Nature, farm, faith rolled into one Philippine tourism offering

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MANILA, April 5 (PNA) — A newly-appointed Department of Tourism (DOT) official is looking at harmonising three unique tourism offerings to spur tourist arrivals in the country under the Duterte administration.

“I was given the assignment to take care of ecotourism farm tourism and faith tourism… I would like to link the three sectors to a viable economic foundation for the DOT,” DOT Undersecretary Silvino Tejada said in a press conference.

Since ecotourism has had a head start compared to farm and faith tourism, Tejada said that he has already started meeting regional directors and would eventually want to see the sights personally.

“I want to see exactly what is happening in the ground. I will be visiting all the regional offices after Holy Week and from there I will be able to come up with a concrete plan for faith tourism, agri-tourism and farm tourism rolled into one,” Tejada said.

“It should be harmonise, it is a unique package, a big program for the promotion of tourism industry in the country. My wish is before we reach 2022, the tourism industry will be the lead catalyst of a climate resilient, robust and vibrant tourism industry in the country,” he added.

Aside from meeting regional directors, he has also coordinated with Sen. Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture on proposals to establish farm schools in every town.

“…I was with Sen. Villar last week meeting with her about her thoughts on farm tourism. She is the author of the Farm Tourism Development Act and the chair of the Senate Committee in Agriculture and she instructed me to establish one farm site and one farm school for every town,” Tejada said.

“I will be preparing the plan, endorsing it and hopefully it will be granted. The same strategy will be made when I was still with the Department of Agriculture.

Tejada has previous experience in the agriculture being former director of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management.

“With my experience in the agriculture sector, I won’t have a hard time integrating the agri(culture)sector in the tourism sector,” he said.

To date, he has so far created a Farm Tourism Development Board and eventually contemplate on a Technical Working Group.

Tejado also serves as the permanent official representative of DOT Secretary Wanda Teo to lead Nayong Pilipino Foundation, the National Ecotourism Committee, National Ecotourism Development Council and World Travel and Tourism Council.

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