Gordon Groover, Extension Economist, Farm Management, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech
A Geographic Analysis of Agritourism in Virginia (VCE Publication AAEC-62P) authored by Chris Lucha, Graduate Student,; Gustavo Ferreira, Assistant Professor, Martha Walker, Extension Specialist; Gordon Groover, Extension Economist all members of The Agricultural and Applied Economics Department of Virginia Tech
Agritourism in Virginia is growing at a rapid rate because it fits a specific need in the agricultural industry. The purpose of this paper is not to focus on the growth of agritourism in the region, but rather to explain why growth is unequal across regions by presenting the current density of agritourism in Virginia and defining the geographic and structural characteristics that make a region more suitable for an agritourism operation. By evaluating Sloagett and Woods (2003) and their key factors in industrial location in Oklahoma, this paper extrapolates the same factors and applies them to agritourism in Virginia. Accordingly, it was found that proximity to consumer markets, the structure and composition of consumer markets (median income, population density, and population growth of the region), the ease of transportation, and the natural amenities and recreational scores of a county all played a key role in the propensity to start an agritourism operation in a given region or county. All of these factors help to show why the Shenandoah Valley is a flourishing region for agritourism and vineyards alike. Despite the regional scope of this study (Virginia), the importance of the seven location factors discussed applies regardless of region, although the weight and influence of each factor may change.