Friday, June 17, 2016

Farm Tourism: A New Boon for Phil. Agriculture

Farm tourism in the Philippines is being developed as a relatively new tourism product with the aim of not only attracting travellers but also helping local farmers diversify and supplement their agricultural income.

Although it  is still far from being a major contributor to overall tourism receipts, farm tourism aims to supplement the business model of farmers and explore new ways of generating income through tour packages that include planting, harvesting and creating value added products.

According to the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST),  the distance between the production and consumption of farm products gets closer to the market, consumers’ interest on how crops are produced are also being heightened.

Similar to ecotourism, farm tourism focuses on travel that is low-impact and empowers local communities socially and economically.

ISST president Mina Gabor said “ farm tourism attracts visitors and travellers to farm areas, generally for educational and recreational purposes that encourage economic activity and provide income to the community.

“It is one of the country’s sunshine industries which can be developed because of the agricultural nature of the economy,…It augments the farmers’ income when an activity in an area is used or visited by foreign or local tourists, “Gabor said.

She added that farm tourism encourages the younger generation to eventually venture into farming, which has been stereotyped as a low-level kind of job.

Farm tourism mainstreamed in 2012 starting with a single Department of Tourism accredited vegetable farm, Costales Nature Farm in Laguna and now has more than 100 accredited establishments nationwide, majority of which are located in Luzon.

Farm tourism is under the umbrella of nature tourism that holds around 20 to 30 percent of the overall tourism market in the country. On an average, a day tour covering three farms costs approximately P3,500.

Gabor, a former Tourism secretary,  is urging the incoming Tourism secretary to accredit more farms and include farm tours in travel packages  they promote.

“They need to give guests some farm experience. This is a new product for tourism and it facilitates more job generation,” she added.

The ISST contributes to the industry through training small and medium farms on how to create value added in their produce, improve the standards of farming, as well as marketing and promoting their products to a larger market.

It is hosting the 4th Farm Tourism Conference and Farm Tourism Market Festival on July 14-16 in Tagaytay City.

The conference aims to support and raise awareness on sustainable farm tourism activities, assist in marketing farm tourist destinations, highlight sustainable crops, and promote farm stays.


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The Mail Man

Author & Editor - The Philippines' Web Magazine on Agriculture.

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