The Department of Tourism (DOT) will team up with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to promote farm tourism and help the country’s tourism industry recover from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The partnership with FAO – which leads efforts to achieve food security and fight world hunger and malnutrition —  intends to make farm tourism in select areas of the country more sustainable and adaptable.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said a DOT team would meet with FAO to finalize details of the program.

“By working with FAO, the DOT aims to link farm tourism to sustainable agricultural practices.”

“By working with FAO, the DOT aims to link farm tourism to sustainable agricultural practices. The objective is to equip our farm workers and fisherfolk with the skills and infrastructure support they need to survive these hard times,” Romulo-Puyat said.

Farm tourism is a concept which combines tourism and agriculture by drawing visitors to the farms to experience unique agriculture activities like harvesting agricultural produce, feeding and raising animals, fishing, camping, hiking and even sampling the local cuisine.

“In spite of the pandemic, farm tourism is an important pillar for employment.”

The tourism chief added that in spite of the pandemic, farm tourism is an “important pillar for employment” and still holds huge potentials to provide food sufficiency and additional income for farmers and fisherfolk.

The three-year pilot program stipulated in the recently signed memorandum of understanding between the DOT and FAO will have three areas of focus. They are:

— Enhancing complementation between tourism and agricultural programming in the country;

— The provision of technical support on capacity building, research and development, marketing and advocacy, and technological development to promote farm tourism development; and

— The conduct of pilot activities in select farm tourism sites.

“This partnership with the DOT will truly ignite the development and the recovery of the tourism and agriculture sectors in the Philippines, which were both heavily devastated by the prevailing pandemic,” said Ms. Xiangjun Yao, interim representative of FAO to the Philippines.

The tourism head and Yao signed the memorandum during the first National Farm Tourism Online Summit on June 16, 2020.


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