September 25, 2019, Makati City — Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo—Puyat cited farm tourism as a catalyst for sustainable tourism and inclusive development, now all the more strengthened with the release of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10816 titled “Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016.”
In her keynote address during the Farm Tourism Summit held this week, the tourism chief stressed the pivotal role of Farm tourism, a priority under Puyat’s administration.
“We at the DOT are looking forward to Farm Tourism to serve as a catalyst for greater sustainability; we know that we can now pursue it properly, guided by the IRR. Farm Tourism holds the promise of food sufficiency and additional income for our tourism stakeholders, including farmers, farmworkers, and fisherfolk. After all, gainful employment, enhanced productivity and sustainable livelihoods are what tourism is really all about,” said Puyat.
The Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016, the brainchild of Senator Cynthia A. Villar and AMMBIS—OWA Representative Sharon S. Garin, will provide the policy and enabling environment for the encouragement, development, and promotion of farm tourism in the country; and recognize the importance of agriculture in making available food and other products necessary to sustain and enhance human life, and in providing livelihood to a major portion of the population.
The DOT has accredited 174 Farm Tourism sites across the country, 31 of which are in CALABARZON (Region IV-A). Puyat expects the numbers will continue to rise as the demand for “low—impact tourism” increases with the completion of the Farm Tourism Strategic Action Plan (FTSAP) this year.
“Farm Tourism capitalizes on two of our competitive advantages: agriculture, as 41.7 percent of the total land area in the country is devoted to farming as of 2016 according to the World Bank, employing 23.5 % of the Filipino workforce (as of July 2019), and the world-renowned Filipino brand of hospitality that brought 7.1 million foreign visitors to the country last year,” added Puyat.
This year, the FTDB is expected to be fully installed along with the appointment of private sector representatives. A National Farm Tourism Association will likewise be organized to unify farm tourism establishment efforts in addressing issues and to facilitate the implementation of the FTSAP. The summit will also be replicated in the Visayas and Mindanao regions where the majority of the farm tourism sites are.
Meanwhile, Kain Na! and PH Harvest, Secretary Puyat’s banner programs on food tourism will continue to be undertaken as auxiliary programs to support farm tourism.