DOT eyes farm, eco-tourism for inclusive, sustainable dev't
THE DEPARTMENT of Tourism (DOT) is setting its sights on the development of farm and eco-tourism sites in the region to provide income for small farmers and Indigenous Peoples (IP).
“The tourism industry provides great opportunities for diversification of income for small-scale farmers and IP organizations,” DOT Undersecretary Marco Bautista said in an interview with the media on the sidelines of the 21st year celebration of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997.
Bautista, a native of Abra province, said farm and eco-tourism open up a new perspective of livelihood, especially for IP groups, towards an inclusive and sustainable economic development.
He lamented that despite its bountiful natural resources and diverse cultures, the Philippines still lags behind its neighboring countries in terms of farm and eco-tourism sites.
Bautista said the Cordillera region is rich in natural resources that can be used to the fullest.
“Farm and eco-tourism are very important here in the region, since Cordillera has a lot of natural resources, especially for the IP community, who are the ones who will
really benefit from this,” he explained. "This is why we envision farm tourism as a community rejuvenation. This is what we are pushing for, really beneficial for the IP community."
Bautista said the convergence program among the DOT, Department of Agriculture, and local government units should be intensified so that IP communities and small farmers would help develop the agritourism program.
In the past years, he said, the DOT and the Department of Public Works and Highways had been implementing the tourism-road convergence project, constructing a tourism road network that leads to tourism sites in the various localities, including barangays with tourist spots.
Earlier, Senator Cynthia Villar encouraged farmers in the region to venture into farm tourism, as this would benefit them hugely, such as in terms of higher income and free education, and ultimately give the country food security.
The DOT-Cordillera has acquainted high.