The Department of Tourism (DOT) sees farm tourism would first take off after the COVID-19 pandemic as people become more careful about health and wellness.
Philippine Farm Tourism Development Association president Josie Costales said they expect more local tourists would love farm tourism as they seek to strengthen their immune system amid the global health crisis.
“People will now be more considerate of food choices and sources,” said Costales, chairperson of Costales Nature Farms, a premier agri-tourism destination in the Philippines.
She added farm tourism could attract more tourists as people would love to reconnect to nature after going through the lengthy lockdown. Costales believes the new tourism sector would address the new normal in travel and tourism.
“During the lockdowns people turned to urban gardening. They learned how to plant,” she said in a webinar.
Farm tourism allows visitors to visit farm areas for production, educational, and recreational purposes. It could also provide a venue for outdoor recreation and accessible family outings.
Farm tourist sites also adjusted to the new normal, including imposing stricter protocols such as wearing face masks, observing social distancing, and limiting the number of guests to visit the farm. Costales Farm shifted to digital processes, such as online booking and cashless transactions.
“Farm tourism is experiential. But we are observing the health and safety standards mandated by the government,” she said.
According to Tourism Undersecretary Roberto Alabado III of the tourism development planning, it is not only the farm tourism that the DOT would jumpstart but also diving, eco-tourism, medical, sun and beach, medical and cultural tourism products.
Alabado also sees wellness and the sun and beach tourism to bloom since people would love to relax and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“Farm, in combination with these three products, will allow tourists to experience and interact with nature… These are low hanging fruits that we should be able to switch to as people look for space, healthy eating, and a destination to feel more relaxed and healthy post-pandemic,” said Alabado.