Although farm-based tourism has a long tradition, particularly within Europe, farm diversification into tourism has, in recent years, become more widely seen as an effective means of addressing the socio-economic problems of rural areas in general and the agricultural sector in particular. Accordingly, not only has there been significant growth in the supply of farm-based tourism in many countries (and evidence of rural development policies supporting such growth), but also increasing academic attention has been paid to the phenomenon. However, although a number of studies consider specific issues related to farm diversification into tourism, such as marketing or financial challenges, little or no research has been undertaken into the attitudes of farming families that have diversified. The purpose of this paper is to address this omission in the tourism literature. Based on a survey of farms in north-eastern England, it explores farmers’ attitudes to a variety of issues related to diversification into tourism, including the socio-cultural context within which it occurs. In doing so, it both confirms and challenges previously held assumptions regarding the problems of diversification. In particular, however, it identifies a widespread desire amongst farmers to maintain a distinction between the farm/farming business, suggesting that the development of farm tourism enterprises is an employment, as opposed to diversification, issue. It concludes, therefore, that the role of public sector agencies in the support of farm tourism should be reassessed
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