The value of focus group research is becoming more evident throughout the social sciences, as academicians and practitioners alike search for better ways to investigate and analyze human interactions, beliefs and attitudes in all kinds of business and social situations and contexts. The study of international agricultural development is no exception to this trend. In particular, as agriculture in developing countries evolves and as markets in those countries become affected by industrialization, focus groups provide a credible way for researchers to examine barriers as well as new possibilities regarding relationships between agriculture and new industries. This article demonstrates how focus groups were used to gather information in the U.S. Virgin Islands that helped stakeholders to identify and characterize barriers to developing a stronger relationship between the agriculture industry and the tourism and hospitality industry. The authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Carlos Robles and Mr. Dale Morton who organized and conducted the focus group meetings.
Keywords: Focus groups, hospitality, local markets, research methods, rural development, tourism