Bohol to host 7th farm tourism conference

After a 5-year lull due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Provincial Government of Bohol is hosting the resumption of the Philippine Farm Tourism Conference set at The Bellevue Resort in Panglao from February 26 to 28.

Now on its 7th edition, the international event is organized by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) and supported by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) based in Los Baños, Laguna.

Themed, "Farm Tourism: Consciousness for Healthy Living and New Experiences," the conference will showcase lessons from the pandemic, and share best practices which seeks to provide social and economic empowerment to communities.

The event is also supported by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, the Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, Department of Agriculture—Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport), the Department of Trade and Industry, and Philippine Airlines as the official carrier.

According to ISST President Mina Gabor, this year's conference will focus on sustainable growth through the cultivation of fruit and vegetable farms, aquaculture and artisanal fisheries, and green investments in farm tourism.

The former tourism chief said that the event will also have a DTI-led exhibit of agricultural produce and by-products under its One Town One Product program, and a farm tour which will highlight the notable farm tourism sites.

Conference topics include hospitality industry embracing sustainable farm-to-table concept, processing fruits and vegetables—key to food security, right marketing and revenue, value added benefits of artisanal fisheries, revival of the country's multi-million seaweeds industry, the pampano fish as upcoming star of aquaculture, and green investment in agriculture and tourism in the Asian setting.

The conference will also confer the 4th Lakbay Bukid Awards to five local and foreign individuals and organizations who have contributed to the development of farm tourism in Asia.

Bohol First District Congressman Edgar Chatto noted that the event will be an opportunity to showcase the island province as the country's first Unesco Global Geopark in 2023 which recognized its rich terrestrial and marine attributes spread out in a 8,808-sq km area.

As chairperson of the House of Representatives Climate Change Committee, Chatto will also be one of the resource persons in the 3-day gathering.

Participants will immerse in farm sites, such as Loboc Cacao Farm, Asin Tibuok makers in Alburquerque, Kinaiyahan Forest Park in Bilar, Lasang Cacao Farm in Maribojoc, Green Thumb Farm in Corella, South Farm in Panglao, Bohol Bee Farm in Dauis, Manay's Farm in San Miguel, Ubay Dairy Farm, and Jagna Recycling Facility and Eco Farm.

The group will also visit the province's iconic attractions of Tarsier Sanctuary in Corella and the Chocolate Hills Park in Carmen.