Agri-tourism advocates to be recognized for their achievements

Proponents of the farm tourism industry in the country will be awarded for their efforts in the third Lakbay Bukid Awards hosted by International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST).

Awardees include veteran journalist Zac Sarian, Sulu princess Kumala Sug-Elardo, Negros-based businessman Ramon Peñalosa Jr. and Indian agircultural entrepreneur Pandurang Taware, all known for their efforts in strengthening agri-tourism industry.

Sarian, Agriculture magazine’s editor-in-chief, is a practicing farmer himself, and has dedicated his life and career to telling stories about farming, successful agri-personalities, farm destinations, and agribusiness opportunities.

Sug-Elardo is a social worker who founded the People’s Alliance for Progress Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PAP-MPC) to increase farmers income through Sulu coffee bean processing, standards, and selection. The brand has made its way to the local market, and in the process, have led rebels in Mindanao to switch to farming.

Peñalosa, with his namesake farm, developed an integrated organic farm in Victorias City, Negros Occidental, which has shown the viability of farm tourism as a fun business model.

Taware, founder of the Agri Tourism Development Corporation in Maharashtra, India, is the first foreigner to win the Lakbay Bukid Awards since its expansion in Asia. He developed an agriculture tourism model which has proven that farm tourism increases opportunities for livelihood and awareness in environmental and cultural conservation.

Pasay-based ISST is a private non-stock, non-profit corporation founded in 2010 by former tourism secretary Mina Gabor for the development, promotion, and operation of sustainable tourism in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

The awarding ceremony will be held on Nov. 7 at Marco Polo Plaza in Cebu City with former President and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, DA Secretary William Dar, and Senator Cynthia Villar as keynote speakers.

The awards night is among the highlights at the 6th Farm Tourism Conference on Nov. 6-8. The recipients will receive US$ 1,000.00 cash prize and a trophy, among others.

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