Scottish Tories unveil agritourism plan to boost farmers

Helping farmers develop their business further is 'vitally important' to rural communities
Helping farmers develop their business further is 'vitally important' to rural communities

Farmers wishing to diversify are central in a new plan by the Scottish Conservatives to revitalise rural economies and communities in Scotland.

According to the party, there is a 'great opportunity' to establish a 'world-class' agritourism industry in the country.

The plan looks at developing the dynamism of rural entrepreneurs and diversifying farmers and their existing assets, as well as capitalising on the current trend for eco-tourism.

Tourism is the backbone of the Scottish economy, however, income from this sector is not evenly distributed with almost three times the number of visitors going to Scottish cities rather than rural areas.

At the same time, Scottish farmers are increasingly struggling and face intense pressure to diversify in order to maximise their income.

The new plan would establish a centralised rating and quality control scheme for agritourism businesses.

It would encourage agritourism business models that promote good environmentalism and tackle climate change.

A rural agritourism start-up fund would be created to help those wishing to diversify.

Rachael Hamilton, Scottish Conservative shadow tourism secretary, said that helping farmers develop their business further is 'vitally important'.

“Scotland has massive potential to make a success story of agritourism, with so much to offer from excellent food and drink experiences to our dramatic and captivating landscapes,” she said.

“Our policy paper sets out key recommendations that the Scottish government and the sector should act upon in order to grow the sector.”

Ms Hamilton: “There is already fantastic agritourism businesses out there, let’s help many more to develop and flourish.”