SEARCA pushes PH as top agritourism site

  • 2 May 2019

Source: The Manila Times
2 May 2019

The country is now among the top agritourism destinations in the world, with foreign visitors to farm tourism sites hitting an all-time high of 732,506 in a single month in 2018.

Rose Libongco of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association Inc. said during a Global Farm Tourism Summit co-hosted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) that the Philippines was now among the top agritourism destinations in the world.

"SEARCA has supported farm tourism promotion in the country as the sector creates multiple revenue streams for farmers, improving profitability of small and medium enterprises," SEARCA said in a statement.

Other top agritourism destinations include Taiwan, Hawaii, Tuscany, Grenada, Mallorca, California and Brazil.

The Philippines, according to Libongco, is highly suitable as an agritourism destination because of the following factors: It is an agricultural tropical country rich in natural resources and biodiversity; its farming heritage is reflected in folk songs such as "Bahay Kubo"; and Filipinos have innate hospitality and openness.

To market Filipino farm tourism sites more known, Libongco advised farm owners to put up websites.

"Online availability is important in this social media era. People will find you first online. Online websites establish your credibility as a business," she said.

Local government units have also started promoting agritourism, recognizing its contribution to job creation.

La Union Gov. Francisco Emmanuel Pacoy Ortega 3rd said during the SEARCA-organized summit that the province has 23 farm tourism sites including grape farms in Bauang and family farms, including Rocapor's Farm and Fer-gie Navarro Farm, which is a certified Good Agricultural Practice vegetable farm. Other agritourism sites in La Union include Lomboy Farm and Lotus Farm.

In Laguna, the Villa Socorro Farm is an agri-eco village that adopts best green business practices and is a participant to the Global Green Growth Institute.

Meanwhile, the Malagos Farm in Davao started with a durian and coffee farm in Tagakpan. This was followed by growing lanzones, pomelo and orchids in Cabantian. It constructed in 1994 a small restaurant and swimming pool and in 1997, it started offering overnight accommodations and resort facilities.