Learning Journey to Tuscany/Umbria 2014

The Client - Businesses from the agritourism and food and drink sectors

The aim of the Learning Journey was

  • To meet with with Italian farmers to discuss comparisons in Italian agriculture, tourism and the rural economy and gain an insight into their added value food, tourism and leisure enterprises.
  • To visit farmers markets and farm shops and meet with the organisers to better understand how the structure differs to Scotland.
  • To meet with Industry representatives including Italian Farmer's Unions, Dept of Agriculture and tourism bodies to share knowledge and better understand Italian government and industry support to the sector.
    Meeting with academics and researchers specialising in the rural economy, agriculture and agritourism.
  • To facilitate informal discussions with trip delegates to share knowledge, experience and to build relationships


The Results

100% of those businesses attended felt that the Learning Journey had a positive impact on them with most having made changes in their business as a result of attending.  Coming together as a group was a highpoint resulting in the sharing of knowledge and experiences. Changes made in businesses since attending the learning journey include changes to marketing speak, using more emotional language  and including more rural/farm photography.   Delegates have improved the way they tell their family story.  One business has rewritten their website and another advised that they have improved the way they lobby local government.


“Caroline and Sheena did a fantastic job of organising the trip.   An  invaluable part of what Kirsten and I learnt was that Italian agritourism business owners are fantastic at communicating their values and I have since worked really hard on communicating our values down to the team.  We are also trying to bring back simple good quality food, something done so well in Italy. When the cherry blossom was out in the tunnels we put in  a long table, serving lunch and showcasing good food and drink, trying to recreate a Tuscany relaxed feel. This went really well and we will look at other opportunities in the future.  The Learning Journey was a really enjoyable experience and I would encourage people to go on one, investing in time away from your business, learning from others which helps open your eyes to opportunities for your own business” John & Kirsten Sinclair, Craigies Farm Shop

 “Great chance to learn from each other as a group and great to get an insight into how a well supported agritourism sector works”  Steven Melville, St Andrews Country Cabins