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Abstract

This study evaluates the impact of the agricultural working landscape on the Vermont tourist industry and state economy. Vermont is known for its scenery, especially its agricultural landscape. It has often been stated that Vermont's tourist industry, which represents 15% of the state's economy, depends upon this special landscape for its comparative advantage in the New England tourism market. However, Vermont's landscape is changing. The number of farms and acres of farmland have decreased significantly in the past several decades. State policy makers are grappling with the challenge of supporting and preserving both the farm and tourist economies in the face of regional and global competition. This study quantifies the impact of the agricultural working landscape on tourist demand in Vermont. Primary data were gathered through a survey of visitors to Vermont to determine how the disappearance of the agricultural landscape would affect their willingness to visit the state. Findings indicate that 84% of respondents value the agricultural landscape of Vermont and 58.5% of the respondents would be less likely to visit Vermont if there were very few farms. Knowing the level of this impact will help policy makers decide how much to invest in the preservation of farmland and marketing of farm visits and eco-tourism.

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