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    Asia’s farm tourism champs feted at ISST confab

    Leading advocates and champions of Asia’s growing farm tourism industry were given the prestigious Lakbay Bukid Awards in the 7th Philippine Farm Tourism Conference organized by International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) held recently at The Bellevue Resort in Panglao, Bohol.

    With a US$ 1,000 cash prize from the family of the late tourism stalwart Bobby Joseph, the award was first given in 2016 to individuals, institutions and groups who have contributed significantly to the growth of the farm tourism industry in the continent.

    This year’s awardees are Francis Joseph Perdigon of Perdigon Farms in Butuan City, I Wayan Alit Artha Wiguna of Cau Chocolates in Bali, Indonesia; Tan Inong Asin Tibuok Manufacturing of Alburquerque, Bohol; Borneo Eco Tours of Sabah, Malaysia, and Malagos Agri-Ventures Corp. of Davao City.

    According to ISST president Mina Gabor, the accolade showcases the creativity and resiliency of the awardees in helping empower disadvantaged communities and mainstreaming sustainable agricultural and tourism practices.

    Perdigon is a millennial farmer and is the first youth awardee who seeks to popularize farming among young people. Wiguna is a farm tourism pioneer in the popular resort haven which provides visitors an immersive experience in cacao farming and chocolate making. 

    Tan Inong is a firm named after the late founder of a century-old artisanal salt making craft in Bohol. Borneo Eco Tours is based in Kota Kinabalu which offers a host of nature-oriented activities in various parts of Sabah state and involves indigenous communities.

    Situated in an upland village of Davao City, Malagos Agri-Ventures Corp. started as an orchid farm, but later evolved into a tourist recreational complex with an adjoining cacao plantation, chocolate museum, and bird sanctuary.

    The Farm Tourism Conference is hosted by the Province of Bohol and supported by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and the Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport). It is also backed by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Promotions Board, the Department of Trade and Industry, and Philippine Airlines.

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