RegenWA recently attended Tourism WA’s Perth Hills Agritourism workshop at Plume Estate Winery: an event designed specifically to showcase the potential benefits for incorporating tourism into existing agricultural enterprises. Speakers spoke about the opportunities to deliver high quality tourism experiences to visitors while also providing additional income to producers.

Keynote speaker John Stanley – a leading agritourism consultant and presenter – spoke of his journey in the agritourism industry. On their ‘Chestnut Brae Farm’ in Nannup, John and his wife produce chestnuts, along with mushrooms, vegetables and livestock. He explained how their choice of chestnuts, an unusual crop in WA, allows them to offer farm stays, tours and experiences that were unique. This gives Chestnut Brae an edge in the agritourism sector and is the perfect example of how agriculture and tourism can be combined.

Giving consumers on-farm experiences not only teaches them where and how their food is produced, usually in off-the-track and beautiful locations, it also allows producers to diversify and increase profits. Some options available could include: ‘pick your own’ produce picking, on-farm experiences, foraging/cooking classes and animal petting were just some of the options described by John.

Workshop attendees also heard from a range of other agritourism operators, including:

  • Vincenzo Velletri from ‘Slow Food – Swan Valley and Eastern Regions’, who emphasized the importance of not only connecting the land to the products but also providing an experience that was unique to your property.
  • Heyscape Cabins’ Joe Clarke spoke about incorporating accommodation on rural properties and how a tiny cabin can offer visitors a ‘luxury meets nature’ experience.
  • Jan Stewart shared how her business, ‘Forage Safaris’, provides a ‘back road adventure’ for visitors to the South West , visiting local growers and showcasing the best produce.
  • Bonnie Jupp from RegenWA spoke about the programs, projects and events run by RegenWA and Perth NRM, their benefits and how to get involved.
  • Nancye Gannaway from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), shared details of a project in the Perth Hills and Swan Valley that aims to improve sustainability and access to resources on biosecurity and other topics that are available through the government agency.

Workshop participants were treated to delicious locally produced food and wine which was included throughout the event and were encouraged to network and discuss the exciting opportunities available to them in agritourism.

Check out our events page to see what other workshops and conferences are coming up soon.