Philippines’ farm tourism opens a world of discovery and exploration for international and domestic visitors as the Department of Tourism (DOT) leads today’s launching of “It’s More Fun in Philippine Farms” program.
DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo disclosed that a series of activities will be held throughout the country including consultative assemblies of farm tourism stakeholders; and exhibits on diverse farm tourism destinations, farm produce, and pasalubong specialty items.
“It’s about time that we take steps to put farm tourism at center-stage, as the country teems with rich agricultural destinations as nurtured by our hard-working farmers, who we now recognize as major stakeholders in an inclusive and sustainable tourism industry,” Teo said.
The DOT head noted that nearly 50 percent of the country’s total land area is devoted to agriculture that employs over 17 million Filipinos or 25 percent of our total workforce.The program will be spearheaded by an interim Farm Tourism Development Board that includes representatives the DOT, Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the private sector.
The Board will formulate the National Farm Tourism Strategic Action Plan, and will be assisted by a technical working group from Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Science and Technology and financial institutions like Landbank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines.
The upcoming activities will also include the search for “Farm Tourism Ambassadors” among children and young adults and the “Sunshine Tourism Awards”, which will honor best practices in farm tourism.
The activities will culminate in a national event, “It’s More Fun in Philippine Farms Summit,” to be headed by the Farm Tourism Development Board in September next year.
DOT Undersecretary for farm tourism Silvino “Vince” Tejada said farm tourism will prove to be a bright spot, as well as a viable foundation for the tourism industry.
“Agriculture represents the Filipino resiliency and productivity, the same theme showcased in all our ethnic and cultural festivals or fiestas throughout the country. Farm tourism in the Philippines literally means celebration and fun,” Tejada said.
Expected to grace today’s event is Senator Cynthia Villar, primary author of the Farm Tourism Development Law (Republic Act 10816) and the House bill sponsor Congresswoman Sharon Garin.
Both legislators strongly advocate the development of farm tourism as a profitable business proposition to farmers and farm owners by converting their farms into a tourist farm destination and to help train young people in farming endeavor.