Moving up

  • 19 July 2018

Source: The Philippine Star
19 Jul 2018

The country's 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 ongoing 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 (SEARCA).

According to ISST president Mina Gabor, the conference will put 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," she told media.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, a farming advocate, keynotes the three-day meet and spells out the Department's directions based on Republic Act 10816, known as the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016 authored by Sen. Cynthia Villar.

The event is supported by the Tourism Promotions Board, provincial government of Cavite, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, 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 co-owner Dr. Roberto Puentespina Jr.; Rapha Valley owner Albert Jo; Nurture Wellness Village president Cathy Turvill; Movement of Incentive Travel Executives president Rose Libongco, and Costales Farms president Josephine Ferreras Costales.

Providing global outlook on farm tourism are Sapa O'Chau founder Tan Thi Su (Vietnam), Phutawen Farm owner Dalounny Douangpaseuth (Laos), National Institute of Agricultural Science senior agricultural researcher Dr. Lock-Hwan Jo (South Korea), and Ohtawara Tourism Co. Ltd. president Daisuke Fujii, and Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Jesus Domingo.

Government resource persons include La Union Gov. Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III, Surigao Del Sur Vice Gov. Manuel Alameda, DOT 4-A regional director Vernie Morales, Bureau of Soils and Water Management assistant director Dr. Edna Pangan, and Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standard Dr. Vivencio Mamaril.

Complementing the talks is a side exhibit of locally grown agricultural produce from partners and participating farms.

The conference concludes today with an ocular visit to the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction in Silang, Cavite to offer participants a first-hand experience on its successful projects.