Guide for rural tourism





Identify your financial goals

Find your financial comfort zone by answering these questions:

  • Do I have cash on hand to start a business?
  • Will I need to get a loan?
  • Do I feel comfortable borrowing money?

Assessing your financial resources can be difficult. In most cases, it’s a good idea to involve other family members and outside professionals to assist you in making that decision.

Sources of finance

One of the most important questions in any analysis for dealing with rural tourism is how to provide the necessary financial means.

Sources of finance can be:

  • Internal / External
  • Non-refundable / Refundable
  • Private / Public
  • Domestic/Foreign

Some of the possible sources of finance can be:

– Self-financing (Self-financing is a method of financing in which one’s own funds are used. Funds are a result of previous operations, through accumulated profits, i.e. savings; the cheapest and safest source of financing, which enable the greatest degree of independence)

– Loans (mainly through commercial banks; loans are available for various purposes; in the last few years, banks have extended repayment terms and slightly increased maximum loan amounts, but there is an increase in interest and associated costs; the global financial crisis affects banks to apply a much more conservative financing policy; obtaining a loan has become much more difficult and demanding because banks require a very thorough analysis of the client’s rating)

– Joint investments (or: joint venture – a special way of investment by two or more independent companies or persons who jointly invest funds in a certain business activity. It is a specific form of connection by pooling capital on a joint project or venture, or in some form of business cooperation)

– Foreign direct investment (Investment of a foreign person in a domestic legal entity when foreign investor acquires a stake or shares in the basic capital of that legal entity (enterprise); in other words, foreign direct investment means the investment of foreign capital by a resident investor (enterprise) of one country in resident (enterprise) of another country in order to achieve common interests).

Leasing (Leasing represents one of the ways of financing and investing in fixed assets for a specific asset, and appears as an alternative to own funds and bank loans, the essence of leasing is that the user does not acquire the ownership of the asset until he fully repay the leasing costs; word leasing originally means to rent, lease).

Donations (Grants; gift in the form of money, assets, ownership or services)

– Public-private partnerships (Public-private partnership is defined as a form of cooperation between private and public partners who work together on the implementation of investment projects and the provision of public services; they mainly relate to the construction and use of infrastructure)

– Investment funds (Investment funds are a form of collective investment that aims to collect funds from several investors and place them on the capital market, by buying company shares, bonds and others, usually with the aim of increasing their value, and then reselling them for a profit).

– European Union funds (the EU finances a number of projects and programs; strict rules are applied to ensure that the money is spent in a transparent and responsible manner, and the use of the funds is under constant supervision; EU financial resources are available in different forms: as grants, usually awarded through public calls, better known as calls for proposals, subsidies managed by national and regional bodies, loans, guarantees and equity as forms of financial assistance to support EU policies and programmes, etc.)

State support (subsidies, incentives, premiums, regressions, credit support from state or local self-government budgets)

Securities (Securities represent documents that promise payment of money, interest, earnings or dividends; securities in the narrower sense are investment instruments, i.e. those securities where there is an investment risk that is compensated by potential earnings).

Alternative sources: crowdfunding, business angels… (New forms of financing that are different in purpose and form; Crowdfunding is a way of financing projects through the collection of several small amounts of money from many people, usually via the Internet; business angels are individual investors who provide financial support to small start-up companies or entrepreneurs).

Setting Realistic Income Goals

Spend time identifying what your income goals are. These might include:

  • Break even or turn a profit in the first year.
  • Provide supplemental income while holding a full-time job off the farm.
  • Earn all of your (your household’s) income from farming (within a specified time frame).
  • Meet current and long-term family income needs (college tuition, health insurance, retirement).
  • Expand farm income enough to allow your children to become partners in the farm business.

Income sources in rural tourism

Rural tourism is being promoted as a way to generate additional income for the farm, and there are many ways to generate sales.

This chapter describes possible income sources.

A rural tourism business plan is the best way to show how the income streams and the new expenses balance to provide a new source of profit.

Some of the income sources may be:

  • Tickets for events
  • Tourist tours’ fee
  • Sale of fresh agricultural products
  • Sale of processed agricultural products
  • Selling souvenirs
  • Fee for skills acquisition – workshops
  • Tasting fee
  • Renting an object
  • Accommodation
  • Food

For any fees that you charge, it is important that you provide them in accordance with applicable standards and that you check that they are charged in accordance with applicable regulations.

Tickets for events

Tourists are willing to pay an entrance fee to attend events or participate in events. Keep in mind that tourists are willing to pay the entrance fee for some unique experience. Admission may be charged for events and activities. A number of events can be organized in rural tourism. From grape harvesting, mowing, bicycle race, archery competition, boat race, folklore show to a music festival or the celebration of an authentic custom, holiday or other important date.

The price of tickets can be formed in several ways:

  • Adults can pay one price and children and pensioners another, lower price
  • Group discounts may be introduced
  • A discount can be given if they buy some products on the farm or if they have booked accommodation.

Consider organizing an event that would attract tourists.

Tourist tours’ fee

If you organize a tour (e.g. visiting the farm with a guide) you can charge a fee. The guide can be you, or someone else who has enough knowledge about your farm. Tourists who are willing to pay this fee usually want to know the authenticity of life and work on a farm, some details of production processes, technological specifics and other unique experiences that your farm can offer them.

The fee for the tour can be formed in several ways:

  • Adults can pay one price and children and pensioners another, lower price.
  • Group discounts may be introduced
  • A discount can be given if they buy some products on the farm.
Sale of fresh agricultural products

One of the reasons why tourists come to the farm is to buy fresh agricultural products at producer prices. In addition to the direct sale of fresh products, you can also introduce the “pick and choose” activity, where tourists pick their own products. As there is a growing interest in healthy food, and as people increasingly want to know from whom they are buying what, this type of income has a growing perspective.

Sale of processed agricultural products

Many farms are increasingly working to expand the sale of their value-added products. This can include everything that you can process on your farm, i.e. all processed products from agricultural products (cheese, butter, jam, compote, squeezed juices, pickled products, dried fruit, sauces, spreads, etc.). Consider offering some of these products as souvenirs or gifts.

Selling souvenirs

Why shouldn’t your farm have its own souvenirs? Why not also sell souvenirs related to the region you are in on your farm? First of all, it is desirable to have authentic souvenirs that are related to your farm and that were made there: decorations, handicrafts, country antiques, etc. You can always add classic souvenirs to them: hats, t-shirts, pendants, etc.

Fee for skills acquisition – workshops

The point of holding workshops on the farm is to charge a fee for experience and expertise. The possibilities of different educations are almost unlimited. Tourists like to stay active and be engaged in acquiring new knowledges and skills. You can organize educational workshops on various topics, such as: culinary workshop, preparation of takeaway products, sheep shearing, wool spinning, hay cutting, pumpkin carving, basket weaving, charcoal making, etc.

Like other fees, the fee for workshops can be formed on different principles, such as depending on the number of participants or otherwise.

Tasting fee

Tasting can be organized for almost anything authentic that you produce on the farm. Apart from wine or brandy tastings, you can also organize tastings for many other products. Farms that grow or produce some authentic edibles may consider charging based on the tasting experience. For example, an orchard can offer a tasting of old varieties of apples or plums. If you produce milk, you can offer tastings of cheeses, spreads and other dairy products. If you already dry meat for your own needs, you can offer a tasting of meat products. It is important that the tasting area is clean, tidy and that hygiene complies with all regulations.
The price is usually formed per person. You can give the participants of the tasting some discount for the purchase of the product.

Rental of facilities

Another way a farm can make money from visitors is by renting out the farm, some parts of it or farm facilities. The empty barn can be used for dance lessons, smaller weddings, family gatherings, birthdays, religious events, meetings and the like. You can also rent an empty barn or other facility to others who are engaged in tourism for some of their events or activities. The beautiful lawn can be rented for picnics or other special events.

Make sure that everything you rent is clean and tidy, that there is access to water and toilets.

You can form the price according to the time of use (an hour and a half day, a whole day) or per person.


You can offer accommodation in any structure that complies with regulations and is categorized. It can be a room, an apartment, a house, a tent, a trailer, a large barrel, and the like. The accommodation should have an adequate bathroom, toilet and other accompanying facilities, in accordance with its categorization.

The fee can be per unit (room) or per person. Don’t forget discounts for children.


Apart from the fact that tourists need to eat, they usually like to eat local and authentic food. Offer them some of that, according to your food preparation capabilities. You can form the price per meal or per group or in some other way.

Business plan

A business plan should answer questions such as “what kind of business idea it is about” and “whether this idea can be successful (lead to profit) on the market”.

The business plan consists several parts that analyze your idea for rural tourism more deaply.

The basic elements of the business plan are as follows:

  • Description of the business idea; what is your main product/service, who are the main customers
  • Market analysis (existing offer, competition, characteristics of your customers (tourists), distribution channels, analysis of your prices
  • Location analysis
  • Necessary investments and their dynamics as well as sources of financing
  • Financial projections of operations in the future (future income and expenses)
  • Risk analysis

In the first part of the Business Plan, define:

  • What is your main product or service?
  • Who are the customers of services or products and what characterizes them?
  • What are your previous knowledge and experiences?
  • Do you have special skills or advantages that allow you to successfully do your planed job?
  • What are your weaknesses in doing the job?
  • What are the expected environmental changes (micro and macro) in the future?

Based on those information, you can see whether your idea is viable, what your strengths are, and what aspects you still need to improve.

Market analysis aims to determine the most important market trends that are the subject of your business venture. Try to analyze:

  • What are the supply and demand in rural tourism;
  • What is the competition looks like now and potentially in the future;
  • Characteristics of rural tourists (who are the customers and what habits and expectations do they have);
  • Possible distribution channels of your product or services to customers;
  • How the rural tourism market will develop in the future;
  • Is your product or service specific compared to competitors;
  • Price levels

With that information, you can evaluate the position of your idea when it appears on the market.

Take a closer look at the following elements. They will be useful to you when you begin providing a tourist service or selling products:

  • Specificity – what is different in your production process or when providing your tourist service compared to competitors;
  • Experience – your specific experiences as additional advantages;
  • Location – analysis of location as one of the most important elements;
  • Legal regulation – overview of the regulations in rural tourism and their possible effects on your idea.

After this analysis, you will receive information based on which you can improve your service or product, so that your offer it as competitive as possible.

When considering investment opportunities and sources of financing, it is important to do the following:

  • Analyze the necessary investments and dynamics of realization;
  • Consider the available sources of financing for starting a business idea, as well as the costs of those sources (e.g. interest on loans);
  • Determine the financing structure of the business venture and, if the project involves the use of external funds, the calculation of the loan repayment plan.

The basic problem of the decision on your investment is related to the difference between investing today and expecting profit in the future. In this sense, the assumptions on which the financial projections of the business are based should be reviewed and analyzed, and this especially include:

  • Assumptions on sales projection – expected income based on assumptions about the number of your products and services and their structure, price and seasonal price fluctuations, various intermediary fees and taxation on services and products;
  • Assumptions and projections of the costs – costs such as costs related to the provision of services (variable costs), but also those that do not depend on the number of services provided (fixed costs), should be analyzed separately. Variable costs include labor costs (even if the business is run by a family and there is no money spent on employee costs, the amount of time spent should be taken into account at least for the reason that that time can be used in other ways), costs of raw materials and materials for preparation of food and drinks, costs of inventory, maintenance costs. When it comes to fixed costs, along with depreciation and various utility fees, the cost of external sources of funding for investments (interest cost and annuity) should be determined;
  • Review of possible deviations from assumed amounts and quantities related to both income and expenses.

After that, the projected revenues and expenses should be compared, as well as the impact of various taxes, and the overall effects of the business should be reviewed based on:

  • Profit and loss ratio, i.e. net profit,
  • Cash flow, which determines the available money after all costs.

Possible deviations from the planned volumes should be also included in the calculation.

Projection of profit and loss ratio and cash flow is the basis for evaluating the profitability of investment and start of a business venture.

Finally, it is necessary to consider the most important risks related to business idea, namely those that can be influenced (for example, risks related to sales, the number of intermediaries, etc.) as well as those that come from the wider environment and that cannot be influenced (for example, taxes, traffic availability and many others).

After all these analyses, you get a complete picture of your business idea, and that complete picture is called a business plan. If the business plan tells you that you should continue to work on the realization of your idea, then you should start collecting the financial resources that are necessary for the concrete realization of your idea.


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