Stirling students push button on agritourism platform

George Benson and Mats Zachariassen, who are both studying for a MBA with Stirling Management School. Picture: Contributed
George Benson and Mats Zachariassen, who are both studying for a MBA with Stirling Management School. Picture: Contributed
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Two business students from the University of Stirling aim to shake-up Scotland’s agritourism industry after developing a web platform linking holidaymakers with farm hosts.

George Benson and Mats Zachariassen, who are both studying for an MBA with Stirling Management School, are looking to tap into a multi-million pound market with their Airbnb-style website.

Agritourism is a trend currently booming elsewhere in Europe, with Italy boasting 20,000 registered farms and an estimated value of about £1 billion.

By encouraging more agritourists, bookings through the new website venture could also provide a further boost to Scotland’s flourishing food and drink industry.

Benson, who hails from Ghana, said: “Agritourism is currently a really niche market in Scotland. Not many agriculture businesses are aware of the potential revenue that could be generated by hosting tourists and those who do provide holiday experiences don’t advertise well.

“As a holidaymaker, it isn’t easy to find and book a stay or working holiday on a Scottish farm.

“Our website ‘Tour My Farm Experiences’ aims to change that by providing a central platform linking farm hosts and experience providers across Scotland with consumers, for the first time.”

Zachariassen added: “There is a huge trend around sustainability and provenance – knowing where food comes from and how it ends up on our plate. Food and drink is already a vital part of the overall tourism product in Scotland and, by making it easier for visitors to enjoy an agriculture-themed holiday, there could be an added boost for both sectors.”

The students devised the idea after attending a workshop run by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) and later entered SIE’s student entrepreneur competition.