The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Iloilo is now deliberating on a proposed ordinance to promote and develop farm tourism in Iloilo to increase local revenue, boost the local economy and generate jobs.
Board Member Jason Gonzales, who authored the proposed ordinance, on Thursday said farm tourism is a growing global trend and will create a big impact if developed, especially since Iloilo is an agricultural province.
“The salient parts of the ordinance first is to assist, guide and direct the growth of 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 added that a committee will be created to oversee the development of farm tourism, look into the industry as a whole and determine how they can be assisted.
Direct financial support in the form of cash incentives for accredited farm tourism spots will also be provided.
Gonzales said they will be asking the provincial government for at least PHP500,000 annually and once the ordinance is approved, it is expected to extend assistance to five farm tourism spots this year.
Currently, there are around 12 farm tourism sites in Iloilo accredited by the Department of Tourism but they cannot be considered strictly farm tourism spots but recognized for their resorts.
Under the ordinance, approved on second reading during Tuesday’s regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, the accreditation will be handled by the committee composed of stakeholders in farm and tourism.
“The scope of the farm tourism will be defined under the Internal Rules and Regulations but generally it is to provide tourists, locals even, with the experience of being in a farm. Part of that is we offer experiences one would normally have in an operating farm,” the board member added.
Gonzales said the sector “potentially has the promise of creating employment,” and contribute to the economy of the host local government and the province as a whole.
The ordinance is expected to be approved on final reading during the SP regular session next week. (PNA)