Agritourism is a rapidly growing trend that has been embraced by many rural areas as a way to diversify their agricultural economic development efforts. However, there are several factors that have limited the implementation of agritourism, such as problems related to permits, environmental health regulations, and liability or insurance issues. The University of California Center for Agricultural Affairs (UC CAA) has identified that agricultural operators often find the permit system to be misleading, slow, or expensive. To obtain authorizations, permits, and licenses, operators must follow a planning and licensing process that addresses land use development, environmental health and safety, licensing and taxation, and direct marketing.
The rules and regulations applicable to agritourism operations vary by county, increasing the possibility of communication problems or misunderstandings within the system. In order to address these concerns, UC has implemented a variety of initiatives and research programs aimed at promoting the development of sustainable agritourism. These initiatives have included activities such as allowing the search for ancillary commercial uses with added value related to agriculture and operating farms. Additionally, the agricultural census shows a growing trend in agritourism and related recreational services, as well as in direct sales of agricultural products.
Overall, agritourism is an essential part of rural economic development. By encouraging initiatives that support this activity, rural areas can benefit from increased tourism and diversified agricultural activities.