Agri-tourism proposal gains positive response
Ehda Dagooc (The Freeman) - May 25, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Tourism marketers welcome the Cebu provincial government's move to push for the establishment of an agricultural tourism attraction in Cebu.

Cebu Association of Tour Operators (CATO) president Edilberto Mendoza Jr., said that the proposal to develop farms as tourism attraction in Cebu is highly recommendable.

"We need to revive our agricultural sector, which right now, is not being given a top priority by our government," said Mendoza, reacting to the recent announcement made by Cebu provincial government agriculture consultant Dr. Romulo Davide, saying he will be meeting with Governor-elect Hilario Davide III to discuss the proposal.

Mendoza said this move is timely for Cebu, as the province is suffering from the brunt of urbanization.

Mendoza believes that Cebu has to immediately address certain environmental issues. "We need to balance our priorities."

Based on Romulo Davide's initial proposal, the farms which will be identified as tourism site, are places which offer not only the sight of vegetable, fruits, flower, crops  farms, but there will appropriate complementary facilities, like restaurants, or perhaps swimming pool, where visitors can linger, enjoy and  do more activities like harvesting, options to cook their own harvests, among others.

This move will offer another dimension of "experiential tourism" in Cebu, while demand for nature-based trips is on the rise.

Tourism Congress vice president for Travel and Tour group for Visayas, Alice Queblatin said that this initiative will open up wider possibilities and revenue stream for farmers both in upland and lowland areas.

It is now high time for vegetable, flower growers and other farmers to get a chink of the growing tourism sector in the country, Queblatin said.

Also, it is important for the government to be involved in this kind of projects, as while it offers huge potential for farmers to earn from tourism related revenues, it has to overcome challenges.

In pushing this kind of attraction, Queblatin said the creation of organized and consistent activities should be in place, accessibility should be properly fixed, and farmers should be trained to lead and make interesting activities in their respective farm destination.

Last year, The Cebu City government through the Cebu City Tourism Council (CCTC) started its Cebu highlands tourism development program, capitalizing the rich nature and environment to attract eco-tourism enthusiasts.

CCTC chairperson Tetta B. Baad announced that of the total 80 barangays under the Cebu City jurisdiction, 31 of which are located in the mountains, which have rich nature and environment attractions.

The Cebu City government allocated a total of P13 million for CCTc budget, about P1.3 million will be spent for nature and environment resources development.

Aside from sight-seeing, the package will also introduce adventure events, like horse-back riding, trekking, rappelling, caving, and others.

Baad said the program will initially develop and promote the flower and ornamental gardens, vegetable farms, caves, falls, among other destinations, providing an anchor facility – the two-hectare "Farmer's Market" to be situated in barangay Malubog. (FREEMAN)

JOEY ROMASANTA
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