The Philippine farm tourism sector will once more get a major push as a driver of inclusive economic growth in the first-ever Global Farm Tourism Summit, which will be held from July 17 to 19 at the Summit Ridge Hotel in Tagaytay City.
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.
According to ISST President Mina Gabor, the conference will train the spotlight on the unique fusion of farming and tourism which has become a worldwide trend.
The former tourism chief said that the summit will take to the global level the annual farm tourism conferences they have been undertaking since 2013.
"Farm tourism attracts visitors to areas for educational and recreational purposes that encourage economic activity to provide farm and community income. It is one of the country's sunshine industries which can be developed because of our vast agricultural resources," Gabor said in a statement.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Fatima Romulo Puyat, a farming advocate, will keynote the three-day meet and spell out the DOT's directions based on Republic Act 10816, known as the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016, authored by Sen. Cynthia A. Villar.
The event is supported by the Tourism Promotions Board, Provincial Government of Cavite, the Departments of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Agriculture, and Trade and Industry, the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction, and the Automobile Association of the Philippines.
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 coowner 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.
Moreover, government resource persons are Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards-Organic Agriculture OIC Mark Matubang, DILG Bureau of Local Government Development OIC Director Anna Liza Bonagua, La Union Gov. Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III, and DOT 4A Regional Director Vernie Morales.
There will also be an exhibit of locally grown agricultural produce from partners and participating farms.
The conference will conclude with an ocular visit to the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction in Silang, Cavite, to offer participants a firsthand experience on its successful projects.