CEBU, Philippines — The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) announced its serious stance to support the Philippines' bid in capitalizing on farm tourism.
Since small farmers need to have numerous income streams to become globally competitive in light of ASEAN integration, farm tourism will be a key to helping lift farmers out of poverty, said SEARCA director Gil C. Saguiguit Jr.
"Agritourism is an innovative pathway of us at SEARCA to achieve our goal of Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development that should benefit small farmers," said Saguiguit.
SEARCA enjoins the Department of Tourism and Department of Agriculture's thrust to push for the development of the farm tourism sector, recognizing it is a way to integrate small farmers into the bigger supply chain. Besides, it promotes practice of environment-friendly agriculture.
Part of its support gesture is to orgnize the first Global Farm Tourism Summit in July this year, highlighting the 12 eco-tourism sites identified by the government, which are hoped to be integrated with farm sites as part of fulfilling the Farm Tourism Development Act (Republic Act 10816) which was just ratified in 2017.
Global Farm Tourism Summit (GFTS) in July which is co-organized by International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), also aims to seize a portion of the 1 billion tourist market, 30 percent of which look for "nature tourism."
The GFST aims to gather 500 participants to share best practices, insights, technologies, and products from around the world. It intends to open channels and networks on farm tourism development.
The Philippines received an income of P164.25 billion in visitors as of 2016, up by 7.92 percent from P152.19 billion in 2015, according to DOT.
Yet, the global market of more than1 billion tourist arrivals in 2016 generates more than $3 trillion in revenue, according to former DOT Secretary Mina T. Gabor, now president ISST.