Agritourism is a fast-growing sector, that is providing direct and indirect benefit to regional economies. Being driven by consumer demand as visitors seek to better understand where their food comes from and where it is produced, agritourism plays an important role in providing the direct link between the primary producer and the end consumer.
For these regional businesses the development of agritourism products and experiences, provides primary producers with opportunities to supplement their income, diversify their business, and have valuable direct contact with end customers, so they can better understand consumer preferences and demands.
For destinations, agritourism provides an alternative means of showcasing the region and potential to attract new visitor markets.
In March 2021, the NSW Government released an Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) for Agritourism and Small-scale Agriculture Development, the document outlined proposed amendments to support farm businesses and regional economies. The proposed amendments were designed to support the development of agritourism experiences and offerings through a series of amended and new definitions, including:
- farm stay accommodation: amended term, to support more farm stay accommodation
- farm events: new definition, to remove existing barriers and support farm events, such as events, tours, function, conferences, fruit picking, and horse riding
- farm gate activities: new definition, to enable the establishment of farm gate businesses, such as restaurants, cafes, tastings, and workshops linked to on farm or local agriculture
The proposed amendments also included fast tracked approval pathways, known as exempt and complying development, to allow for these activities. Led by the NSW Small Business Commission and Service NSW, following significant advocacy from industry stakeholders, including DSSS, the proposed changes were a welcomed opportunity to support diversification, innovation, and jobs growth for regional NSW.
The proposed changes were on public exhibition from 9 March 2021 until 19 April 2021, and during this time DSSS submitted feedback on the amendments. Download the DSSS submission and case studies.
In December 2021, the NSW Government released a draft Standard Instrument LEP Amendment Order and accompanying information sheet, detailing the process for roll out the proposed changes outlined in the EIE.
On Tuesday 11 October 2022, the Department of Planning released updated information regarding the reforms. Further information is available on the NSW Planning website here.
Resources for Farmers | Agritourism Accelerator Program
Program highlights video
Local case study – Buena Vista Farm
National Agritourism Framework | Australian Regional Tourism
Action Plan 2030
Toolkit for LGAs
Useful links | NSW Department of Planning & the NSW agritourism planning reforms
A guide to planning approvals | Setting up an agritourism business
A resource for anyone opening or thinking about opening an agritourism offering as part of their agricultural business. Guide consists of two sections: 1. starting an agritourism business and 2. specific planning requirements.
FAQs | Agritourism and small-scale agriculture development
Developed by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, this document answers your questions about changes to planning rules for agritourism and small-scale agriculture development. Resource updated September 2023.
NSW Department of Planning and Environment
The department is making it easier for farmers to use their land for agritourism to complement their existing businesses. The planning rules will help landowners to add value to their existing agricultural operations and encourages the next generation to farm the land.
Agritourism case studies
The NSW government is making it easier for farmers to use their land for agritourism. Hear from some NSW farmers about the new activities they’ll setup on their farms to make additional income and add value to their existing agricultural operations.
DSSS submission and accompanying case studies
In April 2021, while the proposed agritourism planning changes were on public exhibition, Destination Sydney Surrounds South (DSSS) provided a submission to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment. Read the full submission, including the accompanying case studies.
DSSS Product Development project
To fully understand and leverage the full potential of this opportunity, a structured education program is essential to support product development and industry investment in this sector. A proposed series of activities will be undertaken with Illawarra-Shoalhaven Joint Organisation (ISJO).