DOT launches 'It's More Fun in Philippine Farms' to promote farm tourism
MANILA, Philippines – From promoting beaches and other famous sites, the Department of Tourism together with other government agencies launched the It's More Fun in Philippine Farms program on Monday, October 23.
The program aims to bring the spotlight on farm tourism, which is becoming popular among travelers.
Tourism secretary Wanda Teo, AAMBIS-OWA representative Sharon Garin, and senator Cynthia Villar led the unveiling of the program, including the program's symbol.
The symbol of the Farm Tourism program includes the sun and the carabao. pic.twitter.com/st2pMXWvVI— alexa villano (@alexavillano) October 23, 2017
"Throughout history, the Philippines has always been known as an agriculture country. Our traditions abound with reminders of our farming heritage, notably our classic songs 'Bahay Kubo' and 'Magtanim ay di Biro," said tourism undersecretary Frederick Alegre during his opening remarks.
"While 'Bahay Kubo' boast the joys of growing vegetables on your backyard, 'Magtanim ay di Biro' depicts the image of farming as an arduous endeavor," he added, saying that with modernization catching up, it was time to change the image of farming as a backbreaking work.
After the press conference, Alegre told reporters that farm tourism sites already existed in the Philippines but what they needed to do was to identify them.
He also said that they have identified a number of farms that were suitable for tourism but have not been promoted as a destination.
"We now have a chance to promote farms aside from beaches, dive spots, adventure sites. Now, we have farm tourism as part of our menu," Alegre said, adding that farm tourism is becoming very popular in developed countries.
Alegre said that they are now working together with their partners for the funding as well as consult the expertise of the other sectors.
Other activities included the program were: 3 summits in different parts of the country, as well as fairs and the search for the Farm Tourism ambassadors, and the Sunshine Tourism Awards that will honor best practices in farm tourism.
Senator Cynthia Villar, who authored the Farm Tourism Development Act, said that she was happy that the DOT listened for the call to include tourism farms into an activity travelers can enjoy.
"I have seen farm tourism in other countries. It ranges from very nice tourist farms to very simple tourist farms. And I tell the farm owners in the Philippines [that] you can be an very expensive tourist farm, if you have a large capital, you can be a small tourist farm if you have less capital. It's just the same, it's just about being creative," Villar said.
She also said that she was pleased that farm tourism was now getting popular and hoped that this would encourage the youth to study about farming and provide income for the farmers.
Garin, who sponsored the bill at the House of Representatives, said that the program was made possible through the help of the private sector. Like Villar, Garin hoped that the program would encourage more people, especially the youth, to try farming as a way of life.
DOT undersecretary Silvino Tejada will head the program. In a statement, Tejada said that farm tourism will be a good foundation for the tourism industry.
"Agriculture represents the Filipino resiliency and productivity, the same theme showcased in all our ethnic and cultural festivals or fiestas throughout the country. Farm tourism in the Philippines literally means celebration and fun," he said.
Aside from the DOT, representatives from the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the private sector will comprise the interim Farm Tourism Development Board, which will work on the program. – Rappler.com