The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has partnered with Airbnb and Regionality to design a new regulatory framework for rural land to unlock Queensland’s potential as the nation’s agritourism capital.
The Unlocking Queensland’s agritourism potential – Discussion paper identifies the challenges and opportunities for agritourism as an emerging sector and proposes to define it by creating a sliding scale of regulation recognising the different ways in which farmers engage with agritourism.
QFF President Allan Dingle said agritourism was an important growth industry in Queensland’s rural and regional areas and is estimated to be worth around $4.5 billion by 2030.
“Agritourism provides opportunities for farmers to expand their businesses and market their
produce through alternative channels, while gathering valuable feedback from consumers,” Mr Dingle said.
“However, Queensland is at risk of losing market share by falling behind other states because of onerous and complex land use regulations that do not solve the intractable problems that limit the growth of this valuable regional Queensland industry.
“In order to enable Queensland farmers to innovate, clarity and consistency are required to create a new regulatory framework that is easy for farmers to navigate and opens up the benefits of agritourism.”
“Defining agritourism as an ancillary use, the proposed definition of agritourism seeks to enable no-or low-impact activities free from regulatory burdens and move on a sliding scale towards greater regulatory oversight for higher-impact agritourism activity.
“Creating settings based on the scale and frequency of agritourism accommodation, experiences and activities, produce sales, processing, and events, addresses the need to protect agricultural productivity, while allowing value adding and diversification through agritourism.”
Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb’s Country Manager for Australia, and Toowoomba native said Queenslanders are always looking to explore their own backyard through unique, authentic experiences that immerse them in regional communities.
“We know that Airbnb allows people options to travel to more places, especially in regional Australia where there is limited tourism infrastructure. What’s needed is a regulatory framework that empowers rural communities and allows the creation of more unique stays that deliver new income streams for farmers and help strengthen and build resilience in the bush,” Ms Wheeldon said.
“As farming evolves, and our populations and cities change, there are untold opportunities to show off the best regional Queensland has to offer, and create a framework that promotes participation and benefits farmers, their communities, tourists, and indeed the entire economy.
“QFF, Airbnb and Regionality are committed to working together with the Queensland Government, rural and regional communities, and other stakeholders to empower farmers to establish or expand into agritourism.
“Through future-focussed regulatory reform, Queensland can unlock the potential of agritourism and foster innovation that helps secure the future of farmers and a diverse and resilient Queensland economy.”
View the discussion paper here.