Some 350 participants gathered on Tuesday for the opening rites of the three-day Global Farm Tourism Summit (GFTS) 2018 held at the Raintree Grand Ballroom of Summit Ridge Hotel here from July 17 to 20.
Summit participants include representatives from various local government units (LGUs), private farm owners, academe, world organizations’ members, entrepreneurs and other sectoral representatives from agriculture, tourism and environment from here and abroad.
At the opening ceremony here, Former Tourism Secretary Dr. Mina T. Gabor, current president of the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), spearheaded the Global Farm Tourism Summit aimed at bringing farm tourism in the Southeast Asian region and other regions to new heights.
Gabor said the global event is staged to take advantage of the global trend for healthier and non-traditional forms of travel and experience that promote consciousness on healthy living, as well as led people to rediscover agriculture through farm tourism.
“This ‘first-of-its kind’ event to be hosted by the Philippines will focus, mainly, on climate resiliency, how the climate affects farming which is very timely considering that the Philippines is vulnerable (to climate change),” said ISST head for Business Development Mark Joseph N. Tinao.
Department of Tourism Assistant Secretary for Tourism Development Planning Roberto P. Alabado III said the department fully supports the event since through this summit, “small farm tourism establishments will be capacitated to eventually grow to become major establishments in the future.”
“Our most meaningful thrust in supporting farm tourism is because number one, it is inclusive, anyone can enter, from the poor farmer to the high end land owner, they can develop their own farm tourism,” said Alabado.
He added that agriculture is still the backbone of our economy and inducing the tourism aspect in the sector means inducing development in the regions.
Lourdes Arcasetas, Vice president and Chief Finance Officer of Gintong Bukid Farm and Leisure in Buboy Village, Nagcarlan, Laguna shared she did not want to miss this rare opportunity.
“(This is a rare opportunity) to learn from global experts and leaders their best practices and their success stories, especially on handling issues related to farm tourism,” Arcasetas said.
She also expressed eagerness to hear the latest innovations and technologies, “which will help small businesses like ours compete with the accepted global standards.”
The 3-day summit comprised a 2-day lecture-discussions, panel sessions plus open floor question and answer (Q&A) portion featuring local and international experts from Southeast Asian Nation, New Zealand, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
On its last day, participants will be treated to an experiential learning through a farm visit at the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction in Cavite’s Silang town.
Host province Cavite, represented by former Commission on Higher Education Chairman Dr. Ruperto Sangalang, currently the Special Assistant to Provincial Governor Jesus Crispin Remulla, hopes the activity will address some concerns like the set standards to organize accredited and other existing farm tourism establishments; technology used to showcase them and the ensuing benefits for the marginalized sector.
More than half of the total number of accredited farm tourism establishments are located in the Calabarzon region comprising Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon. (PNA)
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