More and more entrepreneurs are organising activities, days out or holidays on Dutch farms. But what do farm visitors enjoy best and how can you attract more people? The rural tourism sector commissioned researchers from Wageningen UR to carry out a consumer study looking into these questions. In their conclusions, the researchers say that although a lot of Dutch people are interested in rural tourism, very few of them actually choose to do it. The market is ripe!
The researchers have written a report based on their findings with tips for entrepreneurs trying to tempt more visitors into rural tourism. It is entitled Plattelandstoerisme in Nederland: een markt met potentie! (‘Rural Tourism in the Netherlands: a market with potential!’). Researcher Marcel Vijn will present the report during the rural tourism network day on Thursday 15 May.
Consumer study into the wishes and requirements of rural tourists
The researchers asked a group of almost a thousand people to complete a questionnaire about the way they perceive rural tourism and what they would like to see in terms of recreational pursuits on a farm. Approximately five hundred respondents were asked questions about spending a holiday on a farm, the rest answered questions about day trips to a farm.
What do farm visitors want?
More than half of the respondents were very positive about a day trip or holiday on a farm. Peace, animals and the countryside are an absolute must. They also appreciate sun, free internet and seeing a famer actively going about his/her farming business. However, the study also highlighted the downside of rural tourism. Mariët van Haaster-de Winter, one of the researchers: “The disadvantages expressed by our respondents included noise, comings and goings and filth. To a lesser extent, respondents also voiced their distaste for ‘fake farms’ or too much commercial activity.”
Why do people go on a day trip to a farm?
The respondents in the study cited various reasons for choosing rural tourism. Day trippers often visit a farm because it is fun and educational for the children, restful, spacious and green, or because someone else suggested it. People choose a holiday on a farm to enjoy the peace, space and green countryside, and because they do not have to travel too far to enjoy rural life.
What do holidaymakers want to do on a farm?
People who spend a day (or morning/afternoon) on a farm largely go there to relax. People who choose a farm holiday want to cycle, ramble, spend time in the great outdoors, have a drink outside a country pub or café and visit historic places or buildings.
How can I attract more visitors to my farm?
“Only a relatively small number of people have actually experienced rural tourism. They are, however, very enthusiastic about their trip or holiday and could therefore be a great marketing tool”, says Marcel Vijn, one of the researchers who helped to compile the report. Among the researchers’ other recommendations is the suggestion that entrepreneurs should try to encourage visitors to return to the farm more often. The report contains various tips for increasing visitor numbers. Download the report here to read the tips and find out how long people like to stay on a farm and how far they are prepared to travel.