Themed "Managing Climate Risks through Sustainable Farm Tourism," the event is organized by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), the Department of Tourism (DOT), and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).
"We're tackling climate change and how farm tourism can help mitigate this problem. Second, our speakers are going to share a lot of their experiences," says ISST president and former tourism chief Dr. Mina Gabor. "Third, we'd like to talk about some of the smart farming methods because we want people to think that organic farming is not hard. Fourth, we have invited successful local government units that are doing very well in their promotion and marketing of farm tourism so we can be inspired by them."
DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, a farming advocate, will keynote the three-day meet. She will also spell out the Department's directions based on Republic Act 10816, known as the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016 authored by Sen. Cynthia Villar.
"I think the time is right," Dr. Gabor says. "There's a great interest in farm tourism. The country as a whole will benefit. The quality of our produce will get better, and there is a big push to go back to basics—people are going closer to nature."
Topics include Farming by Millennials by Cainta Vice Mayor Pia Schuck-Velasco, Women Empowerment by Dimataling, Zamboanga del Sur Mayor Maria Dolores Baya, and Climate-Smart Farming by International Center for Tropical Agriculture Director for Asia Dindo Campilan.
Leading practitioners who will share their experiences are Villa Socorro Agri-Eco Village and Farm Resort general manager Raymund Aaron, Puentespina Farm by co-owner Dr. Roberto Puentespina, Jr., and Rapha Valley Owner Albert Jo.
Providing global outlook on farm tourism are Sapa O'Chau (Vietnam) founder Tan Thi Su, Sampran Riverside (Thailand) managing director Arrut Navaraj, Nurture Wellness Village president Cathy Turvill, and Movement of Incentive Travel Executives president Rose Libongco, and Ambassador to New Zealand Jesus Domingo.
There will also be an exhibit of locally-grown agricultural produce from partners and participating farms as well as an ocular visit to International Institute for Rural Reconstruction in Silang, Cavite to offer participants a first-hand experience on its successful projects.
"We also want to increase the enthusiasm of our young people toward farming and farm tourism," Dr. Gabor says. "There are many ways now that are being done. Getting into schools now. Urban farming has become very big. We are trying to get the schools to become more interested in this kind of subject."
For more information, log on to isstphilippines.com.ph, follow them on Facebook ISST Phil, or call 832-0996 or 834-2994.