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Iloilo’s provincial board takes on the development of farm tourism

A proposed ordinance to promote and enhance farm tourism in Iloilo is currently being discussed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of that city in an effort to boost local revenue, strengthen the local economy, and create jobs.

The proposed ordinance’s author, Board Member Jason Gonzales, stated on Thursday that farm tourism is a developing trend around the world and will have a significant influence if it is expanded, particularly since Iloilo is an agricultural province.

“The salient parts of the ordinance first is to assist, guide and direct the growth of the farm tourism industry in the province of Iloilo and we will do that by convening the relevant stakeholders both public and private sector actors, and then develop the strategy for the industry, and then finally provide financial support,” he said in an interview.

Gonzales stated that a committee will be established to monitor the growth of farm tourism, investigate the sector overall, and decide how they may be helped.

Also, recognized farm tourism destinations will receive direct financial assistance in the form of cash incentives.

Gonzales stated that they will be requesting at least PHP500,000 annually from the provincial government and that if the ordinance is adopted, support will likely be given to five farm tourist destinations this year.

There are currently 12 accredited farm tourism sites in Iloilo, but they cannot be solely categorized as farm tourism locations because they are also recognized for their resorts.

According to the ordinance, which was approved on second reading during the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s regular session on Tuesday, the committee made up of stakeholders in agriculture and tourism will oversee accreditation.

The Internal Rules and Regulations will define farm tourism’s scope, but in general, it aims to provide visitors—even residents—the experience of being on a farm. We provide experiences similar to those one would typically have on a working farm, the board member continued.

According to Gonzales, the industry “possibly offers the possibility of providing jobs” and contributing to the local government’s and province’s overall economies.

The SP regular session is anticipated to ratify the ordinance on the last reading next week.

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