THE Department of Tourism-Cordillera is planning to develop La Trinidad in Benguet as a premiere agro-tourist destination of the north.

DOT-CAR regional director Marie Venus Tan said the potential of the capital town of Benguet turned into an agriculture-based tourist destination is being planned.

"La Trinidad is already ripe for farm tourism. Based on our observation and research this is the best way to market the town for tourist and this is what the regional DOT office wants to do in the following years," Tan said.

Tan added the DOT-CAR envisions the Valley to take advantage of its existing agricultural riches as a character appeal for sightseers in both domestic and international market.

The tourism director said if the municipality will be able to improve its diverse agricultural forms, the Valley can boost its economy with the influx of visitors.

"We want La Trinidad to be the first in the Cordilleras for this agro-tourism development," Tan emphasized.

Presently, La Trinidad takes pride as the strawberry capital of the region and has also among the largest plantation of coffee and vegetable farms, not to mention the vast flower farms which supply most of the areas in the country.

According to Tan, the plan will again be followed up in the next few months for possible application of accreditation to the central office of the DOT.

"We will soon apply for an accreditation from the central office, if approved then this will become an additional tourism pool for La Trinidad," Tan quipped.

Among the DOT accredited agro-tourism spots in the Philippines is the Costales Farm in Laguna.

Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Bayan has agreed to the proposal of the DOT regional director.

Committee on Agriculture chair Councilor Renato Tereng said he will ensure the council will spearhead the development of the DOT's plan.

Tereng added the Valley will provide necessary communications to the legislative office of La Trinidad including other provincial officials to push through with the plan.

In July 2015, former president Benigno Aquino III signed Republic Act 10816, an act providing for the development and promotion of farm tourism in the Philippines.

The law seeks to promote environment-friendly, efficient and sustainable farm practices; provide alternative recreation facilities and farm tourism activities for families, students and other clientele; and promote health and wellness with high-quality farm-produced food.