Agri-tourism in Recession: Evidence from North East England


  • Gary R F Bosworth University of Lincoln
  • Gerard McElwee Sheffield Hallam University


Farms are increasingly diverse business entities. The recent recession provides a stimulus to explore the strategies employed by farmers and farm households and the resilience of their farm businesses. Depth interviews with the owners and/or managers of five diversified farm businesses before and after the recession provide insights into their decision making processes and motivations. Approaches to different elements of entrepreneurial behaviour including risk-taking, opportunity evaluation, networking, innovation and strategies to attract new customers are examined. While the skills needs of diversified farmers have been widely explored in the literature, the longitudinal approach of this study across a period of economic recession enables the findings to add further to this body of literature. The results identify specific strategies and entrepreneurial characteristics that have been employed to enhance the resilience of diversified farms. The research considers the implications of combining the production of necessity goods (conventional agriculture) with luxury goods (tourism and value-added food produce) to position a business that can perform well confronting diverse economic conditions. In particular, this allows decisions to focus resources in different areas of the business to be analysed in relation to the wider economic environment. Keywords: farm diversification, rural tourism, agri-tourism, entrepreneurship, Rural Development

Author Biographies

Gary R F Bosworth, University of Lincoln

Gary is Reader in Enterprise and Rural Economies at Lincoln Business School, Unviersity of Lincoln, UK. His research interests focus on the social and economic vitality and contributions of small businesses in an ever changing rural economy. This has led to publications in the fields of home-based businesses, farm diversification, rural tourism, counterurbanisation and education and skills policies to support rural and regional economies.

Gerard McElwee, Sheffield Hallam University

Gerard is Professor of Entrepreneurship at Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, UK where he teaches, Entrepreneurship and Research Methods. He is also Editor of The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation ( which he launched in 2000. He developed an interest in Entrepreneurship in the Rural after carrying out research and consultancy work with small rural businesses and farmers. He has over 60 refereed publications and has published extensively in the area of Entrepreneurship. He has a particular methodological expertise in qualitative methods and social constructionism.