The Department of Tourism and the International School of Sustainable Tourism have feted the country’s farm tourism pioneers through the Lakbay Bukid Awards in the recent 5th Farm Tourism Conference and Festival.
The prestigious annual award is given to individuals, institutions and groups who have made significant contributions to the development of the Philippines’s farm tourism industry.
This year’s awardees are AAMBIS-OWA party-list Rep. Sharon Garin, who co-authored the Farm Tourism Act of 2016 (Republic Act 10816); Lomboy Farms proprietor and “Grape King” Avelino Lomboy; Refmad Farms and “Dragonfruit Queen” Edith Dacuycuy, and DOT region director for Calabarzon Rebecca Labit, who has the most number of accredited farm tourism sites under her jurisdiction.
Held in Iloilo City, the confab was themed “Improving Farm Tourism through Enrichment of Local Products and Culture” and focused on the growing country’s farm tourism sector as driver of inclusive economic growth.
Attended by agricultural entrepreneurs, local authorities and tourism officials, the three-day conference focused on the unique fusion of farming and tourism that empowers local communities, provide diversified income for farmers, and encourage sustainable practices for food security.
This year’s edition highlighted coffee culture, fisheries and aquaculture, urban farming, successful farm tourism sites in India and Taiwan, as well as visits to farm resorts in Iloilo province.
The event was supported by the Tourism Promotions Board, Province of Iloilo, City of Iloilo, and the Department of Agriculture, Petron Corp., Philippine Airlines, Land Bank of the Philippines, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, Automobile Association of the Philippines, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Central Philippine University, and the John B. Lacson Maritime University.