New Agritourism Rules Present Huge Opportunity for Farmers Say Pitchup.com
New South Wales has simplified its planning rules for agritourism, presenting a huge opportunity for farmers to recoup lost income, say outdoor accommodation specialists Pitchup.com.
With rates of return halving over the last year and expected to drop further due to weather conditions*, farms in NSW face an uncertain future.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel, say Pitchup.com. Under new planning rules, farmers can now welcome up to 20 campers in tents, caravans or campervans for up to 21 consecutive days without planning approval if they meet certain requirements:
- Farms must be ‘working’
- At least 15 hectares
- And zoned as Primary Production (RU1), Rural Landscape (RU2), or any other zone where agriculture is permitted**
Farm sites are proving popular on Pitchup, with similar planning reforms implemented in the UK during the pandemic bringing in an estimated $47m for the rural economy***.
UK farmers were allowed to host campers on their land for 56 days per calendar year (double the number of days than before the pandemic) without having to submit a planning application. Sites that made the most of this extension generated on average $24,000 in revenue across the summer season and some up to $224,000.
One such successful farm site was Eco Caerhys Camping in Pembrokeshire. Owners Carywn and Leanne explained that the revenue provided by the campsite made them “financially able to keep the farm going that bit longer and support our family better.”
They said: “If we were to invest into the cattle, we would have to restructure the whole business and become a herd of about 75-100 head of cattle… and this would still not make as much money as the campsite did in those 56 days.”
Dan Yates, founder of Pitchup.com, said: “The success farmers have experienced in the UK should be encouraging for sites in NSW looking to diversify, showing the huge potential a seemingly small change to planning policy can provide.
With Australian agritourism expected to be worth $18.6 billion by 2030**** and bookings in NSW on Pitchup.com up 191% in the last 12 months compared to the previous year, farmers have a huge opportunity in front of them to recoup lost revenue through diversification.”
To find out more about listing your campsite on Pitchup.com visit https://www.pitchup.com/en-au/join/
***estimates based on Pitching the Value figures p.23.