Villar promotes PHL as an agri-tourism destination at China-ASEAN Expo

Sen. Cynthia Villar promoted the Philippines as an agri-tourism destination as she led the Philippine delegation at the China- ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) held in Nanning, Guangxi, China.

The Philippines' theme this year is agri-tourism supplementing the bid to promote the Philippines as a destination of choice for agri-tourism. The theme is anchored on "Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016", enacted into law as Republic Act 10816 last May.

Villar as then chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, authored and principally sponsored the said law.

"The Philippines is blessed with abundant natural resources, biological diversity and cultural heritage. Our country has what it takes to take a strong lead in agri or farm tourism, that is the main motivation for me, my fellow legislators and industry stakeholders to put in place an enabling law that improve the industry standards, professionalize the industry players and boost the growth of the industry," Villar said in her speech at the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center.

Villar noted that the key essence of the Farm Tourism Development Law is that the Philippine government "recognizes that tourism, coupled with agriculture extension services, can disseminate the value of agriculture in the economic and cultural development of the country, serve as a catalyst for the development of agriculture and fishery communities, and provide additional income for Filipino farmers, farm workers, and fisherfolk."

Under the law, the formulation and implementation of the Farm Tourism Strategic Action Plan will put in place a "comprehensive set of programs, projects and activities for the growth of farm tourism in the country".

Villar said the country's participation in the CAExpo is an ideal opportunity to promote what the Philippines can offer in agri-tourism. The number of farm tourism sites and destination is expected to increase since the law encourages the establishment of at least one farm tourism camp in every province in the Philippines.

"We invite you to visit the Philippines and check out our farm tourism sites, both as a tourist and as a businessman or investor. The timing of your next visit could not have been more perfect since agri-tourism is now considered a sunshine industry and with the new law in place, the opportunities and possibilities will become even more exciting in the next few years," Villar added.

The Philippine Pavilion at the CAExpo features the Authority Freeport Area of Bataan, Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority, and General Santos City as the Philippines' City of Charm 2016. Also on display are the top products of 28 Filipino companies.

Held from September 11 to 14, CAExpo is China's second-biggest international trade event with 4,600 display booths that attract some 57,000 participants. It is the only fair dedicated to the promotion of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area for regional trade and economic cooperation.

The Philippine contingent are composed of 28 Filipino companies, General Santos City Government, investment promotion agencies and almost 100 delegates from the private and government sectors.

Source: Philippine Information Agency

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