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July 21 agritourism workshop focuses on coordination efforts     Send a link to a friend

[JUNE 17, 2004]  URBANA -- The increasing popularity of farm-based entertainment in recent years has caught the attention of the traditional agriculture as well as tourism industries. Farm tours, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, bed and breakfasts, and recreational hunting are being developed into significant profit-generating enterprises on farms throughout the country.

As a way to improve coordination between agritourism entrepreneurs and regional and local tourism bureaus in Illinois, an association has recently been formed: the Agriculture and Tourism Partnership of Illinois.

"The tourism industry has identified agritourism as an asset; however, it has been a challenge in some cases to convince farmers that they are players in the tourism business, just as it has been to persuade some tourism professionals to identify farm-based activities as tourist attractions," said University of Illinois Extension educator John Pike. "And, although the majority of these attractions are operated on a small scale, they are making an impact for both the business owner as well as the local regions where they are located," he said.

One of the first events sponsored by the Agriculture and Tourism Partnership of Illinois will be an initial annual meeting and agritourism workshop on Wednesday, July 21, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Illinois Building on the State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

The workshop will include information from Pike about trends in agritourism, a presentation by Jan Kostner from the Illinois Bureau of Tourism, information presented by Don Davis from Country Insurance about liability issues, and a panel discussion featuring Maria Mamoser from Prairie State Winery, Mark Hardy from Hardy's Reindeer Ranch and Brenda Logan from Baxter's Vineyards/Winery.


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The cost of the workshop is $25 for members of the tourism partnership and $35 for nonmembers. The combined cost of the workshop and membership is $50. For more information, call Central Illinois Tourism Development Office, (217) 525-7980, or visit

Additional information about the agritourism partnership is available on the Web at

The Agriculture and Tourism Partnership of Illinois was developed as a result of an Illinois AgriFirst Grant awarded to the Central Illinois Tourism Bureau. The mission of the partnership is to promote agritourism and related direct marketing activities in Illinois to the benefit of farm operators and the travel industry.

[University of Illinois news release]

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