Promoting Tourism in Rural America

Oklahoma wineries represent a growing trend toward rural economic development through agritourism.

Liam R. Kennedy of the Clarion University of Pennsylvania has compiled this extensive and useful list of rural development support contacts and knowledge resources. If you are a local leader hoping to improve agritourism in Oklahoma or anywhere else in the U.S., this list is a real asset.

The tourism and travel industry is estimated to grow by 28 percent from 1997 to 2007, with agricultural and nature-based tourism anticipated to grow 30 percent over the same period. Back in the old days, folks would visit their relatives who owned farms when they wanted a change of pace. Now most people don't have a relative like that to visit and agritourism seeks to meet that need.

Southeastern Indiana's Clark County, got into agritourism in 1966 when they planted fields of pick-your-own strawberries and green beans. The venture has since grown into a family farm and 400-seat restaurant featuring country specialties, a farmer's market, gardens and ponds. Down the road, neighbors have developed a combination vineyard, winery, bakery, petting zoo and cheese factory.

Promoting Tourism in Rural America

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