April 20, 2018, 1:27 am
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1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
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PH to hold Global Farm Tourism Summit in July

The Philippines will hold the Global Farm Tourism Summit (GFTS) in July as part of an aim to seize a portion of the 1 billion tourist market 30 percent of which look for “nature tourism” that can well be found on the country’s 12 new Calabarzon integrated tourist sites.

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) is tying up with the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) to jointly organize two landmark international conferences on farm tourism.

The first is the GFTS in July, 2018. The second is the Asia Women Leaders Meet (AWLM) in December 4-6, 2018.

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 the Department of Tourism (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 Gabor, now ISST president.

Since small farmers need to have numerous income stream in order to become globally competitive in light of Asean integration, farm tourism will be a key to helping lift farmers out of poverty, according to SEARCA Director Dr. Gil 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.

The conferences must also boost tourist arrivals to Philippines’12 integrated sites in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) that have been organized by a multi-sectoral group. 

These 12 ecotourism sites 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.

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 AWLM is planned as an annual event that will have a different theme each year. The first of the series will be held on 4-6 December 2018 with the theme “The Role of Women in Community-based Tourism.”

Twelve eco-tourism sites have also been identified for promotion by DOT. Farm sites will be integrated into these eco-tourism sites. Instead of having separate, isolated destinations, the sites can lure  more tourists and help boost farmers’income and stir up rural economic activity.

The farm ecotourism sites will be promoted by the DOT in a way that will maximize use of resources through integration, according to Rebecca Villanueva-Labit, DOT Regional Director Region 4-A.

“The envisioned integration of tourism and farming allows more efficient resource utilization which can provide jobs, increase income, business opportunities, and reduce urban migration,”  Labit said in an earlier farm tourism workshop organized by SEARCA.

SEARCA has pushed 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.

“Farm tourism has the potential to sustain agricultural practices due to a steady stream of income that is less dependent on weather, markets, pests, or diseases.” said Labit.

The following farms will be integrated into group destinations:

Kaharian Farm, Lipa, Batangas; Forest Wood Garden, San Pablo City, Laguna; Ato Belen’s Farm, San Pablo City, Laguna; Costales Nature Farms, Majayjay, Laguna; Flor’s Garden & Nature Haven Inc., Antipolo City, Rizal; Teofely Nature Farms, Silang, Cavite; Domingo Permafarms, Antipolo City; Chad’s Nature Farm, Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas; Nurture Farmacy, Amadeo, Cavite; Terra Verde Ecofarm, Maragondon, Cavite; Moca Family Farm, Padre Garcia, Batanags; and Graco Farms, Pila, Laguna.

After  finding gaps, DOT is also now supporting farm tourism small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in promoting tourist arrivals.  These include arranging business-to-business missions, attendance in travel missions and expositions, training programs, and networking.

The following nature sites in CALABARZON will  be integrated into farm tourism packages:

Pansipti River & Volcano, Island Bird Sanctuary, San Nicolas, Batangas; Masungi Karst, Tanay, Rizal; Mt Makiling Forest Reserve, Los Banos, Laguna; Tayak Adventure, Nature & Wildlife Park, Rizal, Laguna; Lobo Agri-ecotourism Sites, Lobo, Batangas; Cagbalete Old Mangroves, Mauban, Quezon; Quezon Protected Landscape, Atimonan, Quezon; Macatad Ecotourism Site, Siniloan, Laguna; Mt. Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal; Cardona Rock Garden in Rizal; Pamitinan Protected Landscape, Rodriguez, Rizal; and Kilangin Falls, Liliw, Laguna.

The following pilgrimage sites, dive and marine tourism, sports and recreation sites; and sun and beach tourism will likewise be grouped with farm tourism sites.

The pilgrimage sites are Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours, Taal, Batangas; Marian Orchard, Balete, Batangas; Regina Rosario Institute for Contemplation in Asia; Tanay, Rizal; Tayak Nature, Adventure & Wildlife Park, Rizal, Laguna; Kamay ni Jesus Shrine, Lucban, Quezon; and Padre Pio National Shrine, Sto Tomas, Batangas.

The dive sites are the Diving, Snorkeling, & Macrophotography Tour in Anilao, Mabini, Batangas; Republiq Waterpark, Nuvali, Santa Rosa, Laguna; Lago de Oro, Calatagan, Batangas; Windsurfing & Skimboarding, Lake Caliraya, Cavinti, Laguna; Flowboarding, Bacoor, Cavite; Rock Balancing, Daranak Falls &Daraitan River, Tanay, Rizal; Verde Island Passage, Batangas City, Batangas; and Hot Spring Resorts, Panso Calamba City, Laguna.
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