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Last Updated: Monday, 2 August, 2004, 05:54 GMT 06:54 UK
More farmers turning to tourism
Ennerdale Water, Cumbria
Tourism numbers to Cumbria are up since foot-and-mouth
Farmers are increasingly turning to tourism to increase profits, a new report says.

The study showed farmers in Cumbria who offered tourist facilities made more money than through farming.

The trend is expected to spread to other areas of the UK as farmers find new ways to subsidise their income.

The Cumbria Tourist Board and the Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency study showed farm tourism was strong despite the effects of foot-and-mouth in 2001.

The report says money-spinning projects include hiring out land, selling specialist foods and offering activities like bird-watching.

It said an average farmer yielded between 300 and 400 a year from each 10 acres of land, but revenue from tourism could generate the same profit in just a few days.

Almost half of the 600 farmers questioned in the North West said they were already operating a tourism venture alongside their core agricultural business.

Luxury picnics

A further 19% said they planned to set one up by the end of the year.

On average, a farmer earns around 15,000 a year, but the study said those farmers who offered tourist activities or accommodation made an annual gross profit of 20,853.

Chris Collier, chief executive of Cumbria Tourist Board said: "More and more farms are diversifying into the sector.

"However, this is moving far beyond the traditional concept of bed and breakfast farmhouses or self-catering accommodation.

"An increasing number of farmers, especially among the younger generation in the industry, are looking to provide activities and adventures to attract visitors in the 21st century and maximise potential revenues by providing a greater variety of products and a higher quality of both accommodation and attractions.

"These range from luxury picnics and hot air balloon rides to specialist horse-riding and fishing breaks."

Bob Clark, executive director of Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency, added: "We anticipate this pattern to develop nationwide, as rural economies across the UK look for new areas of growth which will provide their sustainability for the future."

Tourist bosses look to future
15 May 03  |  Cumbria
Rival tourist 'embassy' set up
05 May 03  |  England

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