3 agencies work to set up agri-tourism in Bohol-A A +A
Sunday, January 13, 2013
THREE government agencies are set to work closely in the promotion of Bohol as an agriculture-tourism destination, Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 Director Rowena Montecillo said.
Bohol, specifically the Abatan River, is among the four pilot areas chosen to be promoted as one of the country’s agri-tourism destinations, Montecillo said. Other identified pilot areas are Camarines Sur, Davao and Palawan.
Agencies like the DOT, Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will work together in funding pilot areas in terms of agriculture, trade and tourism development.
According to Montecillo, the project has already been approved by President Benigno Aquino III and is due for official signing in February.
The agri-tourism project is supported by Senator Francis Pangilinan. Montecillo said the senator will allocate P5 million per province to jumpstart the project.
The 13.5 kilometer Abatan River, was chosen to be the pilot area in the Bohol as it already covers five municipalities - Cortes, Maribojoc, Antequera, Balilihan and Catigbian.
Abatan River is the main drainage system of the Abatan Watershed and one of the three major rivers of Bohol.
Montecillo said the agri-tourism project is well-suited for the Abatan River given the potential of the area as one of Bohol’s tourism drivers. She told reporters that Bohol Governor Eduardo Chatto shared the sentiment, saying agri-tourism promotion in the area will not only help increase tourism revenues of Bohol but it also help in sustaining the livelihood of small communities and farmers living there.
The five municipalities are known for its Ubi-Kinampay, wine making, rice production and other high-value crops and vegetables.
Montecillo said the DOT will handle the promotion of tourism activities while DA will help in identifying the best product or crop to sell to tourists and DTI will help in branding and packaging of the products.
A showroom will be set up per municipality.
In 2010, The DOT and the local government of Bohol launched the Abatan River Community Life Tour as a new eco-cultural tourism attraction in Bohol in addition to established tourism products like Chocolate Hills, Loboc River, its pristine beaches and historic landmarks.
Tourist can tour the Abatan River on board native boats called bantong for three to five hours. Each of the towns has a cultural dance and theater group that presents a production number at each stop. The towns also have village centers where they showcase their best produce as pasalubong.
Montecillo said the DOT is pushing for the enhancement of the daytour as well as making the products available to tourists. The department is also working closely with the Department of Public Works and Highways in upgrading the road infrastructure in the area.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 14, 2013.