Cebu is synonymous to Sinulog Festival, Spanish-era houses and churches, its finger-licking lechon and seafood, and powdery beaches, among others.
This November, the Queen City of the South will unveil a different facet as it hosts the 6th Farm Tourism Conference which will gather the country’s leading practitioners and stakeholders in the sunshine industry.
Set at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel on Nov. 6-8, the event is hosted by the City Government of Cebu, the confab is co-organized by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) and the Cebu Alliance of Tour Operations Specialist, Inc. (CATOS), with the support of the Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Agriculture (DA), and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
According to ISST president Mina Gabor, the conference will focus on the unique fusion of farming and tourism which helps empower local communities, provide diversified income for farmers, and encourage sustainable practices for food security.
“Farm Tourism attracts visitors and travelers to farm areas, generally for educational and recreational purposes that encourage economic activity to provide farm and community income. It is one of the country’s sunshine industries which can be developed because of the agricultural nature of the economy,” she said.
The former tourism secretary pointed out that the conference will emphasize the vital role of strengthening communities in initiating and sustaining farm tourism efforts in the countryside.
Former President and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, DA Secretary William Dar, and Senator Cynthia Villar, author of the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016, will deliver keynote messages.
Resource persons include ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity executive director Theresa Mundita Lim, Board of Landscape Architecture chairman Paolo Alcazaren, Arslan SRS Philippines chief executive officer Augustus Caesar Esmeralda, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture director Gil Saguiguit Jr., Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, DownToEarth Farm Shop and Café president Nicolo Aberasturi, and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources director Eduardo Gongona.
Meanwhile, Bolo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association vice president Jomelyn Delos Reyes and Cebu Pacific Director for Corporate Communications Charo Lagamon will talk on the importance of public-private partnership
Moreover, success stories in Asia will be shared by India’s Agri Tourism Development Company managing director Pandurang Taware, and Charinee Chaiyochlarb of Mini Murrah Farm in Thailand.
Gabor added that the event will also accord the Lakbay Bukid Award or Farm Tourism Award to the country’s foremost farm tourism pioneers, practitioners, institutions, and groups who have contributed significantly to the development of the industry.
Now on its third year, the award has been opened to Asian farm tourism establishments, the first of its kind in the continent.
The three-day event will also have an exhibition area for fresh and organically-grown agricultural produce and a host of healthy food items from local entrepreneurs.
There will also be site visits on leading farm tourism spots in Cebu’s upland barangays such as Sirao Flower Farm, Jaime Chua’s Orchid Farm, and Adlawon Vacation Farm.
Cebu City was chosen as the confab’s venue because of its strategic location in the southern Philippines and its farm tourism sites in the upland villages. The event will also serve as a buildup to the 500th anniversary of Christianity in 2021 where the city will play a central role.
For details, contact (02) 832-0996, 834-2994 or 0917-1868766, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow ISST Philippines on Facebook.