Farmers should look to continue with tourism diversification to survive in a post-Brexit world.
Speaking at the Royal Cornwall Show, CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said that the countryside will benefit from the rise of the staycation and the weak pound as the UK heads towards exiting the European Union, giving farmers across the South West an opportunity to choose tourism as a new income stream.
At a special breakfast on the first day of the show, the CLA President told the audience that Brexit means farmers and landowners must look to diversfy their businesses as direct support from the Common Agricultural Policy comes to an end and is replaced by a future system of payments for public goods. He said businesses which embrace the change and seek out new opportunities are the ones that will succeed through Brexit and beyond.
Mr Breitmeyer said: “It is more important than ever for land based businesses to diversify and look to opportunities in the rural tourism sector if farming is to remain profitable after Brexit.
“As Britons continue to seek out staycations and experiences in our beautiful countryside and with a fall in the pound, rural tourism businesses are set for a Brexit boost. Tourism is so vital to the countryside. In the South West alone, it provides more than 150,000 jobs, supports the local economy and generates some £7billion to the overall economy.
“Farmers who choose to embrace change and start new business ventures such as rural tourism are the ones who will thrive in a post-Brexit world. However, to ensure all rural businesses are resilient and robust enough to survive Brexit, it is vital for the Government to provide support, infrastructure and policy initiatives to assist this transition.
“We also need more flexibility in the planning system so growth is not restricted and improved digital connectivity across rural areas, particularly 4G mobile coverage in the countryside so that that rural businesses have access to the same level of coverage as towns and cities.”