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Group to push investments in agri-tourism projects

By Ayen Infante
06/10/2011 [ tribune.net.ph ]

Diversified company A-Linx Events International Inc. yesterday is strongly pushing for the development of the local agriculture-tourism industry.

A-Linx president Kenneth Dong said agriculture-tourism remains untapped and underdeveloped for several years.

“Agriculture contributes 11.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) while tourism’s share is being projected to hit 6.35 percent. These are two industries that can provide stability and growth to the Philippine economy,” Dong said.

Dong added the company plans to invite investors to the country and have them look at possible capital infusions into both industries.

He added that the company also plans to hold an exposition that is projected to gather more than 200 international and domestic companies involved in agriculture and tourism.

“We will try to bring investors from China, India and the Southeast Asian region. We have already secured the backing of both the agriculture and tourism departments. By also holding an expo, people will become aware of the potential of both industries,” Dong said.

“The Philippines remains an agriculture based country. We intend to combine that with the increased demand in travel to create a market that can provide employment in the countryside,” he added.

Dong said the Department of Tourism (DoT) target of an annual P200 billion revenue from tourism by 2016 would be more realistic once agriculture-tourism gains a strong demand.

Currently, the DoT does not list in its Web site agriculture-tourism as one of its tourism products. The closest it has is “nature and ecotourism sites” which promotes dolphin and bird watching and river and mangrove tours.

Moreover, despite the rise in tourist arrivals, top tourist destinations in the country are still largely confined to beaches, historical sites and urban destinations.

Dong said what should be highlighted are the food products of each province along with their rich culture as part of travel tours to the country.

He added they want tourists to be able to take part in the agricultural activities in provinces they will be visiting.

Dong established A-Linx last year as a vehicle that can partner with the government to stimulate growth in the provinces.
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