The Philippines’ strategy for farm tourism will benefit farmers and fisherfolk, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said at the Farm Tourism Summit.
DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat emphasized the agency’s priority program for farm tourism saying citing it will serve as a catalyst for sustainable tourism and inclusive development that will redound to helping not only tourism workers but also the farming and fishing communities.
“We at the DOT are looking forward for Farm Tourism to serve as a catalyst for greater sustainability; we know that we can now pursue it properly, guided by the IRR. Farm Tourism holds the promise of food sufficiency and additional income for our tourism stakeholders, including farmers, farm workers and fisherfolk. After all, gainful employment, enhanced productivity and sustainable livelihoods are what tourism is really all about,” said Sec. Puyat in her keynote address at the summit held in September.
Puyat announced that the release of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10816 titled “Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016″ will provide the policy and enabling environment for the encouragement, development and promotion of farm tourism in the country and recognize the importance of agriculture in making available food and other products necessary to sustain and enhance human life, and in providing livelihood to a major portion of the population.
A DOT report says the agency has accredited 174 Farm Tourism sites across the country, 31 of which are in CALABARZON (Region IV-A). Puyat expects the numbers will continue to rise as the demand for “low-impact tourism” increases with the completion of the Farm Tourism Strategic Action Plan (FTSAP) this year.
“Farm Tourism capitalizes on two of our competitive advantages: agriculture, as 41.7 percent of the total land area in the country is devoted to farming as of 2016 according to the World Bank, employing 23.5 % of the Filipino workforce (as of July 2019), and the world-renowned Filipino brand of hospitality that brought 7.1 million foreign visitors to the country last year,” added Puyat.
Among the next steps for the DOT’s program for farm tourism are:
- Full installation of the Farm Tourism Development Board with the appointment of private sector representatives
- Organization of a National Farm Tourism Association to unify farm tourism establishment efforts in addressing issues and to facilitate implementation of the FTSAP
- Replication of the Luzon summit in the Visayas and Mindanao regions where majority of the farm tourism sites are located
The food tourism program’s Kain Na! and PH Harvest are being undertaken as auxiliary programs to support farm tourism.
Farm sites in the Philippines that are either functioning or have the potential to be tourism sites include the Sta. Rita’s Alviz Farm in Pampanga, Kawit’s Irasan salt beds in Cavite, floating solar farm in Tawi-Tawi, and the Romblon solar power plant.
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