AGRICULTURE: Expert predicts increase in rural tourism businesses in Buckinghamshire next year

An increase in rural tourism businesses in Buckinghamshire and the South East has been predicted by an agricultural expert.

Rupert Wailes-Fairbairn says farmers in the area drew more than a third of their income from diversified activities last year.

The region’s total income fell from £ 174million last year to £ 360million, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

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Rupert Wailes-Fairbairn of Lycetts

Farmers now face the loss of direct payment subsidies as the tourism sector accelerates its recovery from Covid.

Mr Wailes-Fairbairn of rural insurance broker Lycetts believes 2022 will be the year they reinvent their businesses.

“The vast untapped business opportunities for the sector are clear, with diversification last year having made the smallest contribution to agricultural production in the Southeast,” he said. “As farmers face increasing financial challenges and a period of unprecedented change in the industry, many will plan now to protect their financial future.

“To help them achieve this goal, a range of new business activities are likely to be initiated, from organizing experience days to using unproductive land for income-generating purposes with the introduction of glamping pods, tent pitches, shepherd’s huts or yurts.

“Renewable energy projects also promise lucrative opportunities, with operators paying rents to farmers and landowners of up to £ 1,000 per acre. “

While rural diversification can open the door to profitable sources of income, Mr Wailes-Fairbairn cautioned against the risks of launching new business ventures in markets where farmers’ experience and expertise may be limited. .

“Due diligence and prudent measures must be taken to avoid falling into unexpected financial traps,” he said.

Tourism-related projects will invariably involve members of the public setting foot on farmland.

Health and safety risk assessments, as well as measures and procedures to ensure a safe environment, are therefore essential considerations.

About Keneth T. Graves

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