A gap analysis of farm tourism microentrepreneurial mentoring needs in North Carolina, USA

Keywords: Agritourism, Farm Tourism, Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy, Microentrepreneurship, Food Systems

Abstract

Tourism is frequently proposed as a strategy to revitalize rural economies. The current mushroom­ing of web platforms for the tourism sharing eco­nomy affords rural microentrepreneurs opportu­nities to capitalize on the growing demand for authentic experiences. However, these platforms may actually be widening the socio-economic gap between individuals across the digital and urban/ rural divides. In addition, the well-established urban culture of entrepreneurial mentorship is not taking hold in the rural areas, which direly need to attract and support nascent entrepreneurs. Farms are increasingly adopting tourism to diversify their business models, and Extension agents are trusted mentors par excellence of agribusiness entrepreneurs; therefore, this study explores the extent to which Extension agents feel able to address the mentoring needs of farm tourism microentrepre­neurs. We measured both tourism e-microentrepre­neurial self-efficacy (TeMSE) among farmers and tourism e-microentrepreneurial mentoring self-efficacy (TeMMSE) of Extension agents. Results show that farmers have relatively low self-efficacy in the dimensions of e-marketing and marshalling resources, and that agents may be efficacious men­tors in these dimensions. Farmers also show low self-efficacy in adapting to externalities; however, agents do not perceive themselves as efficacious mentors in this dimension. We conclude with a discussion of practical implications for train-the-trainer strategies to enable farm tourism micro­entrepreneurship success.

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Author Biographies

Bruno Ferreira, Arizona State University

Assistant Professor, Tourism Development and Management, School of Community Resources and Development

Duarte B. Morais, North Carolina State University

Associate Professor, Equitable and Sustainable Tourism, Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Adriana Szabo, North Carolina State University

Doctoral Candidate in Sociology (Food & Environment), Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Becky Bowen, NC State Extension, North Carolina State University

Project Manager, Cultivate NC, Community and Rural Development

Susan Jakes, NC State Extension, North Carolina State University

Associate State Program Leader of Community Development

Published
2020-11-04
How to Cite
Ferreira, B., Morais, D., Szabo, A., Bowen, B., & Jakes, S. (2020). A gap analysis of farm tourism microentrepreneurial mentoring needs in North Carolina, USA. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 10(1), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2020.101.025