Innovative Farm Stays and the Allure of Upscale Rural Hospitality

Innovative Farm Stays and the Allure of Upscale Rural Hospitality

Marijke Dunselman the visionary, founder and CEO behind Agritourism NZ, shares her wealth of knowledge and experience in the burgeoning field of agritourism. 

The conversation centres on how she is pioneering the transformation of New Zealand's rural landscapes into high-end agritourism destinations that cater to both international and domestic travellers seeking unique and upscale rural experiences. 

Dunselman highlights the evolution of agritourism in New Zealand, specifically on the South Island, where she consults with large stations to enhance their tourism offerings. Despite the challenges, Dunselman is passionate about her work, especially when discovering the untapped potential of the stations.

"I've seen a lot of stations, but these ones were really quite spectacular and very different." 

One key talking point is the importance of pricing and marketing in the agritourism sector. Dunselman explains how many station owners underestimate the value of their offerings and need assistance in pricing their experiences appropriately. 

"A lot of people struggle with pricing. They don't appreciate how much it's worth." 

By developing multi-day experiences that include farm tours, meals, and fine wine, she helps these businesses appeal to high-end customers and capitalise on their unique locations. Another focal point of the conversation is the diversification and expansion of agritourism products. 

Dunselman describes how she works with stations to develop more than just accommodation, integrating activities like heli-skiing and utilising farm products in innovative ways. For example, she discusses Middlehurst Station, which has a brand-new Shearer's Quarters that can accommodate up to 20 people and opportunities to develop retreats and multi-day experiences for various groups. 

Dunselman emphasises the significance of leveraging what these stations already have.

"So there's a whole lot of opportunities there to do more with the products that they already have." 

Lastly, Dunselman touches upon the growth of the Agritourism Academy and its role in elevating knowledge about the tourism industry, including aspects like pricing, product development, and planning. 

She reflects on the importance of collaboration and innovation in the sector, expressing enthusiasm about the academy's success.

"It's been really exciting getting people up a level in terms of their knowledge about the tourism industry." 

Dunselman's interview paints a picture of the dynamic and evolving world of agritourism in New Zealand, revealing how luxury can be harmoniously intertwined with the rustic charm of rural life. Her expertise and dedication are shaping a new horizon for travellers seeking an extraordinary escape into the country's serene and private vistas.

Listen to the full chat between Marijke Dunselman and Dominic George above.

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