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SEARCA and ISST to partner in 2 international farm tourism meets

By Leah Lyn D. Domingo FANSSEA News

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) is set to formalize ties with the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) to jointly organize two landmark international conferences on farm tourism.

Farm tourism or agritourism is the business of attracting visitors and travelers to farm areas for recreational or educational purposes that encourages economic activity and can provide both farm and community income.

SEARCA, a treaty organization founded in 1966, is mandated to promote inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development (ISARD) in Southeast Asia through its core programs on graduate education and institutional development, research and development, and knowledge management.

SEARCA Director Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr. asserts that "agritourism is an innovative pathway to ISARD."

He added that in addition to advocating agritourism to diversify farmers' sources of income and livelihood, SEARCA sees it as a way to promote sustainable agriculture with community involvement and participation.

On the other hand, the non-profit ISST, headed by former Philippine Tourism Secretary, Dr. Mina T. Gabor, provides education and technical training to develop, promote, and viably operate sustainable tourism in the Philippines and other ASEAN countries.

SEARCA and ISST will thus attempt to jointly shine a spotlight on farm tourism through a Global Farm Tourism Summit in July 2018 and an Asia Women Leaders Meet in December 2018. Experts, practitioners, and stakeholders in the industry worldwide are expected to attend and participate.

The theme of the Global Farm Tourism Summit on 17-19 July 2018 is "Managing Climate Risks via Sustainable Farm Tourism." It aims to gather 500 participants to share vast experiences, practices, insights, technologies, and products from around the world. It intends to open channels and networks from one country to another for farm tourism development.

Meanwhile, the Asia Women Leaders Meet is planned as an annual event that will have a different theme each year. The first of the series will be held on 4-6 December 2018 with the theme "The Role of Women in Community-based Tourism."

SEARCA and ISST welcome the support of other international development organizations, government agencies, and private entities to these important conferences.

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