The leaders of Georgia agritourism
Byne, Edmund Gordon
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The purpose of this study was to better understand the day to day operations, best practices, and challenges of Georgia’s agritourism industry. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the research objectives were obtained by interviewing the owner/operators of eight leading businesses in the agritourism industry across the state of Georgia. Agritourism businesses were identified for inclusion in the study by being an active member of the Georgia Agritourism Association, being a working farm that produced an agriculture product, and also offers activities for children. The quantitative questions show how each business is structured in regards to the number of years in business, number of employees and the educational experience of each owner/operator. The qualitative questions provided an in depth look at the leaders in Georgia’s agritourism industry and allowed the researcher to learn about the day to day operations of their businesses, how they arrived where they are today, and what makes them successful. The common themes during the interviews were passion for agriculture and working with people, the high potential for Georgia’s agritourism industry, and the difficult people that one must encounter in the industry. This study gives those interested in the agritourism industry the knowledge and understanding of what is involved in operating an agritourism business. This research explains the difference between farming and agritourism and the common issues that arise when making the transition, the importance of working well with customers, and the importance of starting small and growing organically.