Phelan, Chris and Sharpley, Richard
Exploring Entrepreneurial Skills and Competencies in Farm Tourism.
In: Ninth Rural Entrepreneurship Conference, 23rd-24th June 2011, Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University.
Diversification to farm tourism is increasingly seen as a viable development strategy to promote a more diverse and sustainable rural economy and to counter declining farm incomes. However, our understanding of the dynamics of the modern farm tourism business and the entrepreneurial and competitive skills farmers require in making the transition from agriculture to a diversified - and service based - enterprise remains limited. Hence, the aim of this paper is to explore the range of skills and competencies that farmers in the North West of England identify as important when adopting a diversification strategy to farm tourism. With the findings indicating that that whilst a range of managerial skills are valued by farmers, they lack many of the additional business and entrepreneurial competencies required for success. Moreover, this paper acknowledges the need to generate consensus on the requisite skill-set that farm tourism operators require, along with a need for a currently fragmented rural tourism literature to acknowledge the significance of rural entrepreneurship and the characteristics of successful farmers and farm tourism ventures.