NAGA CITY – The expected easing of restrictions following the IATFs approval of Alert Level 2 for Naga City, Camarines Sur and the rest of Bicol except Catanduanes foretells a favorable outlook for the agri-tourism industry.

The regional directors of the three national government agencies that collaborated during the second Agri-Tourism Summit – Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Tourism (DOT), and TESDA shared this sentiment of Naga City Mayor Nelson Legacion.

Mayor Legacion applauded the agencies behind the summit which he said “gave the key players in agri-tourism and business the innovative avenue to discuss new opportunities for growth especially in these challenging times.”

The two-day summit held in Naga City on November 16-17, 2021 was attended by the owners/managers of 20 selected farms or Learning Sites accredited by the DA- Agricultural Training Institute (ATI)DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla cited RA 10816, or the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016 which was authored by Senator Cynthia Villar. The said Act mandated the DA, DOT and TESDA to develop the agri-tourism industry. He pledged his support to agri-tourism sites aiming to be accredited as Learning Sites in Agriculture by the DA- Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) and as farm tourism camps by the DOT. “The first Agri-Tourism Summit in Bicol was held in Catanduanes where the participants decided to organize themselves into “KATROPA”. I hope this will inspire you to do the same. Hindi kayo dapat magkompetensiya, bagkos ay magtulungan, dahil pagkatapos nitong pandemic, kailangang ibangon natin ang agrikultura at turismo para sa paglago ng ekonomiya ng Pilipinas,” RED Tornilla enthused.

Herbie Aguas, Regional Director of DOT said that tourism is one of the sectors that suffered under the COVID-19 pandemic and he is glad that Bicol provinces are starting to open up for tourism.

Elsa Parot, Center Director of the ATI urged the farm owners to make farm tourism both a science and art. “Dati ang tourism ay doon lang sa may waterfalls, Mayon volcano, ngayon nakita natin na pwede din pala sa turismo ang farms promoting clean, healthy and safe green revolution,” Director Parot added.There are 95 LSA in Bicol, 6 Schools for Practical Agriculture, and 1 Extension Service Provider – the Carmel Agri Learning Farm in Pili, Camarines Sur. Representatives from ATI – Dr. Joey Belarmino, from TESDA – Pebbe Ann Yanto and DOT – Siegfred Nebres, discussed their programs and interventions for farm tourism respectively. The group visited the Sonrisa Farm in Magarao and Nesting Place in Calabanga on the second day of the Summit.

The farm owners clamored for a local Tourism Officer in every LGU to assist in the development of farms into tourism destinations. (Lovella P. Guarin / DA-RAFIS 5)(Photo credits: Eduardo Collantes Jr and Hermito Antonio Privaldos)