Spotlight on farm tourism

BEYOND Cebu’s pristine beaches and dive spots, there are many attractions that are worth exploring.

Some of these are Cebu’s farms.

Cebu Alliance of Tour Operations Specialists (Catos) president Alice Queblatin promised they would “heavily promote” the farm destinations in Cebu to capture the growing market of tourists who are farm enthusiasts.

Queblatin said farm sites in Cebu would be one of the highlights in the upcoming three-day travel expo starting on Feb. 15 at the Ayala Center Cebu, alongside the province’s showcase of new and improved eco and adventure tourism products.

According to the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7, Central Visayas already has five accredited farm tourism sites, with one located in Cebu managed by the Lamac Multi-purpose Cooperative.

There is also one accredited farm site each in Siquijor and Bohol, and two in Negros Oriental.

Farm tourism is the business of attracting visitors and travelers to farm areas, generally for educational and recreational purposes, that encourages economic activity and can provide both farm and community income.

Queblatin said the group’s promise to offer a farm experience to foreign tourists is a strategy to lengthen the guest’s stay in the province.

She said the group’s promotion of farm tourism also coincides with the thrusts of the DOT that highlight farm tourism as the new bright spot in the industry.

Former tourism secretary Mina Gabor said 30 percent of tourists were interested in nature or eco-tourism and the Philippines, being an agricultural country, can take advantage of this.

“As another type of tourism, it will open opportunities for upland, lowland farmers and vegetable growers, and get a crack into the tourism industry,” said Queblatin in previous interviews.

She, however, noted challenges to push this kind of attraction: the creation of organized and consistent activities, accessibility, and lack of trained farmers to lead and make interesting activities around the area. (KOC)


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