INDIANAPOLIS (August 12, 2014) – The Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD) hosted, provided logistical support and participated in the creation of the National Agritourism Professionals Association (NAPA) during an organizational summit today. Representatives from 21 states and Canadian provinces gathered in Indianapolis or by teleconference to pass the organization’s charter and bylaws, discuss leadership and membership requirements and plan for NAPA’s 2015 conference.
“We are happy to host and support the formation of this international organization and look forward to building a strong relationship with it as we promote Indiana’s agritourism destinations and attractions,” said Mark Newman, executive director of IOTD. “Agriculture is Indiana’s calling card, is an important part of our heritage and is a definitive piece of all that is Honest-to-Goodness Indiana.”
The North Carolina-based association is a charitable corporation as defined by North Carolina General Statute. NAPA will provide industry resources and support to help agritourism businesses work through regulatory and policy challenges. Additionally, NAPA will serve to network state, regional and national opportunities for agritourism professionals and service providers, farmers and farm direct marketers in the promotion of their agritourism activities. It will also assist the development of collaborative education opportunities to promote best practices and marketing trends concerning agritourism. The association is organized exclusively for charitable, educational and scientific purposes to provide assistance and support to agritourism professionals. More information on NAPA is available at: http://napa-usandcanada.com/.
“With the rapid expansion of agritourism in recent years, the need for this particular type of trade association has become quite evident,” said Martha Glass, NAPA’s founder. “It was exciting to have an international group of our industry’s leaders gather in Indiana to create our new organization. When agritourism prospers, so does the local economy.”
Agritourism farms, ranches, distilleries, breweries, wineries or vineyards and farm direct marketers are defined by NAPA as value-added agricultural venues that provide pleasure as well as recreation, information, education or other agriculturally-oriented experiences or services.
NAPA leadership arrived Monday and took a tour of Trader’s Point Creamery, an agritourism farm in Zionsville. Indiana officials from the State Department of Agriculture and the Office of Community and Rural Affairs also participated in the organizational summit. Indiana agritourism professionals representing Purdue University, Fair Oaks Farm in Jasper County, Joseph Decuis Farm and Restaurant in Roanoke and the Indiana Wine and Grape Council assisted in NAPA’s development.
“It is appropriate for Indiana to take a leadership role in the formation of this important professional association,” said Ted McKinney, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “Indiana continues to be an innovative agricultural leader and I look forward to collaborative opportunities with NAPA as we move our vital industry forward.”
Tourism is big business in Indiana. An economic impact report released in December 2013 shows the travel, tourism and hospitality industry is the sixth largest industry in the state (excluding government), is directly responsible for nearly 140,000 jobs, generates over $2.1 billion in tax receipts and contributes $10 billion in revenue to Indiana businesses. The recently-launched Honest-to-Goodness Indiana brand campaign aims to further elevate the undertold stories of Indiana’s destinations and attractions.