LAGAWE, Ifugao – Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Marie Puyat urged the province to invest in farm tourism aside from eco-tourism.
In her message during the Gotad ad Ifugao read by DOT – Cordillera Regional Director Venus Marie Tan, Puyat proposed for Ifugao to explore the potentials of farm tourism that could be developed in all the municipalities.
“This farm tourism or the fusion of agriculture and tourism is one program that is closest to my heart as I have worked before with the agriculture sector and am now within the realms of the tourism sector,” she stated.
When properly harnessed, it could serve as one of the keys to regional development since the fusion of tourism and agriculture will benefit both sectors as it will boost the regional economy by improving the income and potential economic viability of small farms and rural communities, she added.
The DOT official stressed that farm tourism in the Philippines is being developed as relatively new tourism product with the aim of not only attracting travelers but also helping local farmers diversify and supplement their agricultural income.
“Although it is still far from being a major contributor to over-all 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,” she said.
She pointed out that as the province of Ifugao meets the challenges of farm tourism and sustainable tourism practices, there are three pillars of thought to be emphasized like looking at the opportunities posed by the ASEAN integration, continue improving the tourism manpower and slow food and slow travel in the Cordilleras particularly in Ifugao.
Puyat shared that when appointed to take charge of the DOT, she was ordered to make the gains of tourism very inclusive for all sectors of the society that everybody especially the poor and the underprivileged should also benefit from the high growth of tourism industry in the country.
By: JDP/MBL- PIA CAR, Ifugao