From roadside produce stalls and wine regions to educational experiences and farm stay accommodation, regional and rural Queensland abounds with authentic agritourism experiences. Food, fibre and foliage experiences are being increasingly sought after as consumers desire to better understand where their produce comes from, learn how it is created and experience the ultimate in low food miles.
Agritourism provides opportunities for farmers to expand their businesses and market their produce through alternative channels, while gathering valuable feedback from consumers. However, Queensland is at risk of losing market share by falling behind other states because of onerous and complex land use regulations that do not solve the intractable problems that limit the growth of this valuable regional Queensland industry. To unlock Queensland's potential as the nation's agritourism capital, the Queensland Farmers' Federation (QFF) has partnered with Airbnb and Regionality to release the Unlocking Queensland's agritourism potential: Discussion paper. The paper identifies the challenges and opportunities for agritourism as an emerging sector and proposes to define it by creating a sliding scale of regulation recognising the different ways in which farmers engage with agritourism.
In order to enable Queensland farmers to innovate, clarity and consistency are required to create a new regulatory framework that is easy for farmers to navigate and opens up the benefits of agritourism. The paper proposes to define agritourism as an ancillary use, seeking to enable no-or low-impact activities free from regulatory burdens and move on a sliding scale towards greater regulatory oversight for higher-impact agritourism activity. Settings based on the scale and frequency of agritourism accommodation, experiences and activities, produce sales, processing, and events, will address the need to protect agricultural productivity, while allowing value adding and diversification through agritourism.
As farming evolves, and our populations and cities change, there are untold opportunities to show off the best regional Queensland has to offer, and create a framework that promotes participation and benefits farmers, their communities, tourists, and indeed the entire economy. QFF, Airbnb and Regionality are committed to working together with the Queensland government, rural and regional communities, and other stakeholders to empower farmers to establish or expand into agritourism.
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