Agritourism has been building momentum in the Philippines for the last few years, and all the effort of local enterprises is finally being recognized as the country is now one of the top destinations for agritourism in the world.
During the Global Farm Tourism Summit, co-hosted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study & Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), Rose H. Libongco of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association International stated that the Philippines is among the top farm tourism locations in the world given the country's rich natural resources, biodiversity, rich farming heritage, and natural hospitality.
SEARCA is a Laguna-based institution working towards the inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development of Southeast Asia.
According to Libongco, agritourism boosted foreign tourist arrivals from January to May 2018 with 3.177 million agritourism visitors recorded. This is a 10.24 percent increased from the same time period of the previous year.
Notable farm tourism locations in the country include La Union, Laguna, and Davao, due to the abundance of organic farms, nature-friendly farms, and health and wellness farms in these areas, as per Libongco.
Majority of the visitors come from South Korea (22.2 percent), closely followed by Japan (8.68 percent), Canada (3.79 percent), and Taiwan (3.19 percent). As one of the top agritourism destinations in the world, the Philippines joins the likes of other top locations such as Taiwan, Hawaii, Tuscany, Grenada, Mallorca, and Brazil.
Formerly the undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture, the now Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has supported boosting agritourism since taking office. According to Puyat, "Farm tourism sites can only help agriculture," as well as farmers and their communities.
Aside from additional income, agritourism can bring more sustainable and inclusive development to the countryside, as per DOT Assistant Secretary Roberto Alabado III.
According to DOT, there are currently 105 accredited farm tourism sites in the country.