the safety signages.
• “No entry” areas: No entry areas shall be clearly demarcated. Access to these
areas shall be blocked and public areas designated clearly.
• Fire ghting facilities: There shall be re ghting facilities in the farm cabanas/
farm houses and all the buildings.
• Internal communication facilities: There shall be an intercom system within the
farm, especially if it is lager one enabling visitors to communicate with the farmer
or caretakers in an emergency situation.
• First aid facilities; A well stocked rst aid box shall be available at all the times.
• Farm animals: Farm animals shall be kept within a distance from visitors.
e. Sanitation: Sanitation facilities are necessary in a farm stay and followings are
required.
• Wash rooms: Clean wash rooms with necessary amenities such as ow of clean
water, soap or had wash liquids, hand towels or tissue papers. Wash rooms must
be cleaned regularly.
• Resting places: Clean and well maintained indoor and outdoor resting places
for visitors shall be provided. Drinking water facility shall be provided at these
places.
• Garbage bins: Garbage collecting bins shall be placed within the farm.
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CHAPTER TWO
Farm Stay
Farm stay service is a type of rural accommodation within the various kinds of
accommodation in rural areas. Homestead accommodation, country-stays, rural
home-stays, and rural bed and breakfast seem to be most common and most tied with
countryside and rurality. The above accommodation categories are quite specic for agri
tourism; however the differences between them are minor. Farm Bed and Breakfast in
usual is a “unique term” for a variety of hosted accommodation in farms that includes a
bed for the night and a breakfast in the morning. There are also some specic Agri tourism
forms of accommodation such as sleeping on the hay, camping barns or bunkhouses.
However, such accommodation services cannot be offered on a mass scale. Further,
Farm stays are connected with some threats both for the farm (damages by the visitors,
re) and for visitors (low sanitary condition, low facilities).
Today it is not true that farm accommodations are cheap. However, staying on a farm
may be an advantage for a visitor. It is a different experience with fresh food, water and
air.
What is a Farm stay?
Here we are looking at a farm stay from the guests preview and from the farmers preview.
Guest preview
• Spending the vacation with family at a working farm or ranch
• For newly wedded couples and senior citizens a peaceful recoil in the country
• A place to see, learn and experience about cultivation of crops and rearing animals
• A place to experience the daily activities of a farm and ranch
• A place to eat farm fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, milk, eggs and other food items
• Experience a different rural culture, especially for international visitors
Framers preview
• Additional income source from a non farming activity using farm infrastructure
and facilities
• Make bonds with visitors who are from outside the farming region and make them
aware about rural farming activities and farmer’s life.
• A chance to meet people from different areas of the country and the world.
• Introduce farming to the new generation and make them interesting to live and
work in rural areas.
Ñ 13 Ð
• Organize leisure to the visitors in different environments, but with convenient
facilities for them.
• Accommodation facilities are from the rooms in the farmer’s house, cabana type
farm houses, tree houses, and camping sites.
Farm B & B (Bed and Breakfast)
What is a Farm B &B?
Bed and breakfast businesses provide lodging, breakfast, and hospitality. These
businesses are found on farms and in rural communities as well as in larger cities. All
are part of a private residence, offer short term overnight stays, include breakfast in the
room charge, and are known for the personal services offered. Of course, farm vacation
homes usually provide additional meals and activities for guests. Farm B & Bs and farm
vacation homes are alternatives to other commercial forms of lodging in rural areas and
many have become attractions in themselves. If you are going to start an agri tourism
business you can decide what the best realistic business option of farm accommodation
service in your farm is: a bed and breakfast or farm vacation home.
Hospitality
The most important service in farm B& B is hospitality. It is intangible and all the
visitors expect highest hospitality from the host. Some assessment of personal qualities
and entrepreneurial skills is necessary to see if these businesses are a good match for you
and your family. The common factor across the bed and breakfast industry is hospitality:
it is the key ingredient to any successful guest business. The host must enjoy meeting
people and welcoming them into the farm on a regular basis.
The feeling of welcome goes beyond a handshake, and there is much host can do to
increase it. The hosts should be friendly. It is customary to spend time with the guests
upon arrival and at breakfast. Be prepared to describe points of interest and activities in
the community, the background of the business and its location, and information about
you and your family.
Family inference
To have a successful farm B & B business, it is necessary do a careful assessment on
the impact it may have on your family - both on living arrangements and on the specic
needs of family members. If the answers are favorable to the following questions, then
this family-based farm B & B business may suite for you and your family. It can provide
additional income with a new way of life.
• Do you enjoy meeting all types of people? The answer for this question must be “
yes” , if you want to go ahead.
Ñ 14 Ð
• Would you be comfortable with visitors in your home? If you do not comfortable
with visitors in the same house, you can build cabana or cottage type outside
accommodation for the guests.
• Would you be able to provide enough areas for use by family members and the
security of family belongings? This is easier to do in some houses because of
the arrangement of entrances, hallways, and sleeping rooms. Remodeling or even
rearranging furnishings can help to separate family and business areas.
• Do you have the time to plan and promote this business and still give time to your
family?
• Will you be able to spend substantial time with the guests?
• Will you be able to dene the business responsibilities for each family member?
Even you can employ neighbour villagers to support you in areas such as room
service, cleaning etc.
Management Policies
When you share your home with guests, you have the right to determine allowable
activities and limits. To avoid misunderstandings, it is a good idea to state these policies
in your brochure and post them in the rooms. If the accommodation type is cabana or
cottage, most of the below given policies can be applied.
Make decisions about the following items:
• Smoking restrictions
• Use of alcoholic beverages (soft liquor such as beer or vine can be allowed)
• Whether children or babies are welcome
• Breakfast hours
• Guest areas vs. family space
• How and when the bill will be paid
• Use of credit cards
• Whether pets are allowed
• Arrival and departure times
How to be Successful with your Farm Accommodation
It is very important to know what the factors are that you have to consider in operating a
successful farm accommodation.
Ñ 15 Ð
Uniqueness
The host must be careful to identify a unique selling point of the farm stay. Why guests
should visit your farm accommodation, rather than someone else’s? What do you have
to offer them that they can’t get anywhere else?
The farm bed and breakfast or farm vacation facility can be anything from contemporary
to historic. It does not need to be a mansion. It does not always have to be old or of
historical importance. It should however always be comfortable, clean, distinctive, and
pleasant. Your farm house should be unique and reect your family, the people who live
there. One of your selling points is “environment” - the look or feel of your home.
Analyze why you think paying guests would nd your farm house a place where they
want to stay. Look at your house and its architecture, furnishings and consider what may
be needed to make them more attractive, and contribute to the smooth functioning of
your business.
You should determine the “viewpoint” that you want to have in your farm house and in
the guest rooms. Analyze the furniture and accessories you have, along with the style
of your farm house and its interior architecture. You have to be creative and your farm
house should reect your tastes and interests. Personal items placed in your home and
even in the guest rooms are appropriate.
The bedroom needs a bed with a good quality mattress and pillows, bed linen and clothes
hangers, and a towel rack. Include a comfortable table and chair, resting chair with light
for reading, a mirror, and a nearby outlet for personal appliances. The room should smell
and look fresh and clean. Extras such as a full length mirror, fresh owers or plants,
recent magazines, a small selection of books, and fresh fruit basket will be appreciated.
It is better if separate washroom facilities are provided. Food is a special part of bed and
breakfast and farm vacation homes. It should be memorable. Farm fresh food with local
cuisine is the expectation of the visitors.
Value of the Service
Farm stay or farm B & B owners have to provide the service value for the money paid
by the visitors. Don’t think that visitors to the farm stay are looking for cheap and low
facilities. They are not backpackers.
Visitors to farm accommodation do not expect facilities that match a 5 star hotel, but that
doesn’t mean that they will accept something that is mediocre either. Host of the farm
stays need to offer better accommodation facilities with clean, well organized, attractive
rooms, clean and attractive linen and furniture, and make them feel comfortable with
the facilities. Farm stay owners must realize that to have a successful business “happy
guest” is an important factor. They will be happy only with service and facilities match
Ñ 16 Ð
with the money they are paying. It comes full circle - people want value for money, they
want to be comfortable, and they want to feel special.
Visitors expect not only the best quality room facilities, but also high quality food, farm
activities and other services in the farm stay. Food must be tasty and authentic. That
means if you notice that food is organic and farm fresh, it should be as it is. Your guests
have come to enjoy the quiet of the countryside, make sure they get what they have paid
for.
Activities to do and Places to see
Visitors who are coming to the farm stays like to involve in farming or other activities
related to countryside and they further like to see interesting places close to the farm
stay. Fishing, boating, trekking, hiking, or horse or pony riding are some examples of
activities.
Tourists also like to know that if they feel adventurous during their stay, what the places
of interest close at are. So therefore farm stays owners need to mention these popular
tourist places on their website and brochures. These places are a draw-card for the
location, which creates another level of interest as to why visitors should book your
farm accommodation.
High quality hospitality
High quality hospitality is an indispensable factor for success of your farm stay/farm
accommodation. Fabulous customer service means going the extra mile, getting to know
your guests’ needs and trying to be accommodating. It is connected with high quality
hospitality. Always having a true smile on your face reects the level of your hospitality.
Even if you don’t offer full-board or guests have not requested evening supper, if there
are guests who have travelled all day and arrive late in the evening, offer them a cup
of soup and a snack. What that has cost you for this simple super in monetary terms
will have paid you back hundred-fold in goodwill and free advertising. Also keeping a
toileting kit in the room or wash room including a small piece of soap, a tooth brush and
tooth paste, shaving raiser, a budget pack of shampoo will give a high acceptance by
the guests. Tea making facility in the room will also can reect your hospitality. A small
basket of basics on arrival for your guests renting your self-catering cottage (if it is) is
always welcome. Some homemade bread, jam, eggs, butter, sugar, coffee, tea and milk
can all be built into your cost, but when it is presented on arrival, the feeling is that you
have made them feel special and the gesture will be positively received. Bottle water is
preferred by the guests always. Always think of the needs of your guests and pay high
attention to full their needs.
Ñ 17 Ð
Promoting and advertising
Promoting is a very important factor for the success of your farm accommodation.
Some farm stays have very attractive websites, but unfortunately they are with less
numbers guests. This is because your website is hidden. Your farm stay is best farm
accommodation to offer, but then millions of other farm stay owners around the world
think so too. Therefore, you have to understand competition is severe. Everyone is trying
to compete with others and sell own. Today there are a number of accommodation guides
in the internet which you also can use to market / advertise your property. Few of these
are trip advisor, booking.com, agoda, budget travel, Asia rooms, etc. It is important to
note that the photos that you post on your website or the accommodation guides must be
not exaggerated ones. They must show the real situation of your farm stay.
Holidaying in a farm
Holidaying is a type of agri tourism. People like to go for their vacations out of the
residence area aiming to have a special experience. The idea of holidaying in a farm is
spending free time away from home, on a farm or a ranch. This type of agri tourism is
mainly aimed both local urban dwellers and foreign tourists. As well as staying on the
farm and the experiencing the farming environment, these visitors use farm stays to visit
other places in the area such as historical places, natural resources, wildlife, beaches,
hiking, etc. The products and services of holidaying in a farm are classied according to
the length and season and purpose of stay in the following way:
• Special Holiday packages offered by vacation farms,
• Weekend holiday (1-2 days) or longer holiday (during school vacations and longer
weekends)
• Holiday packages in a farm stay combined with sightseeing tours
• Working in farm in the day time and fun in the evenings
These holidays can be offered as expensive as well as cheaper offers. There are visitors
who like to have very convenient lifestyle in the farm and have a fun. For them
accommodation and other facilities should be organised with higher standards. Others
who like experience real farming life with less facility can be organised cheap, but
convenient accommodation and other facilities. Then agri tourism enterprise can attract
both types of visitors.
Elements of a Farm Stay
A farm stay is lodging available to paying guests on a working farm and it can take
many forms. A farm family may convert a room in their farmhouse to accommodate
overnight guests, renovate a farm building into a sleeping cabin, or build a new structure
specically for guests.
Ñ 18 Ð
If you think to commence a farm stay business, prior to starting it you should ask and
honestly evaluate many questions: Do I have the personality for this? Do my local
authorities’ regulations allow this sort of thing? Is there a market for this type of business
in my area? How will I attract visitors? How much time can I devote to accommodating
guests? How much money do I need to clear to make it worth the investment? How can
I maintain my family’s privacy?
Some dimensions need to be considered before starting a farm stay. They include
personal, regulatory, and business feasibility:
Personal feasibility: whether you and your family have the skills and temperament
to deal with regular guests on your farm. It also includes your relationships with
neighbours and how they might react to having new people on your farm regularly.
You must be satised about your unending interest and capabilities to receive
guests with different personal qualities to your farm.
• Regulatory feasibility: your awareness of the rules and regulations, both in tourism
and farming and comply with them if you plan to start a farm stay.
Business feasibility: the economic and operational aspects of a farm stay. You
must do the calculation and satisfy with the economic feasibility of the farm stay
business that you are going to start. It is likely to generate positive revenues, and
ultimately, add to the protability of your farm.
At the initial stage of planning a farm stay, you need to nd out if it is feasibility of your
farm stay from the regulatory perspective of the national and local governments. If it is
feasible, then following elements you have to look at before planning a farm stay.
• creating an enjoyable guest experience
• managing your own time and human resources
• administering the daily operations of the farm stay and the farm
• promotion and marketing
• public relations
It is important to look at these elements from two perspectives: 1) your experience as a
host; and 2) your visitors’ experience as guests.
For example, to create an enjoyable guest experience, ask yourself: What should my
guest accommodations look like to please my guests? How much effort am I willing
to put into renovating facilities and obtaining furnishings? What sorts of activities will
people enjoy doing on my farm? How much of my time am I willing to devote to special
activities, such as guided farm tours or lowland walks with my guests? Think about what
could set your farm stay apart and leave a lasting impression on your future customers,
and also what you can manage as a working farmer. Activities can be a draw, but a happy
Ñ 19 Ð
host will also likely make for happy guests, and happy guests will naturally and eagerly
help you grow your business. Remember that word-of-mouth recommendations are the
best advertising for farm stays.
Who are the guests?
Farm stay is a new concept for most of the travelers and farm tourists are mainly leisure
travelers and vacationers. As the farm stay owner, you must know what type of visitors
is coming to your place. Different kinds of people may visit your farm and stay in your
farm stay. Some may like to have full-time relaxation and others may like activities on
the farm. Some may like to read a book in the calm and quite environment of the farm
and others like to go for a farm round and do the milking, u pickups or shing for dinner.
As a host you need to be sensitive to the guests’ interests and likes.
A farm stay will have a wide range of visitors’ options. Some guests will prefer minimal
interaction and be isolated while others will prefer extensive opportunities to interact
with the farmer and farm family. People who like to spend their vacation in a peaceful,
calm and idle environment, prefer cabana or cottage away from the farmer’s residence. In
such case your duties may be making the reservations, securing payment, and providing
access to the accommodations and providing meals on guest request.
If the visitors are more active and like to know and get experience about farming
activities, your responsibility is more broad. Therefore, when you make your plans in
your farm stay, it is important not to offer everything to everyone. However, you have
to be ready to offer visitors’ requests without refusing. Therefore, you have to display
and make aware the visitors about your offers. Be specic to them with “what do have”
and “what do not have” in your farm stay. Different types of visitors prefer different
experiences. Elderly people like to remember their childhood experiences, families with
children look for memorable and eminence vacation time together and private travelers
look for a new adventure or isolation.
What can you offer to the guests?
If your farm is located road side and smaller in scale you may prefer to offer
accommodation (overnight stay) at your farm for travellers and can have few amenities
outside accommodation. Nevertheless, you may like to operate your farm stay as
a substantial part of your farming business; you have to introduce more things and
amenities that can attract visitors to stay on your farm. Farm stays must give memorable
experiences to the visitors and allow them to remember and talk throughout the life
about the experience they had. It may be the special type of accommodation they had,
the taste of the food offered to them or hospitality of the farm owner.
At a farm stay you can display a collection of traditional farm equipments, manage a
petting zoo, demonstrate renewable energy systems that you are operating, demonstrate
Ñ 20 Ð
traditional food processing methods and many more things that are interested by
visitors. Further, you can organize facilities for shing on the property or bird watching
opportunities. If anyone of your family experienced with massage, yoga or therapeutic
arts you can make available them to your visitors. All of these activities, with a bit of
creative adaptation, can become indispensable facilities that will set your farm stay more
valuable apart from the accommodation.
Apart from above described main extra facilities several minor services can be introduced
to the visitors that can add more authentic value to your visitors’ experiences. They will
help to promote your suite among visitors to rural areas. They can be listed as follows.
• Area guide to nearby attractions such as waterfalls, heritage places, national
parks, community cultural centers, museums, important religious places, etc.
• Outside bathing opportunities; in a reservoir, river or stream, sea, tank, natural
water pool
• Traditional beverages prepared by using herbal plants and ingredients
• Bicycles for your guests to tour the countryside
• Mini library at the farm; visitors to read about the area, farming practices, etc.
A well-selected small library offers a wonderful way for the guests to slow down and
enjoy the more pleasant pace of life in your farm stay escaping from the constant noise
of the city they are accustomed to. New generation is more dependent on the internet and
electronic media and this will encourage them to experience the pleasure of reading at a
calm and quiet environment.
• Free of charge salads, herbal tea and / or fruit baskets
• Evening outdoor recreations, outdoor eating, outdoor BBQ and camping
• Shopping discounts for products from your farm
It is important to pay your attention to provide traditional good accommodation facilities
for your guests that are available in other guest houses or hotels too. It is generally
included private bathrooms with standard facilities, air conditioning, in-room TV, electric
and electronic devices charging facilities, emergency lamps, free wireless Internet,
ironing facilities, tea/coffee making facility in the room, comfortable chair for reading
and relaxing and a table for writing. Further, size and type of bed and type of mattress
must be comfortable ones.
How do you plan visitor service at a Farm stay?
Excellent hospitality and visitor service are the main components of running a successful
farm stay. In organising your service in the farm stay, you must get into consideration
why peoples go on vacation at a farm stay. A survey done by the University of California,
Ñ 21 Ð
Small Farm Center found the following major nine reasons people go on vacation:
• To rest and relax
• To build and strengthen relationships
• To improve health and well being
• To have an adventure
• To escape
• To gain knowledge
• To mark a special occasion
• To save money or time
• To reminisce
These nine reasons are applicable to vacation at a farm stay too.
Ñ 22 Ð
Agri Tourism Farm in Philippines
Authors’ visit to Farm Stay in Malaysia
Ñ 23 Ð
Farm Stay in Costales Nature Farms - Philippines
Farm Stay in Costales Nature Farms - Philippines
Ñ 24 Ð
AgriFac Farm Stay in SUSL - Sri Lanka
View of “Samanala Lake” AgriFac Farm Stay in SUSL -
Sri Lanka
Ñ 25 Ð
Ativities in Farm Stay in Kedah - Malaysia
Fish Therapy at AgriFac Farm Stay in SUSL - Sri Lanka
Ñ 26 Ð
CAPTER THREE
Setting Up a Farm Stay Business
If you own a working farm already, you have the advantage of running an established
business and you can embed the farm stay enterprise into your existing farm business.
If not, you can create a completely separate business as a farm stay under another name.
Regardless of your decision, you have to evaluate your business structure options,
especially to address liability risks that may be associated with your farm stay.
Business structure options
Businesses can be structured in many ways. There are several common forms of business
structures, broken down by the most recognized reason for choosing one over another:
personal liability protection, a shield that prevents anyone with a court judgment against
the business from touching anything other than the assets of the corporation. In other
words, certain business structures better protect the personal assets of the ofcers,
stockholders, and employees of the business, reducing the risk that your house, personal
property, or bank accounts will be taken as a part of a settlement.
Business Structures with No Personal Liability Protection
a. Sole Owner (Proprietorship)
Many business owners who are self-employed set up their enterprise as a sole ownership.
(Proprietorship) are, with few special requirements and no comprehensive legal
paperwork. This one person is responsible for the liabilities and debts of the business.
If the business is sued, everything you own could be threatened by the lawsuit. Income
from the business is reported as a part of the owner’s personal income and the sole
proprietor pays self-employment taxes. Generally farm stays business run as sole owner
businesses.
b. General Partnership
When two or more individuals own a for-prot business, typically operating under a
written Partnership Agreement, the business is a general partnership. All partners are
responsible for the liabilities and debts of the business.
Distinct Legal Entities Offering Personal Liability Protection to Shareholders
a. Limited Liability Company
The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a separate legal entity established by ling
articles of LLC formulation or a similar document in the state where it was formed.
Ñ 27 Ð
I suggest that if you want to start a farm stay business in your working farm or new
farm, it is better to select one above three types considering your nancial capacities and
management abilities.
Requirements to start up a Farm stay
In starting a farm stay business, you may consider following requirements.
a. Type of accommodation that you offer to the guests.
• Rooms in your farmhouse
• Separate Cabanas or Cottages
• Converted barn or farm building into a farm stay
• Farm guest house
• Campsites
• Yurt or platform tent
• Tree houses
• Water cabins on a lake in the farm
• Farm hotel
b. Legal requirements
• Registration of the business as a legal entity
While you apply to register your farm stay business as a legal you are required to fulll
a number of legal, environmental and other requirements before you get it registered.
c. Other regulatory requirements
• Building construction permits (Building plan approvals)
• Environmental clearance certicates
• Tourist Board approval
• Country, State and local government tax registration
• EPF and ETF registration for employees
d. Employees
You have to think and decide what will be the work force of the farm stay. Is it only the
family members or hired work force? If you hire employees, you have to decide whether
they are part time, full time or seasonal base employees.
Ñ 28 Ð
e. Finance
This is one of the most important requirements to start a farm stay business. How much
money you need to start your farm stay business depends on the type of farm stay you are
starting, how much money you have in your hand, how creative, strategic and efcient
you are when incur start-up expenses, and your ability to attract funds from nancial
institutions, family members, or friends. Most of the successful ventures start simple and
small, and all businesses change over time. An advantage to starting small is that you and
your market can readily adapt as you, your farm, and your market change.
Depending on the scale and scope of your business operations, there are several funding
options. The vast majority of small businesses start by drawing nancial resources from
owners’ savings or assets as a one man or family business. It is like, the business owner
acts as a bank by personally making a loan to his own business. For example, an owner
might loan his farm stay business three hundred thousand rupees at 6 % percent interest
for improvements of the farm for converting it to a farm stay business. Every year, the
business pays interest to the individual personally on that loan until it’s paid off as he has
planned may be within 5 years.
Family members and friends may provide a simpler form of nancing, but approaching
them can strain relationships, and you need to evaluate what would happen if the business
falls behind on the loan payments. If you do have family and friends who share your
enthusiasm and are sold on the success of the business, it is important to negotiate the
terms of the loan and get agreements in writing.
With a well-developed business plan, local nancial institutions like banks, nance
companies, or community-based revolving loan funds may be a source of nancing for
your business. These institutions generally take the decision of whether or not to lend
you money depending on your guarantee and credit history, as well as their experience
with nancing accommodation and tourism businesses.
It is essential to consider the nancial returns of the farm stay business even though
starting of this type of business is highly exciting. For most occasions, a farm stay must
add new income to the farm. That said, the amount of income can vary greatly depending
on many factors. Some farmers may be satised with adding a few thousands of rupees
per annum to their net income while others may want to net more. A farm stay operation
is not likely to be extremely protable, and it is probably best to start small and grow as
you gain experience and customers.
Planning the Business (Business Plan for the Farm Stay)
Since everyone is not suited for carrying out farm stay and its related activities on their
farms, you rst will need to determine whether or not farm stay is an appropriate option
for you. Once you have decided that you are ready to try farm stay business in your farm,
Ñ 29 Ð
you will need to set goals, assess your resources, and develop a business plan. There are
ve main steps in farm stay business planning.
• Personal assessment
• Business goals and objectives
• Internal resource assessment
• External resources
• Final Business plan
Personal assessment
There are many reasons to consider converting the existing farm into a farm stay or
starting a new farm with agri tourism activities including farm stay. Prior to investing
in farm stay, you must carefully analyze your potential as a host and your resources
available for investment in a farm stay business. Proper planning and analysis prior to
start the farm stay business will considerably increase your chances of success. If you
have ever had a good experience on a vacation or visiting other farm stay locally or in
another country you may have an idea of how to provide a good guest experience. It is
essential for you to evaluate yourself and your family to ensure that you have the ability
to be a cordial, thoughtful host of guests.
• Do I and my family like meeting people (both inside and outside my community)?
• Do I and my family like to entertain visitors who are complete strangers never
known?
• Do I and my family mind giving up some of the privacy in running this type of
business?
• Have I always been joyful and accommodating around my guests and make them
happy during their stay in the farm stay?
• Can I maintain and be ensure that my farm and guest facilities always neat and
clean?
• Am I a successful manager to operate this business successfully?
If you answered “Yes” to all of these questions, then you might have ability to operate a
successful farm stay business. You have to reconsider to invest in this business, if your
answer is “No “to at least one question.
Business goals and objectives
Before you write a strategic business plan for your farm stay business, it is essential to
outline your business goals and objectives. In adding agri tourism activities including
a farm stay facilities to your farm, consider the goals and objectives that you already
Ñ 30 Ð
have established for your agricultural farm. If farm stay operations t efciently into
your current goals and objectives, then you can easily plan and start farm stay business
in your farm. If it does not t efciently into your current goals and objectives of the
farm operations, you may either reconsider your agricultural farm objectives or move to
a different alternative enterprise.
• Examples of goals of existing farm
• Increase the farm revenues by at least 5-10 % each year
• Introduce environmental friendly farming systems as organic farming
• Increase revenues of the farm by introducing non farming activities
• Gradually pass the business on to their children and retire by age 65
• Examples of goals of new business - Farm Stay
• Diversify the farming system as a risk management strategy
• Increase the farm net income by introducing agri tourism activities ; farm stay
When considering the above goals, it clearly shows that the goals of the existing farm
and the new business (Farm stay) are matching very well. Therefore, in the above given
case converting the existing agriculture farm into farm stay is not a problem.
Internal resource assessment
Here, you will need to think as an entrepreneur and use your innovative and entrepreneurial
skills view your capabilities and resources of your farm in a creative way. In this step,
you have to prepare an inventory of all the assets, resources (nancial, physical, human,
and natural), products and services your farm can offer to commence the new business.
You have to list followings.
• Primary product (produce the most on the farm) or enterprise on the farm (e.g.:
vegetables, fruits, paddy etc.)
• Natural attraction of the farm to visitors
• Ways to enhance its attractiveness
• Other products or services can add to complement to the primary product
• Other assets and resources posse that may attract tourists
• Interest of other farmers on farm stays
• Additional resources needed in order to begin farm stay enterprise
• Requirement of additional labor
• Available nancial investment
Ñ 31 Ð
External resources
External resources are important for planning and running your farm stay business.
• Tourism authorities: You have to register your business with national and
provincial tourism authorities for legal purposes and to get due recognition. Also,
you will get additional benets through these governments institutes in promoting
your farm stay as a tourist destination
• Banks: Banks are important to get additional funds required to start and run the
business. Further. You should identify a reputed bank as your business banker in
operating of your nancial transactions.
• Farm Tourism consultants: While this is a new area in business, it is better to get
the service of farm tourism experts in planning, establishing and initial stages of
operations of the farm stay business.
• Tourism associations: They help you to share experiences and promote your
business
Final Business Plan
You have gathered information and experience from both inside and outside resources
what the possibilities and opportunities you have to start and operate farm stay business.
Hence, now you are ready to write farm stay business plan. If you are familiar with
strategic business planning, then you probably are equipped with the necessary skills to
write the business plan for this business too.
Following are the key components of a business plan.
• Description of business
• Goals and objectives
• Internal resources
• Market analysis
• Marketing plan
• Operations plan
• Organization and management
• Financial plan
Description of Business
Write down what kind of farm you have currently and what will be your farm in the
future.
Ñ 32 Ð
Eg: Present farm is a horticulture farm, cultivating vegetables and fruits. It will become
a farm where visitors can stay in cottage type accommodation and relax. Also they
can experience on farming activities, farmers life, traditional cookery and rurality
Required actions to be taken
• Short informative brochure about the farm stay, horticulture farm, therapies in
horticulture farm and other operations on the farm
• Instruction on activities available in the farm, including farm tour guide
• Design safety features for guest areas
Internal resources
List the internal resources available at the farm and write a short description about them;
their uniqueness, usability for the farm stay, and marketability. Describe how they can
use in new business and their value to your farm.
Required actions to be taken
• Converting existing farm buildings to farm cottages or construct new cottages
• Convert an existing farm building to a dining place / restaurant where visitors
will rest and eat
• Mark and develop parking access
• Provide access for disabled persons
• Design and construct walking paths
• Camping site, tree houses, outdoor tea areas, outdoor resting and reading areas,
etc.
• Water features (if possible) such as ponds, lakes, etc.
Market analysis
You have to note down the following information about your market (guests); Types
of guests to the farm, social class and geographical location of them, their interests and
needs, seasonality of the guests, guests’ availability in the region/ area, attraction of
visitors to farm stays in the region
Required actions to be taken
• Plan a market survey and nd out the opportunities and potentials for your farm
stay
Competition
Other farmers in your area may already be involved in agri-tourism and farm stay
Ñ 33 Ð
business. Describe their activities. You have to compete with them in the same type of
business. Therefore, you have to identify unique features of your business and to nd out
ways to work in harmony with other operators.
Required actions to be taken
• Develop unique features to your farm stay that is different from others
• Develop joint programs with closer farm stays
Product Development Plan
Outline a yearly schedule of your farm activities along with a schedule of your farm stay
guests receiving program, including a schedule of other tourist attractions and activities
in your area.
Required actions to be taken
• Plan and develop something to see, something to do and something to buy for
your guests
• Create a calendar of events on the farm such as planting of different crops,
harvesting, farm festivals, etc.
• Plan to advertise special activities of the farm
• Create space for crafters, food providers, or other farmers and villagers to sell
their products under your supervision
Marketing Plan
Dene your pricing strategy and the tools & mechanism that you will use to attract
guests to the farm stay.
Required actions to be taken
• Prepare a promotion and strategic marketing plan for the farm stay business
• Develop promotional and marketing materials
Operation plan
Organize the ow of work through the new farm stay business in addion to the existing
agricultural farm activities, identifying the tasks involved in providing the new activities
of the farm stay and the additional labor needed for newly introduced operations.
Required actions to be taken
• Break down activities into individual tasks.
• Assign employees to each task in the most efcient way.
Ñ 34 Ð
Cost Benet analysis
Develop a cash ow projection and estimate what is the expenditure and how much will
be the total income of the new venture annually. It can be developed on a quarterly basis
and it will help to take management decisions.
Required actions to be taken
• Develop income, expenditure projection plan
• Compile revenues and expenses into a cash ow worksheet
Ñ 35 Ð
CAPTER FOUR
Marketing of Farm Stay Business
Farm stay is a product of agri tourism and not a real farm product which is tangible.
Farm stay is a service as most of other tourism services. Before attempting to market
your farm stay, it is better to know how services differ from products.
Services are intangible. They cannot be seen, tasted, felt, heard, or smelled before or after
they are purchased. The majority of the goods is produced rst, then sold and consumed
later, but services are produced and consumed at the same time. Two goods in the same
type, brand and series are closer in quality, but two same types of services may not be in
same quality. Services are like performances, frequently accomplished by humans, no
two services will be exactly alike. Services cannot be saved, stored, resold, or returned.
One of the most basic concepts included in a marketing plan is marketing mix, which
consists of the elements control and use to communicate with and satisfy customers.
Marketing mix of goods which are tangible are described by 4 Ps. But considering the
differences of goods and services, marketing mix of the services are described by 7 Ps.
• Place (How can you take advantage of the location of the farm stay?)
• Product (What do you have to offer the guests visiting the farm stay?)
• Price (How much should be the charge for the farm stay, per day?)
• Promotion (How do you advertise farm stay business?)
• People (Who are the guests?)
• Physical evidence (What are the tangible components of the farm stay as a
service?)
• Process (How do you provide excellent customer service?)
Place
Location of your farm stay and the farm may be near to a major highway, in the far rural
area or end of a remote country road adjoining to a forest. Wherever it is placed, you
should know how to take advantage of the location. For instance, if your farm stay is
positioned near a major highway, you can capitalize on the number of holiday makers
passing your site. On the other hand, if your farm stay is in a remote location, you
should target the tourists who love to stay in the remote area and experience natural
beauties. You can get advices from farm tourism consultant or you can discuss with
family members how your agri-tourism farm with farm stay can benet from its location
in relation to road accessibility, natural resources, heritage, rurality and community
resources. Then use these opportunities and benets into your overall marketing plan.
Ñ 36 Ð
Product
As a farm stay operator you are going to offer your guests more than an accommodation
facility. Farm stay is the main business and value addition to this product by mixing other
activities of agri tourism you may able to attract more guests. Guests will experience
unique activities that will enrich their visit in your farm. Many tourists will enjoy the
opportunity to come closer to their agricultural heritage by staying at the farm stay and
for many people who visit and stay at your farm experience a rare opportunity to touch
nature and discover how agricultural products are raised, harvested, and distributed.
You as the farm stay owner should identify both the common and the unique agri-tourism
activities that can offer on your farm to the guests. These are the value added products
you can offer to them.
Price
As the owner of the farm stay you shall have knowledge on how to do pricing of the farm
stay. This is a business and the price of the product includes the cost of production, taxes
and prot margin.
The price you charge for the accommodation, food and other facilities during the stay at
the farm stay by the guests is one of the most important business decisions you make.
Too high or too low price will limit your business growth and adversely affect your farm
stay business. Finally, such price will cause serious problems for your sales and cash
ow.
In pricing your farm stay you have to consider the characteristics of an especial
accommodation facility. Further, in making decisions about your product price you have
to know the difference between cost and value and it will increase the protability of
your business.
y the cost of your farm stay accommodation is the amount you spend to produce it
y the price is your nancial reward for providing the product including the taxes
and prot margins
y the value is what your customers believes the product is worth to them
The price of farm stay will be an amount that covers the costs and desired prot
margin.
The formula is: Price = Direct costs + Overhead costs + Prot margin
Promotion
Promotion is the core of any marketing strategy. Through promotional efforts, you are
able to inform customers about your farm stay product and let them know how it meets
Ñ 37 Ð
their needs. The goal of promotion and advertising is simple and it is to reach the largest
number of audience in your business target market.
Ways of promoting
• Word of mouth
• Printed materials (business cards, brochures, and reservation forms, etc.)
• Media – print (tourism magazines, newspaper articles, advertisements, etc.)
• Media- electronic (TV, Radio, Social Media, etc.)
• Postal mail and Email campaigns
• World wide web (website)
• Public displays (bill boards, posters, banners)
• Community networks (NGOs, welfare societies, etc.)
People
In your farm stay marketing plan you should include a description of the people that
you plan to attract to your farm and accommodation in the Farmstay. If your farm stay is
small in size of operation (few rooms in the farmer’s house or two or three cottages), it
is better to attract customers as individuals or smaller groups (e.g.; families) and develop
individual marketing plans for each customer or smaller group. At the other extreme,
if your farm stay is medium or large in size of operation and possible to accommodate
large groups, you have to focus on group attraction strategies. Therefore, you will need
to target the appropriate market segments.
• Geographical demarcation – local, regional, national and international
• Demographic characteristics- age, gender, family size, income, occupation,
education, or religion
• Social consideration- social class, lifestyle, or personality characteristics
• Behavioral considerations- knowledge, attitude, uses, or responses
• Customization- importance of customizing services to t each individual’s needs
Physical Evidence
Any tangible items that facilitate the service interaction are the physical evidence of
your farm stay. They are farm accommodation (farm house or cottages, campaign site,
tree houses, etc.), furniture in the accommodation place, linen, food, etc. The condition
of these physical facilities will cause your guests to form an impression of the farm stay.
Basically, physical evidence is anything the customer can see or touch.
Ñ 38 Ð
Process
This is regarding the excellent service that you provide to the guests.
• Customer service - includes giving customers what they want and fullling their
requirements as much as possible up to their satisfaction.
• Customer-friendly attitude- Good customer service begins with a customer-
friendly attitude. A customer-friendly attitude begins with the view that the
customer is your god. He is your business ambassador.
• Service quality- there are ve main dimensions that inuence customers’
perceptions of service quality. Those ve dimensions are reliability, responsiveness,
assurance, empathy, and tangibles
As you become more conscious of the customer service provide at the farm stay, you will
begin to pay more and more attention to feedback from your customers. It is important
that you use all comments (both positive and negative) to improve the quality of your
service delivery
Ñ 39 Ð
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I was able to stay in a Farm B & B in the midlands of England in July 2001. It was summer in England and the climate was perfect with green vegetation. The owner of the Farm B & B was a lady and she was so kind to explain to me about her farm hospitality business. I was so fascinated and started to search more information about agro tourism especially through the internet. I found that it is a fast growing business and an emerging sector in rural tourism. Since then wherever I visited overseas, one of my itinerary items has been to visit agro tourism enterprise. With this knowledge and experience, I decided to introduce agro tourism to my faculty. As an initial step, I planned and implemented constructions of an agro tourism enterprise in the faculty farm especially for teaching and learning purposes. In the mean time, I introduced a course unit “Agricultural Tourism” as an optional course for the final year students of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka. In 2010, the operations of the Agrifac Farm Stay, the farm B & B of the faculty farm was commenced and the first batch of students for the agricultural tourism course unit was registered. Already 85 students have passed out from the faculty in three batches who followed the agricultural tourism course unit. The main purpose of writing this monograph is to compile the important areas of agro tourism, enabling interested persons to get a basic knowledge on what is agro tourism, types of agro tourism, planning and developing agro tourism products and ways of marketing and promoting them. This monograph is published to coincide with the “National Conference on Development and Promotion of Agritourism Education and Industry in Sri Lanka” to be held from 17th -18th February 2014 in Colombo, Sri Lanka jointly organised by The Department of Agri Business Management of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka and the National Productivity Secretariat of the Ministry of Productivity with the sponsorship of Asian Productivity Organization in Tokyo, Japan. The main aim of the conference is to create greater awareness among policy makers, economic planners and key stakeholders in the agriculture and tourism sectors on the concept of agri tourism as a strategy to create alternative income opportunities for farming communities, develop the alternative tourism sector and as a tool for revitalizing the rural economy. I hope this monograph will provide necessary information to the participants of this conference and the rest of the interested persons on agro tourism. I must thank Mr. Joselito Bernardo, Director in Agriculture of Asian Productivity Organization for providing funds to publish this monograph, Dr M. Esham Senior Lecturer of the Department of Agri Business Management for proof reading and giving his valuable ideas, Mr. Anura Gunaratne for designing an attractive cover page and Mr Prasad Iddamalgoda for computer page setting of this monograph.
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Most of the alternative tourism approaches are closely related with rural economy and thereby rural development. The main reason for this is that tourist destination of these alternative tourism approaches are rural areas. Therefore, agri tourism as an alternative tourism creates a new economic opportunity in rural areas as well as to the macro economy of a country. Based on the factors such as the place where agri tourism activities take place, people who involve in providing agri tourism activities, nature of agri tourism activities and services, nature of the tourists and main objectives of the agri tourism business, agri tourism can be categorised into four types, namely Farm Stay, Farm Catering, Farm Tours and Farm Retailing. Hence, farmers who are trying to diversify their economies due to low profits and high risks, agri tourism offers a complementary/supplementary income source that allows a large financial leverage for capital expenditure, depending on how much the entrepreneur wants to invest. On the other hand, young people in rural areas can start an agri tourism enterprise in their farmland which will be their main income source. This is a rural business in the hands of various stakeholders such as inbound and outbound tour operators, small and medium scale farmers, plantation or agriculture companies, tour guides, villagers, etc. Unlike mass tourism agri tourism attracts local tourists who are interested to experience rural life as relaxation and escape from urban busy life. Therefore, agri tourism benefits both farmers and local communities as a rural business because these tourists bring money to spend for experiencing rural life. This money generates extra income for the people in the rural areas. Hence, it can be considered as a sustainable rural business.
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This article reviewed literature on potential benefits of agri-tourism for farmers and local communities in general. It also provided a review of agri-tourism development, particularly in Malaysia. Reviewing literature indicated that agri-tourism as an economic development instrument has great potential to contribute to rural development. Malaysia is one of the tourist countries with great potential to develop agri-tourism. Agricultural areas in this country have many tourist attractions which can form the basis for relaxation, enjoyment and education of tourist. Although this country has existing base of agritourism attractions, its potential for agri-tourism is far greater. It is suggested that to improve the economic, social and environmental situation of rural communities in Malaysia, the department of agriculture as well as universities should give orientation towards agri-tourism by providing some innovative ideas suitable for each region. It is also recommended that tourism industry should make stronger links with agriculture to make agri-tourism continue the tourism trend in Malaysia.
Book
Butler, R., Hall, C.M. & Jenkins, J. (eds.) 1998, Tourism and Recreation in Rural Areas, John Wiley, Chichester. 261pp, ISBN 0-471-97680-6 (Hbk) For copies of the book please order from a library or purchase online