Monday, 05 June 2017 06:32

Rural tourism 'worth more than farming'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural tourism 'worth more than farming'

TOURISM generates more revenue and provides more employment for the rural sector than farming, delegates at a recent seminar were told.

John Hoy, head of rural at consultants Bidwells, was speaking at the firm's latest event, which was themed around the wealth of diversification opportunities available to the rural sector.

Whether it is glamping, holiday lets, sporting events, filming, wedding venues, concerts or even hosting festivals, the tourism sector offers an array of profitable opportunities, he said.

And tourism is set to play an even more important role in the rural sector in a post-Brexit environment especially if it is incorporated into any replacement scheme for CAP.

Mr Hoy said: "The value of tourism for the rural sector is very poorly understood.

"If we look for example at the numbers around tourism and agriculture there are 365m trips to rural destinations each year, generating £18.6bn for the rural economy and providing 340,000 full-time jobs.

"So tourism actually generates more revenue and provides more employment for the rural sector than farming, which might surprise many who work in this industry.

"It is therefore really important that the linkages between farming, the environment and our unique landscape is recognised in how the CAP is reformed going forward."

Mr Hoy was the chief executive of Blenheim Palace for 14 years, before he joined Bidwells in January.

During the presentation, he talked through the potential key areas that must be addressed in order to ensure that the tourism industry continues to thrive post-Brexit.

These include reinstating tourism planning guidance, developing a skilled workforce, reducing red tape and improving public transport.

The rural industry must look at innovative new ways to generate income in a post-Brexit environment – and the returns could be very rewarding, said Mr Hoy.

Britain's events industry alone is worth over £41bn to the economy through direct visitor spend, he told the audience.

Mr Hoy also gave guidance on some of the do's and don'ts when hosting events and highlighted the additional incomes which they can provide.

"There are huge opportunities in all of these areas and the rural sector needs to look creatively in the post-Brexit market that we are in," he said.

"It needs to be more entrepreneurial, find other things to do and discover just what opportunities are out there."

People in this conversation

  • Guest (Doris Butler)

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    The difference is that food is essential for our life and and it is impracticable to always purchase from abroad. Yes tourism is good but the result is more housing and holiday homes, seasonal and low paid jobs, loss of facilities in areas of holiday homes and community spirit gone.

    from Redruth TR16, UK
  • Guest (Chris Hassall)

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    Farming is about producing food, and long term that must be sustainable -- ie it must not destroy the countryside that sustains it. Tourism is about letting people enjoy the nature of the countryside -- again without destroying it. Tourism can provide extra income for farmers, but farmers must modify their methods to keep the countryside truly rural -- not industrial -- in both sight and smell. Already excess slurry from intensive livestock is driving people, both tourists and residents, away.

    from Bideford, UK
  • Guest (Chris Hassall)

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    Tourism "worth more than farming"? In cash receipts perhaps -- but that's only because farmers' incomes from producing food in a sustainable manner are ridiculously low. The post-brexit replacement for the C.A.P. must be more targeted on providing a decent income for farmers from sustainable non-industrial farming methods that enhance the English countryside. If that means higher food costs (which should result in less waste in the retail food chain) so much to the good.

    from Bideford, UK
  • Guest (Tim Banwell)

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    This is from an NFU report dated Feb 2017. This obvious contradicts your assertion.
    "Farming in the UK is a vitally important part of the overall economy as well as meeting the majority of
    our domestic food consumption needs. Overall, agriculture contributed around £24 billion of revenues
    and around £8.5 billion of Gross Value Added to the UK economy in 2015. Agriculture also provides
    around 475,000 jobs directly,"

    from Holton, UK

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