Sunday, March 10, 2024

Bohol confab marks resurgence of farm tourism | Beautiful Life

Kinaiyahan Nature Farms in Bilar


The country’s farm tourism industry has bounced back from its slump with the holding of the 7th Philippine Farm Tourism Conference in the resort island of Panglao, Bohol. 

Organized by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), the event was supported by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and the Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport).

Loboc Children's Choir

Returning after a five-year pandemic hiatus, the conference gathered a powerhouse lineup of speakers, namely Department of Tourism undersecretary Mae Elaine Bathan, Philexport president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., BFAR national director Demosthenes Escoto, and Sen. Mark Villar, who all pledged to strengthen their support to farm tourism.

Provincial executives led by governor Erico Aristotle Aumentado and first district congressman Edgar Chatto welcomed the delegates and expressed appreciation for the opportunity to put the spotlight on Bohol’s other tourism gems. The island province was named by the Unesco as a Global Geopark in 2023 in recognition of its rich terrestrial and marine biodiversity.

Bohol Farms in Dauis

According to ISST president Mina Gabor, the 2-day confab highlighted the cultivation of fruit and vegetable farms, aquaculture and artisanal fisheries, and green investments.

The former tourism chief noted that the confab gathered over 200 delegates from local government units, farm sites, and tourism advocates, as well as the BFAR regional directors and Philexport local chapter heads who explored the prospects of aquaculture and exports.

The event included useful lectures on sustainable farm-to-table concept, processing fruits and vegetables, right marketing and revenue, value-added benefits of artisanal fisheries, reviving the country’s multi–million seaweeds industry, and the prospects of pompano fish aquaculture.

The conference also conferred the fourth batch of the prestigious Lakbay Bukid Awards to five individuals and organizations which have contributed to the growth of farm tourism in Asian.

Lakbay Bukid Awardees

With a US$ 1,000 cash prize from the family of the late tourism stalwart Bobby Joseph, awardees included Francis Joseph Perdigon of Perdigon Farms in Butuan City; Dr. I Wayan Alit Artha Wiguna of Cau Chocolates of Bali, Indonesia; Tan Inong Manufacturers represented by Veronica Salupan, Borneo Eco Tours of Sabah, Malaysia headed by Albert Teo Chin Kion, and Malagos Agri-Ventures Corp. of Davao City represented by managing director Rex Puentespina.

Complementing the learning sessions were a trade fair featuring Bohol’s agri-based produce and and a post-conference tours to farm tourism sites which are the latest additions to Bohol’s long list of natural wonders.

The event is also backed by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, the Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, the Department of Trade and Industry, with the Philippine Airlines as official carrier.

Next year’s Philippine Farm Tourism Conference will be hosted by Gen. Santos City, which will showcase its tuna and fisheries industry and the Soccsksargen Region’s growing farm tourism sector.