Aimed at heightening agritourism awareness in the region, the program is an online resource that incorporates Google Maps to help visitors locate agritourism destinations, divided into easy-to-follow categories. The categories include seafood, wineries, museums and farm stands, among others.
Consumers can see where vendors are located on a map of the region, then click the businesses to visit their individual websites. They can also pick up printed maps at area chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus, and welcome centers.
As the state’s agritourism industry grows, Blake Lanford, a Horry County extension agent with the Clemson University Institute for Economic and Community Development who helped develop the program, says that the passport is an interactive tool that connects businesses with the public and creates a network within the industry.
“The Pee Dee Agritourism Passport program provides a means for agritourism farmers throughout the region to connect with the tremendous tourism base that is attracted to the beach,” Lanford says. “We encourage farmers in the Pee Dee Region to take advantage of the public’s interest in their farming heritage, and the source of foods and fibers they consume every day.”
The program is also integrated with the South Carolina MarketMaker program, which helps agriculture and seafood industries reach new markets by leveraging the online resource.
Both the MarketMaker and Pee Dee Agritourism Passport programs were developed to share information about food- and farm-based businesses with consumers. All aspects of the agriculture industry can connect through the websites to help conduct business more efficiently.
Lanford says that small farms in particular are realizing the great potential of agritourism. They recognize it as a means to diversify their business model at the same time they market their primary product.
Find out more about the Pee Dee Agritourism Passport program and the businesses within the region by visiting www.peedeeagritourism.org.