I have always had a passion for farm life. My grandfather was a tulip farmer in Holland and my summer job as a teenager was peeling tulip bulbs. I loved spending time on farms of friends and family helping them out, riding horses and eating the home-grown fare.
I have fond memories of many agritourism holidays in France, Italy, Germany, Asia, the USA and other countries around the world.
The rural aspect of New Zealand was one of the reasons we emigrated to New Zealand in 1994. We bought a small farmlet in near Invercargill in Southland and had a range of farm animals as well as a nice vege garden. A dream come true! Many of my friends are farmers and I've always loved learning about what they do.
Over the years, I have worked with many farmers in helping them develop their agritourism business. Initially as Manager of Tourism Southland (Southland's Regional Tourism Organisation) some 22 years ago, and later as Marketing Consultant. In the last 2 years I've developed and run the 'Agritourism Success Programme', a 6-month programme to help farmers develop and grow their agritourism business.
The development of Agritourism NZ has been in the pipeline for a few years and is finally coming to fruition.
I have developed several networks in the past, including the Smartourism Marketing Group, a group of 20 tourism businesses whom I help market internationally to inbound tour operators and wholesalers. This group has been running for 16 years.
...and where it's going
As many (agritourism) businesses in New Zealand are small, working together makes sense.
The Agritourism NZ Network's mission is to be a one stop shop for farmers to help them:
Click here to read about the members of the Agritourism Advisory Board