Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tourism Enterprise Opportunities - Getting Started

Index Page - Introduction - Getting Started - Section 2 - Section 3 - Section 4 - Section 5 - Appendixes

Tourism Enterprise Opportunities: Getting Started

Section 1: How do I get Started?

Section Objectives

* Identify potential tourism & recreation enterprises that interest you
* Define your strategic goals that this enterprise will support
* Identify some of the requirements of tourism and necessary skills that are different from traditional ranching
* Begin compiling a list of potential tourism and recreation enterprises for you to consider, given your situation

1.1 What are my options?

With the current changes in agriculture, landowners are searching for other enterprises to generate revenues. While tourism and recreation options are different from traditional agriculture, there are many options. The following list is by no means exhaustive, and is included here to stimulate some ideas as you start this evaluation process.

Nature Observation
* Bird & butterfly tours
* Plant & wildlife tours
* Astronomy and star gazing tours
* Photography and painting
* Self guided wildlife viewing

Outdoor Recreation

* Hiking & horseback riding
* Fee fishing & hunting
* Camping & picnicking
* Sporting clay shooting
* Off-road vehicles
* Agriculture technical tours
* Mountain biking

Educational Tours & Talks

* Ranch history & Culture
* Outdoor survival skill
* Horsemanship clinics
* Ranch, farm, and garden tours
* Winery tours
* Agriculture technical tours
* Exotic animal farm
* Guided nature tours


* Concerts
* Food & craft shows
* Animal feeding/petting zoo
* Festivals, fairs/events
* Cowboy camps & shows
* Cowboy breakfasts & dinners
* Wagon & sleigh rides

Ranch/Farm Experience

* Trail rides
* Round-ups
* Rodeos
* Working cow dog
* Working ranch experience
* Tractor & hay rides


* Bed & breakfast inns
* Farm & ranch vacations
* Guest ranches
* Cabins, lodges, tents, RV's

Some traditional agricultural products also can be operated independently or in combination with tourism operations.

Direct Agricultural Sales
* On-farm sales, agriculture, or retail products (example: t-shirts related to a ranch experience)
* Roadside stand selling fresh fruits, vegetables, or other agricultural product
* Agriculture related crafts and gifts
* U-pick operations

The first step in this evaluation process is to think about tourism in your area. List three of the existing tourist attractions or reasons people visit sites within 45 minutes to 1 hour from your place. (If you feel you are more than 1 hour from any existing attractions, list those closest to you.) Don’t forget things like hunting and fishing or visiting family, etc. And don’t worry about right or wrong answers.


Tourism and Recreation Options for My Operation
The next step is to think specifically about any ideas you have “right now” about potential tourism/recreation enterprises at your place. These are just initial thoughts, and we will continue to build on these ideas throughout this workbook.

Based on my current understanding of tourism and recreation, I believe the following enterprises are options for my operation:

Defining Tourism and Recreation Products

Nature tourism, eco-tourism, outdoor recreation, agritourism and ranch/farm based tourism are terms used to describe tourism and recreation on private lands. For this handbook, specific definitions for these terms are not as critical until particular products and services are selected. This selection will be based on the market for your particular product(s). At this stage in the handbook evaluation, it is more important to determine if tourism and recreation fits your personal and family goals.

However, for a brief clarification of terms here are some definitions.

Nature Tourism: tourism that focuses on viewing and experiencing the natural world (i.e. Plants, bugs, birds, geology, wildlife, and other natural elements).

EcoTourism: responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people.

Outdoor Recreation: tourism that focuses on a specific activity that takes place in an outdoor, not necessarily, natural

Ranch/Farm Based Tourism: a group of activities that take advantage of the natural and historical resources of the land

Tourism and Recreation Options for My Operation
The next step is to think specifically about any ideas you have “right now” about potential tourism/recreation enterprises at your place. These are just initial thoughts, and we will continue to build on these ideas throughout this workbook.

Based on my current understanding of tourism and recreation, I believe the following enterprises are options for my operation:

Where do I want to be?
In this section, you will identify why tourism/recreation activities might provide a potential enterprise for your ranch/farm business. These reasons should include personal and family considerations and will be related to the goals you have for your operation.

The idea of “adding an enterprise” to your current operation will become more clear as you work through this handbook. Our approach is based on the idea that these activities will be a supplement to your income and operation. Consequently, they must complement and not conflict with your current activities (e.g. livestock, oil and gas, grain
production) or with you and your family’s personal aspirations.

Personal and family considerations may include:
- Replacing or supplementing traditional agricultural product income
- Keeping your land in the family
- Offering your children a reason/way to stay on the ranch
- Preserving/maintaining a desired lifestyle
- Generating an income for your children’s college education
- Personal/family use of wildlife resources
- Helping others understand agriculture and natural resources.

Strategic goals for your operation may involve a variety of financial, operational and management considerations, such as:
- Maximizing return on investment
- Tax relief or land investment
- Supplemental income
- Generating a reliable income stream
- Diversifying the income of your operation
- Providing a future estate.

Thinking about your values and goals, where do you want to be next?
Using a measurable item such as dollars earned, number of guests to host or specific tasks that will be accomplished, list your goals for the time periods below:

Year 1

3-5 Years

Long Range

Tourism: Is it for me and my family?
Tourism and recreation enterprises require new skills and different perspectives than those needed to produce traditional agricultural products. Deciding to start a tourism and recreation enterprise will impact a family. In most cases, a family member’s interest in a particular activity will strongly influence the type of tourism/recreation business
you establish. Still, it is important to consider the requirements of these types of enterprises in relation to the skills and interests of all your family members.

Tourism and recreation enterprises require:
- Working with people
- Inviting people onto your land
- Managing the interaction between people, natural resources and other ranch/farm operations
- Focusing on the “experience” as the product, including “programming” to accomplish the desired experience
- Advertising and promoting your farm and the experiences you offer.

Working with people is the key component of a tourism/recreation business. The types of people you will serve should be compatible with your goals and with the accommodations, facilities, services and activities you plan to provide. Throughout this process you should keep in mind an idea of the types of people you enjoy spending time with and whether they would enjoy the things you are planning. This issue will arise again throughout the planning process and the life of your business enterprise. You will consider this question again in detail in Section 2 and Section 4 (marketing). Knowing your customers is key to making sure the resources and activities you offer are appropriate
to the people you want to attract.

Respond to the following questions to determine if you have the personality traits required to operate a tourism/recreation enterprise. It would be helpful for other family members to complete the same evaluation. When you answer “no” to a question. For each question identify a person you know who might provide assistance or be bettersuited to do that function.

Do I like meeting and workingwith other people? Yes or No
Do I like entertaining strangers? Yes or No
Do I know about the natural systemin which I plan to work? Yes or No
Do I have in-depth outdoor skills? Yes or No
Am I skilled in the operationand maintenance of equipment? Yes or No
Am I willing to work long hoursin a difficult environment? Yes or No
Am I successful at managing and organizing expenses? Yes or No
Am I able to make decisions and carry them out? Yes or No
Am I a self-starter? Yes or No
Am I independent/selfconfident and positive? Yes or No
Am I willing to change? Yes or No
Can I learn to tell the story (human and natural history) of my place? Yes or No
Am I willing to create an enjoyableexperience for my guests? Yes or No
Is my family supportive of this activity? Yes or No
Do my family members have skillsthat will help this enterprise succeed? Yes or No

Total the number of yes and no answers. For each no answer, identify and write down how you will address that issue, either by getting training or by hiring or partnering with others (name the person if possible). If there are more answers in the No column than in the Yes column, a tourism/recreation enterprise may not be an appropriate
addition for you and your operation.

Section 1 Summary and Worksheets
At this point you should
- Understand why you are searching for new options.
- Have created an initial list of potential tourism enterprises.
- Have begun to identify your strategic goals.
- Have determined if you and your family have the skills, personality and resources to operate a ranch/farm recreation and tourism enterprise.

During the next week
- Complete worksheet #1, which will guide you through a brainstorming session where you list as many potential enterprises as possible.
- Use worksheet #2 to begin researching and developing a map of your ranch/farm that will help you identify important resources at your place. You will develop this map in more detail in the later sections of the handbook.

* Identifying tourism sites in your area. You can find information about tourism sites from tourist offices, Comparables
* Identify options for your operation. (You could use a brainstorming technique to identify potential options for your operation)

Index Page - Introduction - Getting Started - Section 2 - Section 3 - Section 4 - Section 5 - Appendixes

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