First-ever Global Farm Tourism Summit held in Cavite

Themed “Managing Climate Risks through Sustainable Farm Tourism,” the first Global Farm Tourism Summit was successfully held last July 17 to 19, 2018 at Summit Ridge Hotel, Tagaytay City, co-presented by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), Department of Tourism (DOT), and Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). About 350 participants consisting of world organizations’ members, local government units, farm owners, entrepreneurs, and sectoral representatives from agriculture, tourism, and environment from here and abroad gathered for the 3-day event.

Gracing the opening ceremonies were former CHED Commissioner and current Special Assistant to Cavite Governor, Dr. Ruperto Sangalang, ISST President Mina Gabor, SEARCA Director Gil Saguiguit, and DOT Assistant Secretary for Tourism Development Planning Roberto Abalado III.

Dr. Sangalang, in his welcome remarks on behalf of Cavite Governor Jesus Crispin C. Remulla, said that Cavite is proud to have been chosen as venue for the summit and mentioned that the province is indeed “establishing quality farm tourism programs and hopefully we can learn more through this kind of activity and address some concerns on the set standards to organize and accredit existing farm tourism establishments.”

Dr. Gabor said that “the global event is staged to take advantage of the global trend for healthier and non-traditional forms of travel and experience that promote consciousness on healthy living, as well as lead people to rediscover agriculture though farm tourism.”

The Department of Tourism fully supports the event since though this, “small farm tourism establishments will be capacitated to eventually grow to become major tourism establishments in the future,” said DOT Asst. Sec. Abalado III. “Our most meaningful thrust in supporting farm tourism is because, number one, it is inclusive, anyone can enter, from the poor farmer to the high-end land owner, they can develop their own farm tourism,” he added.

The 2-day conference included lecture-discussions, panel sessions, open floor Q & A on topics such as, Sustainable Practices and Opportunities in Farm Tourism, Climate-Smart Farm Tourism, Organic Farming, Unique Farm Stay Experience, Empowering Local Government Units for Farm tourism, and Best Practices of Farm Tourism Country Models. Experts from New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asian Nations, and of course, from our country’s local and private sectors on agriculture and tourism, shared new trends, techniques, experiences, and best practices in establishing and developing marketing tool, adaptation and resiliency plan, and strategic guides for sustainable farm tourism in this time of climate change.

On its last day, participants were brought to visit the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) in Silang, Cavite for an experiential learning on farming. (Karen C. de Lara)