Proceedings

AP – Strategic Alliances Come Together To Achieve Common Goals In A Regional Cluster Development Project

A growing number of farms in rural Canada are looking to agri-tourism as a way to diversify their revenue sources and enhance competitiveness. The Agri-tourism Cluster Development project was piloted in 2003 in the province of Alberta, Canada. The project was in response to marketing constraints of individual farm businesses and a market research study that revealed a gap between high consumer interest in engaging in agri-tourism and an apparent low awareness of the opportunities available. The result was a cluster development approach that would assist regional groups to cooperatively raise the profile of agri-tourism offerings while increasing profit at individual farm gates and enhancing viability in rural communities. The project took a multi-faceted approach and included the use of nationally developed resources on agri-tourism from the Canadian Farm Business Management Council (www.farmcentre.com). Following the pilot stage lessons learned were documented, a process defined and the project expanded to what are now nine regional clusters.

Keywords: cluster, agri-tourism, viable, alliance, network, rural economy.

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Author(s): Andrew, C., Stollery, S.

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Organizations(s): Alberta Agriculture and Food, Stony Plain, Alberta