A National Agricultural Statistics Survey (NASS) study conducted this year determined that the economic impact of agri-tourism upon New Jersey’s economy was $91 million in 2006. This quantitative information confirms the qualitative recommendations of a 2005 Rutgers University study that examined farmers’ and farm leaders’ perceptions of the opportunities and challenges associated with agri-tourism.
There are other states that have comprehensive agri-tourism programs and these will be studied as work moves forward to more closely cooperate with the various agencies that share a common interest in promoting tourism in New Jersey.
A new interactive, GIS-based, agri-tourism industry website, “visitnjfarms.org”, allows for easy consumer mapping based on products, services and location, within a specified town or county, or within a specified driving radius of a user-defined beginning point. It also allows farmers password access to the site to provide updates to their own listing.
To assist in the development of the agri-tourism industry, the Department will be focusing on three major objectives: developing strategic partnerships, consumer promotion and industry education.
10.1 Develop Strategic Partners
76) STRATEGY – Continue to support the New Jersey Agri-Tourism Industry Advisory Council in their charge to develop, support, and market this sector of the agricultural community.
77) STRATEGY – Continue working with the N.J. Office of Travel & Tourism (T&T) to develop and market agri-tourism. Develop three agri-tourism based travel tours for each of the state’s six tourism regions. Encourage T&T to integrate an agri-tourism press familiarization tour into their work. These tours acquaint the regional travel and tourism media with New Jersey agri-tourism. Encourage T&T to incorporate agri-tourism research into their established travel industry research program. Market agri-tourism to the travel and tourism trade through participation in the annual Governor's Conference on Tourism, cooperative advertising, and other industry opportunities.
78) STRATEGY –Publicize the National Agricultural Statistics Survey (NASS) study that assessed the economic impact of agri-tourism upon New Jersey’s economy.
10.2 Consumer Promotion
79) STRATEGY – Produce and distribute an inexpensive agri-tourism brochure with industry websites and contact information. This brochure would promote seasonal events, special attractions, and direct farm marketing opportunities. Create and disseminate regular press releases promoting the agri-tourism industry and related websites. Work to expand the promotion of the agricultural fairs in New Jersey.
80) STRATEGY – Continue to develop and promote the “visitnjfarms.org” website.
10.3 Industry Education
81) STRATEGY - Coordinate an Agri-Tourism symposium to address common opportunities and challenges and to provide some basic tourism and hospitality industry training. Work with Rutgers Cooperative Extension to develop and implement this training.
82) STRATEGY - Conduct tourism industry outreach activities for agri-tourism operators. Promote listings in the N.J. Office of Travel & Tourism’s “Calendar of Events”. Promote participation in “The 2007 New Jersey Governor’s Conference on Tourism”. Promote the use of the “Tourism Cooperative Grant Program” to organizations representing various facets of the New Jersey’s agri-tourism industry.
83) STRATEGY – Continue to review, comment, and support work towards the adoption of agri-tourism Agricultural Management Practices (AMP’s) as proposed by the State Agriculture Development Committee. Compliance with the agri-tourism AMP’s will aid grower protection under the Right to Farm Act.